Now Available As A Podcast…


“Prog-Scure Special Episode #4, Parts 1 & 2: Musical Family Tree: Deep Purple”
(Part 1 Recorded: December 12, 2018 / Part 2 Recorded: December 15, 2018)

This special and extended episode of Prog-Scure is so HUGE, it spills over into two separate parts.  Like previous special and extended episodes, I break from my normal format and instead focus on a specific theme—”Musical Family Tree: Deep Purple.”

Each episode lasts approximately four hours instead of the usual three, and turns the spotlight on this legendary band and its various members throughout the decades.  Hear music from each Deep Purple studio album, both favorite tracks and rarities, all interspersed with more than forty additional songs featuring band members both before and after their association with Deep Purple began.

In Part 1, hear material by Deep Purple and related artists, including Billy Cobham, Black Sabbath, Captain Beyond, Colosseum II, David Coverdale, Dixie Dregs, Gillan, Hughes/Thrall, Ian Gillan, Ian Gillan Band, James Gang, Joe Lynn Turner, Kansas, The Michael Schenker Group, Moxy, Paice Ashton Lord, Rainbow, Tommy Bolin, Trapeze, Warhorse, Whitesnake, and Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force.

Listen or Download: Part 1

In Part 2, hear material by Deep Purple and related artists, including Black Country Communion, Blackmore’s Night, Brazen Abbot, California Breed, Coverdale/Page, Don Airey, Empire, Flying Colors, Gary Moore, George Lynch, Glenn Hughes, Hughes Turner Project, Iommi/Hughes, Mother’s Army, Nikolo Korzev, Purpendicular, Rated X, Scott Rolef, Steve Morse Band, Sunstorm, and WhoCares.

Listen or Download: Part 2

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Deep Purple – Made in Japan (1972)

deeppurple_madejapan5 out of 5 Stars!

In my eyes, this is probably the finest live albums of all freaking time, in any rock genre, and even today the album holds enormous and undeniable power.

Ian Gillan’s vocal performances are absolutely searing and jaw-dropping (just listen to his ear-piercing screams on “Child in Time,” or the way he vocally counter-punches Ritchie Blackmore’s ad-libbed riffs on “Strange Kind of Woman”), so it’s no wonder why the man was perhaps the biggest influence on my own musical career.

Plus, the other guys in the band ain’t too shabby either…indeed, geniuses, each and every single one of them, no doubt. “Highway Star” is especially driving, thanks to Ian Paice’s frantic drumming and Roger Glover’s thumping bass, and blows the studio version of this classic track out of the water, while the song “Lazy” is anything but, especially when it comes to Jon Lord’s crazy, free-form intro and Blackmore’s bluesy guitar noodling. And the side-long “Space Truckin’, with its wild and extended jamming, shows exactly what these stellar musicians could do when given the freedom to improvise on stage with no time limits. Simply amazing.

Anyone who claims to be a true fan of Hard Rock from the ’70s certainly has this album in their musical collection, and if they don’t, then FOR FREAKING SHAME. Without question, this album is a perfect 5 Stars…sheer brilliance and unrivaled excellence!!!

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Deep Purple – Burn (1974)

DeepPurple_Burn4.5 out of 5 Stars!

Damn, I recall (as if yesterday) the moment this album came out. I picked it up and hesitated, wondering whether I should shell out my money for an album by a band that had recently went through major line-up changes. I mean, come on…replacing a singer (my favorite in the history of rock) named Ian Gillan with a totally unknown singer by the name of David Coverdale? What the hell???

