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Welcome to the latest album by album challenge! For those that are new here, the “Album by Album Challenge” is where I take a band’s entire discography and listen to every album in order of release from front to back. With my unforgiving and well-aged ear, I call it how I hear it. In some cases, I find that what I once thought was good is actually pretty crappy and sometimes crap manages to age into something pretty kick ass. And in some cases, face melting is still just good ol’ face melting.

This time around I give to you the discography of Deep Purple. This was a long, and at times brutal, challenge. I split this one into two parts to make it easier to digest. There’s a lot of music in the Deep Purple world and as of 2017 they are still making music with an album to be released this year. Deep Purple delivered a whopping 19 albums and in this installment we will cover the albums from the early days fronted by future Captain Beyond singer Rod Evans, their first span with Ian Gillan, and then concluding with MK III and IV featuring David Coverdale, Glenn Hughes, and Tommy Bolin. Hang on tight and enjoy!

 

Shades of Deep Purple
The Good: And the Address, Hush, Prelude: Happiness I’m So Glad, Mandrake Root,
The Bad:
The Indifferent: One More Rainy Day, Love Help Me

Deep Purple, in my opinion, really started to show glimpses of what they were to become with the opening instrumental, “And the Address.” I was so blown away by the sheer power and execution of dynamics in their playing. “Hush” is such a classic in its own right but especially after hearing the rest of the album, I can totally hear the restraint in that song. “Prelude: Happiness I’m So Glad” even had a bit of foreshadowing for what we would hear later from singer Rod Evans in Captain Beyond.

The psych rock masterpiece “Help”, in my opinion is the real show stopper of this album. Can we also talk about their cover of “Hey Joe” that, in my opinion, makes Hendrix sound like a chump? Good god what a fucking awesome take on that song. All in all this is a very solid debut album from a band that was still developing their sound and setting the course for a path that would eventually take them out of the stratosphere.

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The Book of Taliesyn
The Good: Listen Learn Read On, Wring That Neck, Kentucky Woman, Exposition/We Can Work it Out, Anthem, River Deep Mountain High
The Bad:
The Indifferent:

I don’t know if it’s just because Rod Evans is singing but this album REALLY sounds like a Captain Beyond album to me and that’s not a bad thing at all. Lead off track “Listen, Learn, Read On” is Captain Beyond all the way and while I was a bit nervous to hear it, I was blown away by their psych rock take on the Beatles’ “We Can Work It Out.” “Anthem” also fucking kills me in a good way. I never realized how much Elvis ol’ Rod Evans had in him and I love how he channels it in this track.

What a fantastic fucking album. Even though I feel like it had a few too many covers, those covers were done so well that if you didn’t know better, you’d swear they were DP songs. I feel like its Christmas discovering these early Deep Purple albums. I can totally hear a progression in sound as Deep Purple is really heading into some unchartered areas and about to unleash.

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Deep Purple
The Good: Chasing Shadows, Blind, Lalena, The Painter, Why Didn’t Rosemary,
The Bad:
The Indifferent:

This was the final album to feature the original Deep Purple lineup and good fucking God what a way to close out an era. This album is, without a doubt, Rod Evans shining moment as Deep Purple vocalist. The opening song “Chasing Shadows” is a facemelt supreme right out the gates but it’s their cover of Dononvan’s “Lalena” where I felt chills up and down my spine. This song has to be one of Rod’s finest moments and it was one that definitely got repeat listens before I even progressed through the album. “April” closes out the album and this song literally brought a tear to my eye. So moving and so passionate and again, Rod Evans left an unforgettable mark before exiting the band.

Deep Purple’s self titled album is a monumental album that should never be overlooked. More so than the previous two, this one really showcased the band’s immense talent and creative energy as songwriters. They didn’t need to litter this album with a handful of covers. They proved that they could do it just as good on their own but without a doubt, this album also showed a band that was eager to break out of the box that they seemed to have found themselves in and in order to do that, change was going to have to come.

