Deep Purple - 'Deepest Purple'

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Deep Purple - 'Deepest Purple'

An excellent selection of material that would suit just about any hard rock fan, but if you're already into Purple, there's little here that will be new to you.

"And on the 30th Anniversary, EMI said 'Let there be more Purple'..." And lo, there was another Deep Purple reissue. This time, rather than a studio album, it is the 30th Anniversary of 'Deepest Purple'. Not really a greatest hits, because Purple would be hard pushed to call themselves a singles band regardless of slight chart success, it would probably be better described as a 'best of' but even then, I think you'd need two CD's to manage that properly without some howling omissions. As it stands, this was my starting point in my discovery of Deep Purple, so there are some fond memories of the songs contained within.

Purple have made a staggeringly powerful contribution to the rock world, creating some truly iconic, epic and thunderous tracks. Most of them are on this CD, so that's good news. The compilation opens with 'Black Night' and ends with 'Smoke On The Water' which tells you what to expect - classic 70s rock from one of the great bands. 'Speed King', 'Fireball', 'Strange Kind Of Woman', 'Highway Star'... all of them still very much staples of Purple's live set today and essential listening for any hard rock fan. There's also the staggering vocal performance on 'Child In Time' which put Ian Gillan among the all time greats, plus the lesser known but equally good 'Demons Eye'.

On the original issue of ‘Deepest Purple’ it was all culled from the classic Gillan/Glover/Blackmore/Lord/Paice line up, apart from 'Burn' and 'Stormbringer' from the Hughes and Coverdale fronted lineup. I always thought that was a bit harsh - I know the Gillan era is the classic one, but to limit MK III to a pair of songs is not on, and to ignore the Bolin era completely is no better. This expanded edition is only coming out on CD, so the extra room that a CD offers compared to vinyl means that some of those wrongs are dealt with by throwing in some extra cuts. MK III are represented further by the excellent Blackmore/Coverdale collaboration 'Soldier Of Fortune'. The Bolin-era gets a solitary nod in the form of the well chosen 'You Keep On Moving' and even the Rod Evans MK I version gets an inclusion with their hit recording of 'Hush'. I personally thought the eighties remake with Gillan singing was miles better, but it's a worthy inclusion nonetheless.

The odd one out of the set is 'When A Blind Man Cries' - it never appeared on an album originally, it was a B-side to 'Never Before' (another criminally overlooked Purple song in my book) and because a certain Mr Blackmore wasn't keen, it was buried. It enjoyed a renaissance when Blackmore departed the band and Ian Gillan has played it many times, along with the Steve Morse version of Deep Purple frequently giving it an airing - so even though it wasn't an album track and doesn't come close to being a hit, it's nice it got a nod of recognition.

So, no dead wood to speak of in the track selection and disc two apparently features a track by track introduction from Mr Jon Lord... along with an appearance by the aforementioned 'Never Before' and an interview, which take up residence in place of 'When A Blind Man Cries' and 'Soldier Of Fortune'. I am reliably informed the DVD also features live and TV performances, but I can't verify that because EMI didn't furnish me with one. As for the remastering of the compilation itself, once again it states that these are 2010 re-masters, and just like 'Come Taste The Band', I can't hear any difference between it and the version I already own, save for the inclusion of more tracks. With that in mind, if you're someone like me who has the old compilation and ended up buying all the albums, then the second disc might make it appealing to completists. Otherwise, it's a great starting point if you wanted to check Purple out but didn't know where to start. It's an excellent selection of material that would suit just about any hard rock fan, but if you're already into Purple, there's little here that will be new to you.

James Gaden

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