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article imageReview: Deep Purple release a seven-album boxset on vinyl

By Adrian Peel     Feb 2, 2016 in Music
One of rock's most influential acts, formed in Hertford, England in 1968, has re-released seven albums from a particularly fruitful period in their history as part of an attractive vinyl boxset.
In December 2015, after no doubt wondering why they'd been ignored for so long, it was announced that Deep Purple were to be inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame. For the band that gave us such classic rock staples as "Smoke on the Water," "Hush," "Black Night" and "Highway Star," this inexplicable omission will finally be rectified in 2016.
Their new boxed set, spanning the years 1972 to 1987, is called Deep Purple: The Vinyl Collection. It consists of seven remastered albums, including the first official remasters of two slightly lesser known '80s releases, Perfect Strangers (1984) and The House of Blue Light (1987).
The other LPs featured are Machine Head (1972), Who Do We Think We Are (1973), Burn (1974), Stormbringer (1974) and Come Taste the Band (1975). Performing on four of these was the popular 'Mark II' lineup of Ritchie Blackmore on guitar, the late Jon Lord on keyboards, drummer Ian Paice, lead vocalist Ian Gillan and Roger Glover on bass.
Along with Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath, Deep Purple are often credited with helping to kick start the heavy metal movement and with "Highway Star," the hard-hitting opening number on the excellent Machine Head, it's easy to see why.
Second track "Maybe I'm a Leo" offers a more slowed-down groove, but is no less enchanting. "Never Before" is a pretty solid tune, but is completely blown out of the water, so to speak, by what comes next. "Smoke on the Water" is a song - and a riff - that requires no further comment.
At a mere seven tracks, Machine Head proves that a short burst of brilliance can be just as effective as a long-winded, over-produced, money draining effort.
Also coming in at seven tracks, is the less satisfying (due to lacklustre songs and some now woefully outdated psychedelia) Who Do We Think We Are. Standout moments include "Woman from Tokyo," "Smooth Dancer" and "Rat Bat Blue."
Moving on, the eight-track Burn is an impressive return to form, thanks in part to the contributions of David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes (who had replaced Gillan and Glover), two of my all-time favourite singers.
The ambitious title track is a little overlong, but the likes of "Lay Down, Stay Down," "Sail Away" and "Mistreated" help make Burn one of Purple's most rewarding albums.
Stormbringer is something of a departure from the group's driving hard rock sound, displaying more elements of soul and funk. It's not without its charm, however, as songs like "Holy Man," "Hold On" and "High Ball Shooter" demonstrate.
With its Spinal Tap-esque title, 1975's Come Taste the Band is the only Deep Purple record to feature guitarist Tommy Bolin, who died of a drug overdose at the tragically young age of 25 in December 1976.
Beginning with "Comin' Home" and containing more uptempo numbers such as "Lady Luck" and "Drifter" it's 'rockier' and generally a better album than Stormbringer, though it doesn't compare to Machine Head or Burn.
1984's Perfect Strangers saw the 'Mark II' lineup back together for the first time in 11 years and although it wasn't quite the comeback fans were hoping for, it was great to see these fine musicians reunited once more. Songs particularly worthy of praise this time include "Nobody's Home," "Mean Streak," "Perfect Strangers" and "Wasted Sunsets."
The five members stayed together for Purple's 12th studio album The House of Blue Light, released in 1987. At 10 tracks, it's the longest album in this collection and is also more enjoyable than Perfect Strangers.
For collectors of vinyl and fans of Deep Purple - and of classic rock in general - this compilation comes highly recommended. Although some of the LPs are much better than others, each indicates where the guys were musically at a specific moment in rock history, which is interesting in itself.
As the songs here prove, Deep Purple's induction into the Hall of Fame is long overdue.
The Vinyl Collection is out now.
For more information on the band, visit their official website.
More about Deep Purple, Deep Purple The Vinyl Collection, Rock music, smoke on the water, Ritchie Blackmore
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