This is the second Deep Purple album with the Mark I lineup of Rod Evans on vocals and Nicky Simper on on bass. The calibre of talent is not on the same level as the Mark II line-up, but it does has have the keyboard-drenched Neil Diamond cover Kentucky Woman, The Beatles' We can Work it Out, and Tina Turner's River Deep - Mountain High.
This must be the only group that has had this many compilations. Released on the Creative Sounds label, and featuring the Mark I line up with Rod Evans on vocals. This includes a cover of The Beatles' Help, and a lot of tunes from The Book of Taliesyn.
The first version of this was released in 1971, featuring Tony Ashton, Albert Lee, and Yvonne Elliman. However, this was written by Jon Lord for the members of Deep Purple and it was performed on stage only once: at the Royal Festival Hall along with the Orchestra of the Light Music Society in September 1970. This is the recording of the concert. The guitar work in the First Movement is excellent---Blackmore is not only a Speed King, but he also plays with extreme emotion (not to mention the volume turned down). Gillan's voice has never been so controlled or tight, and there's a fight between Paice's drums and the orchestral percussion. Lord's keyboards themselves stand out brilliantly. If you have ever been interested in listening to the only rock group (far as I know) that has written and performed a complete concerto, I'd advise to buy this one.
This marks, at least to me, a difference from the classic Purple tunes. The direction is more progressive. The riff in Mary Long sounds almost like the one in I Shot the Sheriff. This album includes songs like Rat Bat Blue and Woman from Tokyo.
This is probably one of the best Deep Purple compilations you can buy, especially if you are considering just getting into them. It has all the good stuff they did in the 70s. It's really a shame how record companies try to milk this band's success releasing all these "greatest hits" albums.
This features the reunited Mark V line up, with Gillan on vocals, and Blackmore on the guitar. This album, released after Perfect Strangers, doesn't live up to its predecessor. It's still good, however, with tunes like Hard Lovin' Woman, Bad Attitude, The Unwritten Law, and Strangeways.
This is similar to The Battle ROIO, except it has Blackmore himself on the guitar. This is the most powerful album they've ever released! It takes the timeless classics and adds a power punch to it that, as I keep saying, would send any contemporary group in the dust.
Yet another compilation album! You're probably better off buying Nobody's Perfect. This does contain a live version of Space Truckin' that isn't there on the Nobody's Perfect album though.
This is a bootleg from their tour of Japan last year (1993). Recorded in Osaka, Japan, on December 12 it has one major difference compared to the Mark IV line up that we all know and love: Joe Satriani on the guitar instead of Blackmore. Though I am not too familiar with him; his style is too controlled and too tight in comparison to Blackmore, especially live, but here he has probably surpassed almost everyone's expectations! Just listening to the guitar lead in Child in Time (and the vocals!) or Highway Star sends shivers down my spine.
It's surprising; most of these people are in their 40s yet this album sounds like it came straight out of 1972 with Highway Star leading. The song is incredible and live, it just kicks butt. It's a faster paced version than the studio one (as is the case in all the live performances of this and most other DP songs). Gillan screams as melodiously as ever and Satriani does a great job playing the classic leads, improvising just enough to put his own mark on the tune. This trend is carried on in each and every song---it packs a punch very few bands can even come close to, let alone match. It surprises me why they are not more popular; they are like no other. Gillan: arguably one of the finest vocalists (I challenge anyone to point to a contemporary vocalist who can sing like he does). Blackmore: Guitar God; 'nuff said, and Satriani following in a similar vein on this release (it's a perfect marriage). Lord, Paice, and Glover---all excellent musicians and among the greats for their respective instruments. Whoever refuses to see the musical genius in Highway Star, Space Truckin', Smoke on the Water, and Speed King is deaf. And whoever doesn't realise that the same genius is present in songs like The Battle Rages On, Anya, and Ramshackle Man is not listening closely enough. All in all, this album is a great tribute to one of the greatest groups around---I can only hope they come my way.
This Deep Purple tribute album is titled Smoke on the Water: A Tribute, and there's only one mention of the group that is being paid tribute to: "special thanks to Deep Purple for the incredible music." But the title is probably so American fans will recognise it more easily than the name of the group itself! I was waiting for this album with apprehension, since it could've been a total flop, but my hope that it would be the best tribute album out this year was realised.
