The band Deep Purple launched into the mainstream in America with the 45 RPM “Hush”(1968), written by pop/folkie Joe South. Their lead singer was Rod Evans and the group’s single was an amazing production that fit on the AM radio airwaves perfectly with other songs from the time period, Ted Nugent and the Amboy Dukes’ “Journey To The Center Of The Mind” (1968), The Electric Prunes “I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)” (1966) but most especially, as I point out in my review of their The Book Of Taliesyn CD on AllMusic.com, the initial Deep Purple, formed in 1968, appears to have absorbed the elements of producer Shadow Morton’s work with the Vanilla Fudge debut album. The parallels are not uncanny, they are indicative of how pop was fusing with progressive rock in an acceptable way. These reissues by the amazing Eagle Rock Entertainment imprint pick up the original Tetragrammaton releases (Tetragrammaton was co-owned by comedian Bill Cosby) and add bonus tracks along with delicious liner notes by Simon Robinson which enhance the packages and reinforce the importance of the music within. “Hush” is such an intense drive into a blend of authoritative vocals mixed with serious metal machine music. And this was before the band went Machine Head. To have the US TV version bonus track of the hit (#13 on the disc) shows how mighty the groups’ vocals were. And all due respect to Ian Gillan (AMG noting that he joined the band July 10, 1969 along with Roger Glover) – Rod Evans voice was a perfect instrument for radio at the time. It’s all a moot point, of course, with the revamped Purple selling over a hundred million albums after Smoke On The Water clicked, Warner Brothers Records giving the world Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple to feast on. You can also hear glimpses of Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” riff on these albums released two years before the Sabs would be in business, so the table had been set for the amps getting turned up and the guitars getting deeper into the dark tones. What’s fascinating about this triple set is the power found within Shades of Deep Purple (featuring “Hush”), The Book Of Taliesyn (featuring the hit cover of Neil Diamond’s “Kentucky Woman”) and the self-titled Deep Purple (which included 15th/16th Century Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch’s masterpiece “The Garden Of Earthly Delights” as its album cover…zeroing in on the “Hell” aspect of it, actually). The first album, Shades Of, was produced by Derek Lawrence and recorded between May 11 and 13th, 1968. The Book of Taliesyn was recorded in August of 1968 at De Lane Lea in London with Deep Purple getting taped in January of 1969 at the same studio, remastered at Abbey Road.
While Cher (With Love, Cher; 1968) and Jimi Hendrix covered “Hey Joe” (and the Vanilla Fudge covered Cher’s “Bang Bang” on its debut with a cover of Sonny & Cher’s “The Beat Goes On” as the title track of an lp), Deep Purple chimed in with its variations of familiar themes, Donovan’s “Lalena” on the third disc, The Beatles’ “Help” and Cream’s re-working of “I”m So Glad” on the debut. The liner notes discuss the touring with Hendrix and Cream, so there was some common ground in regards to repertoire. Some critics feel Deep Purple’s version of “I’m So Glad” was a total 180 from Cream’s take on the Skip James classic, however, I find this rendition shows the group to be almost giving a fairly faithful nod to Clapton, Bruce and Baker…something for the interview tapes if we ever get one of the original five to sit down and chat about it)…and an unmistakable…and excellent, influence from the U.K. band known as Kaleidoscope, which also was engaged in a symphonic kind of pop bordering on progressive rock. Eddy Pumer and Peter Daltrey’s Kaleidoscope infused that happy-go-lucky British pop sound (think “Itchycoo Park” by Small Faces) into their symphonic progressive leanings…Rod Evans had the voice to go in that direction, and this ultimate hard rock band did, in fact, show that they could delve into those ecstatic British pop sounds which are so far removed from immortal sludge epics like
“Smoke On The Water” and “Woman From Tokyo”. Deep Purple would evolve into that heavy metal thunder which John Kay and Steppenwolf prophetically foretold on their 1968 hit “Born To Be Wild”, another single that stands nicely next to “Hush”.
These treasures on three compact discs give the world a chance to re-evaluate and re-enjoy the music that the original Deep Purple put on tape. It’s a wonderful journey and when you spin “River Deep, Mountain High” or “Hush”, you hear Deep Purple’s intentional “wall of sound”, utilizing their mix of more modern sounds to reflect what Phil Spector originally constructed. A superb find and something that helps Eagle Rock Entertainment stand out when it comes to the re-issuing of essential sounds.
Shades of Deep Purple:
1.) And The Address
3.) One More Rainy Day
4.) Prelude: Happiness I’m So Glad
5.) Mandrake Root
7.) Love Help Me
8.) Hey Joe
9.) Shadows (album outtake)
10.) Love Help Me (instrumental version)
11.) Help! (alternative take)
12.) Hey Joe (BBC Top Gear session)
13.) Hush (live US TV)
The Book of Taliesyn:
1.) Listen, Learn, Read On
2.) Wring That Neck
3.) Kentucky Woman
4.) a.) Exposition / b.) We Can Work It Out
7.) River Deep, Mountain High
8.) Oh No No No (studio outtake)
9.) It’s All Over (BBC Top Gear session)
10.) Hey Bop A Re Bop (BBC Top Gear session)
11.) Wring That Neck (BBC Top Gear session)
12.) Playground (remixed instrumental studio outtake)
1.) Chasing Shadows
4.) Fault Line
5.) The Painter
6.) Why Didn’t Rosemary?
7.) Bird Had Flown
9.) The Bird Has Flown (alterntive b-side version)
10.) Emmaretta (single a-side)
11.) Emmaretta (BBC Top Gear session Jan. 16, 1969)
12.) Lalena (BBC radio session June 6, 1969)
13.) The Painter (BBC radio session June 6, 1969)
Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at TMRZoo.com. He was a film critic for Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, has written thousands of reviews and biographies for AllMovie.com, Allmusic.com and produces and hosts Visual Radio. Visual Radio is a fifteen year old variety show on cable TV which has interviewed John Lennon’s Uncle Charlie, Margaret Cho, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Felix Cavaliere, Marty Balin, Bill Press and hundreds of other personalities.