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Deep Purple in Rock
The Good: Speed King, Bloodsucker, Child In Time, Flight of the Rat, Into the Fire, Living Wreck, Hard Lovin’ Man
The Bad:
The Indifferent:

It’s fucking mind blowing what a huge shift in sound Deep Purple took with In Rock. Right out of the gates with “Speed King”, that scream. Man, that scream. That same scream bleeds out of the speakers on “Into the Fire.” “Bloodsucker” just seems to be a kick ass extension of “Speed King” but the showstopper here is “Child In Time.” If you don’t have goosebumps from the 1:38, you are just dead to the world. I also love how “Flight of the Rat” is pretty much the Detroit city rock sound before it even happened. Seriously. This shit is fucking facemelting.

This is the sound that would be forged as Deep Purple and I have to say that as much as I loved the Rod Evans stuff, Ian Gillan is what took this band completely out of the stratosphere. Can we also acknowledge that this is Gillan’s first album with the band? Good fucking God talk about setting the bar high. It actually kind of reminds me how Iron Maiden’s sound so drastically shifted with the addition of Bruce Dickinson on Number of the Beast. This album is absolutely flawless and without a doubt an album that nobody should go without putting in their ears.

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Fireball
The Good: Fireball, No No No, Strange Kind of Woman, Anyone’s Daughter, The Mule, Fools, No One Came
The Bad:
The Indifferent:

“Fireball” just kills it right out the gates and the band sounds so fucking energized and fueled. “Strange Kind of Woman” was definitely a great boogie kind of song. “Anyone’s Daughter” was hands down my favorite song on this album because I loved how it was such a side step from their other shit. This definitely had a more woodsy, bluesy/folky kind of feel to it. I love hearing Gillan’s voice so clear and defined on this song. The showstopper for me on this album was “Fools.” Good fucking God. Deep Purple don’t nearly get the credit they deserve for launching that sludgy kind of stoner sound and this song shows that they could do it as good as Sabbath any day.

This was a really interesting challenge for me because not only had I never heard this album but this album doesn’t have any songs that I recall ever really hearing so it was really fun. Actually, it was like opening a Christmas present and finding an amazing gift that you didn’t even know you wanted. Listening to this album, I can definitely hear the influence on bands that would come forth 40 years later such as Graveyard and Blood of the Sun. Fireball was such an awesome surprise for me that I went in for a second listen before moving on with this challenge. I fucking love a great surprise like this.

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Machine Head
The Good: Highway Star, Maybe I’m a Leo, Pictures of Home, Never Before, Smoke on the Water, Lazy, Space Truckin’
The Bad:
The Indifferent:

The legendary Machine Head! Man, what a fun listen. The album opens very appropriately with “Highway Star.” Man, this song just kicks so much ass. The other songs I already knew from this one was “Smoke on the Water” and “Space Truckin” and while I found myself digging those songs, it was the lesser known songs that really blew my mind. “Pictures of Home” was the showstopper of this album. What a great tune. “Never Before” very well could’ve been a huge radio hit if they had released this as a single. It’s so catchy.

Machine Head was a really great listen for me and while I really enjoyed it, it was the least exciting album of theirs up to this point. I can see why this is one of their most famous albums though. It’s a very easy listen and it’s very friendly. In all honesty, while I really dug the songs on this one, I don’t see this one being an album that I would find myself gravitating towards much with the exception to hear “Space Truckin”, “Highway Star”, and “Pictures of Home.” Solid album but very safe.

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Who Do We Think We Are?
The Good: Woman from Tokyo, Super Trouper, Smooth Dancer, Rat Bat Blue, Place in Line, Our Lady
The Bad: Mary Long,
The Indifferent:

This album kicks off with “Woman From Tokyo.” I used to hate this song for some reason but now I find it to be a pretty groovy tune. I don’t love it but I definitely don’t hate it like I thought I would. Now “Mary Long” is a whole different story. That song has to be one of the worst songs ever written. “When did you lose your virginity Mary Long? When will you lose your stupidity Mary Long?” I almost threw up in my mouth a little hearing that song. I also found it entertaining that my favorite song on this album was the one with the worst title: “Smooth Dancer.” What a great rollicking song.

I really think I was preparing myself for an album full of suck because of how band “Mary Long” was but at the end of it all, this album ended up kicking fucking ass. “Place in Line” is so fucking gnarly and Gillan just kills it. I could almost hear Bon Scott singing this one. All in all, this is a truly great album with a “good” song and a really shitty song. This is definitely an album I will be revisiting.