Every song is great! Yeh, maybe I'm biased being a Purple fan, but every musician has put in a lot of effort and played well. The guitar playing is what strikes me the most, starting off with Speed King. Yngwie Malmsteen lives up to the name of the song in this one. People who criticise him for whatever reasons should try to do some of the stuff he does before they speak. While the guitar playing is magnificient and highlighted well, the keyboards (Jens Johansson, who did all the keyboards for the CD) are drowned which bugged me, since the song is about the keyboard/guitar tussle. Kelly Keeling does a decent job on the vocals. Still, it falls short of the any of the live Purple versions, IMO. I'd like to see Malmsteen as a guitarist for Purple though, after hearing this version. Space Truckin' is with Kip Winger on vocals. I was dreading this, given Winger's image, but again it turns out really well. I like the guitar by Tony MacAlpine and the keyboards rule on this one.
Stormbringer by Hughes storms; definitely one of the better covers, along with Speed King! Great screaming, guitar (John Norum), and keyboards. This is a great song and I hope to be doing a cover of it soon. Ritchie Kotzen adds a cool new twist to Rat Bat Blue, both in terms of singing and playing the guitar! Yngwie Malmsteen is a bit slower on this one, but it still sounds excellent. Joe Lynn Turner does a decent job on the vocals and the keyboards sound great too. Maybe I'm a Leo rocks; obscured by other classics in Machine Head, this stands out in this tribute album. Paul Gilbert's voice and playing comes out rather faithfully with a decent amount of self-indulgent guitar work. Smoke on the Water sounds remarkably like the studio version (the solo is copied almost note for note), with Robert Mason on the vocals and Russ Parish (who also does most of the rhythm guitar) on the guitar. Again, good keyboards here. Fireball is a fast moving song and that feel is captured in this cover with Don Dokken on vocals (I think Coverdale should've sung on this one) and with Reb Beach on lead guitar. This really shreds, especially the middle part of the song. Jeff Scott Soto does a remarkable rendition of Hush. In terms of vocals, Tony Harnell is probably the worst in Woman from Tokyo. But the guitar playing by Vinnie Moore makes up for it, IMO.
The drumming (Deen Castronovo) is pretty solid all througout and so's the bass (Todd Jensen). If these guys ever decide to go on tour, I'd go see them! So there a lot of good songs, a few bad covers... what makes this tribute the best? For one, at least a couple of the people here (Yngwie Malmsteen/Glenn Hughes) are among the best at what they do. The selection of songs showcases the diversity of Deep Purple's music---they use songs made by different lineups. Besides the songs done by the standard Mark II lineup, this album includes Hush (Mark I), and Stormbringer (Mark III). And finally, the music is incredible! What a group! I feel an incredible rush of emotion when I listen to the album (I've listened to it over 10 times and I got it this afternoon).
Read my review of the concert to see how it was. In retrospect I would have to say Morse's playing sounds a lot better now. The tape quality isn't the best, but it is good to have a tape of the concert you went to.
Deep Purple is one of my favourite bands. In a sense, they can do no wrong in my eyes, and I would be the first to say Purpendicular is one of the best albums I've heard in recent times. However, liking the band so much also means that I can be very critical about recent changes in the band's lineup, and consequently, their music. Overall, the band, in producing what could be considered a more nineties sound, sound a bit like a generic rock band at times. The thing that saves them is the inherent talent in the band which shines through brilliantly at times, making up for many mediocre moments in the album.
The biggest change has been due to the departure of Ritchie Blackmore and the introduction of Steve Morse in his place. Morse's guitar is one of the more prominent features of this album. When I saw them live last year, I had reservations about Morse fitting in with Purple. However, any such reservations I might've had disappeared immediately after hearing the new album. Morse has not only managed to fit in, but he has also become one of the driving forces of the new Purple sound. This isn't necessarily a good thing, since Deep Purple seem to have lost their heavier edge, and the music has slowed down significantly. This is something negative to me because I feel their guitar, and overall, sound is more generic and less aggressive now. On the positive side, some of the guitar work is extremely tasteful, the riffs are pretty catchy, and the guitar tone, although not heavy, is warm and pleasant. Still, I feel that Morse could've contributed a lot more, while maintaining a sound that didn't compromise the trademark Purple sound.