But I did make the purchase, based on the Blackmore/Lord/Paice reputation, and hell, I have NEVER regretted that decision. Sure, the band had a different sound overall, but it wasn’t so horrifically different from the MKII era that I didn’t appreciate its greatness. And in truth, I loved Coverdale instantly, and Glenn Hughes…damn it, that guy not only added some thumping rhythms with his bass guitar, but vocally replaced the Gillan “screams” part of the band. In fact, there is something to be said for the vocal interplay between Coverdale/Hughes…perfection! It’s something that made this band even more outrageously wonderful then it was with Gillan solely fronting the band. Don’t get me wrong…to this day, Ian Gillan is still what I consider to be the ultra-best metal-vocalist on the planet, but the Coverdale/Hughes swapping-vocals extravaganza was something equally as wonderful. These guys truly worked as a pair, sounding superb as a duo, and their particular unison-sound has never been duplicated in history. Brilliance! One thing for which I have always blessed Ritchie Blackmore is his talent in hearing and hiring the most gifted vocalists, whether in Deep Purple or in Rainbow…all of them have ended up (basically) legends. The guy was a genius when it came to snapping up the “iconic vocalists of the future.”

Anyway, from the title track “Burn” to the ending track “Mistreated” (the final instrumental track not included in my review until below), this album ranks amongst the most inspired and enjoyable releases in metal history. “Might Just Take Your Life, “Sail Away,” “You Fool No One,” etc. all have a special enjoyment factor, a place in my heart (nostalgia-wise) and I will not fault this release (for those tracks). But one thing…

Come on…with two BRILLIANT singers in the band’s “revival,” why Deep Purple would decide to include a rather bland piece of instrumental garbage by the name of “A-200” to close out this terrific album of a mere eight total tracks is far beyond my understanding. It’s a complete mystery to me, and one I find myself unable to forgive even after all these decades. Hitting the world with another Coverdale/Hughes blast would have been so much more preferable.

Nevertheless, this album is as near to perfect as possible, and almost as close to perfection as any of the Purple Mark II releases. Too bad the momentum couldn’t last past this one final powerhouse of a release.

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Deep Purple – Who Do We Think We Are (1973)

DeepPurple_WhoDoWeThink4.5 out of 5 Stars!

This is probably—and sadly—one of Deep Purple’s most underrated albums, often dismissed by the critics and usually rated poorly by fans of the group. Then again, after the previous releases of Made In Japan and Machine Head, just about anything this talented group of individuals had produced would have likely been less-than-enthusiastically received. After all, without another brilliant and memorable (and forever-classic) opening riff for a track such as Machine Head’s “Smoke On The Water” included on this album, most people wrote this off as a bunch of “filler tracks” with perhaps one or two decent songs tossed in for good measure.

Yet in truth, the riffs for tracks such as “Woman From Toyko” or “Rat Bat Blue” are equally as brilliant and memorable (and were not as annoyingly overplayed by US radio) as the riff to “Smoke On The Water”—or at least they are to these ears.

Of course, I’m prejudiced in the fact that this is one of the very first albums I ever purchased. Nostalgia plays a big part in my feelings toward this album, so forgive me for that. Nevertheless, to me, Ian Gillan is nothing short of a vocal god, and his trademark screams on “Rat Bat Blue,” “Place In Line,” “Woman From Tokyo,” and the urgency he employs with his voice on “Smooth Dancer,” not to mention the sarcasm that slices through his smooth vibrato on “Mary Long,” all conspired to influence me to pursue a musical career as a lead vocalist. Indeed, this album will forever remain one of my all-time favorites because of his performance and what it personally inspired me to achieve in my own life.

Also note: The studio outtake track “Painted Horse” is, I see, finally included in the remastered versions of this album. I have owned this track for a long while, what with it being included on the Powerhouse album (just another of the gazillions of compilations issued only for greed) and have long admired it. Why was it not included on the original album’s release, considering the album itself was so damned short? Well, truth be told, it definitely WAS an outtake in the sense that the style of music doesn’t “jive” with the other material on this last MK. II album. But damn it, I do love this song, a rather swaying, laid-back bluesy track featuring Gillan’s harmonica and some interesting Blackmore solos. Nope, it’s definitely not a “fit” with the other tracks that eventually made up this album, but a track worth seeking, if for nothing else but fun.

Deep Purple, Mark II—probably one of the finest groups in history. I can certainly live with a few “naff tracks,” as some people feel are included on this album, since they are, without a doubt, better than the majority of garbage being produced these days. Give me the classics any ol’ day!

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