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Burn
The Good: Burn, Might Just Take Your Life, Lay Down Stay Down, Sail Away, You Fool No One, What’s Goin’ on Here,
The Bad: A 200
The Indifferent:

Wow. Just… wow. Burn. When Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover stepped aside, the band forged on by recruiting Trapeze bassist/vocalist Glenn Hughes and an unknown singer with a huge voice by the name of David Coverdale. The result wasn’t two guys stepping in to cover for two departed guys. The result was a totally new band with a whole new sound and honestly, it’s fucking stunning. The minute “Burn” kicks in you just want to fucking throw your hands up and be like “PRAISE THE (Jon) LORD!” Such an epic song. Purple continues to bring it on every fucking with Hughes bringing the funk and Coverdale bringing the nasty blues. Their voices are so perfect together.

Burn is a solid fucking masterpiece but it does leave me wondering at times if maybe the band should have changed names being that it was such a drastic shift in sound and style. Either way, this album is a fucking masterpiece with only one shitty song, the closing freak instrumental “A 200.” What the fuck was up with that? Oh, you need 4 minutes of filler? Here you go. I would’ve rather heard them use the instrumental “Coronarias Redig” because at least that one had some substance. That aside, this album is fucking massive.

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Stormbringer
The Good: Stormbringer, Love Don’t Mean a Thing, Holy Man, You Can’t Do It Right, Highball Shooter, The Gypsy, Soldier of Fortune
The Bad:
The Indifferent: Hold On, Lady Double Dealer,

“Ride the Rainbow. Crack the Sky.” Was this a bit of foreshadowing? This is last album that would feature Ritchie Blackmore before he split to form Rainbow with Ronnie James Dio so that lyric just kind of hit me hard. “Stormbringer” is such an epic song but I love how “Love Don’t Mean a Thing” is like the “calm down cigarette” afterwards. “Holy Man” is Hughes’ shining moment on this album in my opinion. What an amazing display of what this guy could do.

As a whole, I found myself really digging this album but not nearly as much as Burn. This album actually feels and sounds a bit more like what would eventually become Whitesnake. This album definitely has Coverdale’s mark more so than Burn but it’s not a bad thing. It just doesn’t have the punch that Burn had. I do have to say though that “Soldier of Fortune” just may be one of the greatest fucking songs ever written. It’s songs like this one that make me such a huge Coverdale fan.

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Come Taste the Band
The Good: Comin’ Home, Lady Luck, Getting’ Tighter, Dealer, I Need Love, The Drifter, Love Child, This Time Around, You Keep On Moving
The Bad:
The Indifferent:
All I can say about this album is holy god damn motherfucking shit! I knew I dug this album but listening to this album like this, in order right on the heels of Burn just kicked my face clean off my face. Song after song this album absolutely slays and I have to say is definitely my fave of the Coverdale/Hughes era. “Comin’ Home” is such a great opening track but it’s the one-two punch of “Getting’ Tighter” and “Dealer” that drove it home for me. “This Time Around” is an epic proggy kind of number that once again has Glenn Hughes delivering the goods in a way that nobody else could.

Tommy Bolin is definitely the MVP on this album without a doubt. I love how he made such a memorable and permanent mark on the face of Deep Purple with only one album. Bolin didn’t even try to step into Blackmore’s shoes. He just tossed those shoes aside brought his own big ass fucking boots. The high level of stank he puts on these songs blew my mind. Coverdale really stepped up his game as well and stood tall and strong up front while the band played some of the most stanky, funky, groovy shit that they’ve ever played. This album is absolutely monumental not only as a Deep Purple album but on its own. It makes me wish I could’ve heard more from this lineup but unfortunately they couldn’t keep it together enough.

CLICK HERE FOR PART II

About Don de Leaumont

Don (aka. The Brainfart) has been a heavy metal fan since hearing it for the first time in 1983. Don is also repsonsible for all of the typos, shitty grammar, and kick ass content on this site. Don likes cheap beer, whiskey, Coca Cola Icees, going to shows, and hanging with his kick ass wife, two cats and dog. He originally wanted to name his dog Shandi but his wife said, "No fucking way."

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