Jon Lord is amazingly brilliant with his keyboard work. His rich Hammond organ sound is what keeps me happy (and words can't express how much I love his keyboard work) while I go through the entire album. This album is worth hearing just to hear his keyboards alone. I think his keyboard skills here are vastly under-utilised, and I'd have liked to see more tracks with his trademark keyboard work.
The big surprise for me with Purpendicular, however, is Ian Paice's drumming. I have not heard such brilliant drumming from him in years. In this album he mixes the right amount of technical ability and "feel" to to match the rock sound on the rest of the album. I think the departure of Blackmore has benefitted Paice the most, since he seems more confident and aggressive in his playing.
Roger Glover's bass is interesting and solid, and there're some really cool bass riffs. The bass is strong in the mix, and as a result, the entire rhythm section comes off sounding really good.
The biggest disappointment for me is Ian Gillan's (who I consider to be the greatest vocalist ever) vocals. It is not a bad performance (Gillan's vocals when he sings in lower registers is still beautiful, but I prefer a contrasting arrangement), but it is not up to his usual mark. This isn't a sign of age, since I saw Purple live last year and Gillan was belting out all the old stuff sounding as good as ever. The interesting thing is that Gillan does try new things, particularly the extensive multi-tracking of the vocals, and there's a bit of processing used on his vocals which does make for an interesting sound. The problem is that his vocals are usually buried in the mix instead of sticking out (as they normally do) and while this makes for more a nineties "Alternative" sound, I think it hides talent in this case.
Aside from Gillan's vocals, I thought the production of the album was excellent. The rhythm section stands out strong, and the guitars and keyboards really blend in well.
Here's a track by track commentary:
Vavoom - Ted the Mechanic: this is a generic two riff song, which has some decent guitar work. The riff is catchy, but I don't care for this song very much.
Loosen My Strings: great vocal melodies, but the vocals again seem to lack power. There's some cool guitar work in the end.
Soon Forgotten: I love this song! I love the dissonant keyboard/vocal/guitar interaction and the key changes. This is my favourite song of the album, and I think this is on par with any of the great tunes they've done in the past.
Sometimes I Feel Screaming: another balladish song, with great vocal melodies. Again, I wish Gillan's voice were louder in the mix (especially when he does the screaming at the end).
Cascades: I'm not Your Lover: fairly catchy, but doesn't really strike a chord with me.
The Aviator: sounds like it's performed by a folk-country band. Again, very catchy.
Rosa's Cantina: nice bass line. The song for some reason reminds me of Stevie Wonder's Superstitious. Fairly catchy, but after a dozen listens, I've gotten bored with it (except for the keyboard solo).
A Castle Full of Rascals: one of the few songs where Gillan's vocals are in the forefront. I like this tune also!
A Touch Away: this tune is okay. Again, it's mellow, with some interesting keyboard melodies, but that's about all there is.
Hey Cisco: I like this tune; it's catchy and fast. Great guitar and keyboard interaction---almost like old Purple.
Somebody Stole my Guitar: for some reason I thought the guitar was a bit low in the mix, particularly when the keyboards were playing. Perhaps it's psychosomatic.
The Purpendicular Waltz: great "grunge" tune, neat harmonica intro, and decent vocals by Gillan.
This is an album definitely worth checking out if you're a Deep Purple fan. The trademark sound that makes Deep Purple one of the frontrunners of proto-metal is diminished on this album. However, there's a wide range of styles and plenty of music exploration to please fans of rock music in general.
Deep Purple are back with a vengeance. Abandon, the second album featuring Steve Morse on the guitar (their sixteenth studio release), captures a lot of the magic that was present in older Deep Purple albums such as Who Do We Think We Are. Like with Purpendicular, Ian Paice's drumming is extremely strong in this release. And as in Purpendicular Ian Gillan's vocals really don't strain very much, though I know he is capable of hitting the high notes even today. The organ work by Jon Lord is the best part of this release: spectacular, omnipresent, and beautifully melodic, though it should've been present more in the mix. The riffs by Steve Morse are strong while rooted in the 70s vein. For the first time I feel like I'm listening to band that once had Ritchie Blackmore as its guitarist. The re-working of Bloodsucker from In Rock is classic. The problem for fans of heavy metal, a genre that Deep Purple have pioneered, is that this album moves more toward the classic rock 'n' roll sound and that may be disappointing to a few. However if the more progressive and less heavy Deep Purple albums appeal to you, this is an album you definitely should check out.