Criminally Underrated

In honour of this week’s release of the 35th anniversary edition of Deep Purple’s Come Taste the Band – one of the most criminally underrated albums in the history of hard rock – I hereby pay homage to a few of the genre’s unjustly neglected classics. My list is by no means intended to represent the ‘Most Underrated Albums in Rock’; rather, as the recurrence of certain artists suggests, it reflects my feelings about a lot of the music I grew up on . . . along with a little of what I’ve been listening to lately.

10. Kingdom Come, In Your Face (1989): Harshly ridiculed for their creative debt to Led Zeppelin – their fate sealed by disparaging remarks from Jimmy Page himself – Kingdom Come remain one of the most unfairly overlooked bands of the late 1980s. While it is true that Hamburg-born frontman Lenny Wolf’s howl was spookily redolent of the young Robert Plant, and their punchy bluesy riffs bore more than a passing resemblance to those of their influential but criminally overrated forebears, Kingdom Come can no more be dismissed as ‘Led Zeppelin clones’ than any number of big-haired wannabe stadium stompers of their era (and, given how much Led Zeppelin themselves ‘borrowed’ from certain elder blues statesmen – not to mention the Jeff Beck Group – it seems rather churlish of them to object to later bands copping certain ingredients from their musical elixir). Kingdom Come’s eponymous debut was, in fact, an outstanding slab of dynamic, bluesy hard rock, and on its follow up, In Your Face, they raised their game in the songwriting stakes, delivering a supremely consistent set of swaggering anthems, including the pulsating single ‘Do You Like It?’, and my personal favourite, the sublime ‘Who Do You Love?’

9. Rush, Test for Echo (1996): There are several albums in the Rush back catalogue that may justly be termed underrated; the epic-laden early effort, about which the band remain unduly embarrassed, Caress of Steel (1975), and the gorgeous, synth-heavy Signals (1982) spring immediately to mind. Due to the timing of its release in the mid-nineties (something of a wilderness period for ‘classic rock’ acts) and prior to the lengthy hiatus that followed drummer Neil Peart’s bereavements, Test For Echo has perhaps been lost to view more than most Rush albums. Not that the band members themselves are blind to its virtues. The fragile ‘Resist’ has been included in their live set in gorgeous acoustic form, while ‘Driven’ has proven a perfect solo showcase for frontman Geddy Lee’s mind-blowing skills on the bass. Less heralded tracks that remain firm favourites of mine include the witty ‘Dog Years’, and the luscious ‘Half the World’, with its shimmering, multi-layered guitars. The atmospheric title track is one more reason to make sure you don’t miss this compelling set from Canada’s finest.

8. Uriah Heep, Conquest (1980): A revamped Uriah Heep re-emerged after John Lawton’s disappointing swansong (1978’s Fallen Angel) with a new frontman, who continues to sharply divide opinion amongst the band’s fans. 23 year old John Sloman was dubbed in certain press outlets ‘the new Robert Plant’ – a comparison that surely owed more to his penchant for bare chested preening than to any more than superficial vocal similarities; a Welsh Daryl Hall would be closer to the mark. And, true to that comparison, the soulful influences that the new singer brought to the table, both in terms of vocal style and at the time uncredited (due to contractual complications) songwriting contributions, would result in the new look Heep delivering an eclectic set that left long-standing fans as confused as Deep Purple fans were by Stormbringer, back in 1974. Sloman’s style, particularly as applied to the band’s classic material, irritated more than Heep’s diehard fans, prompting keyboard player and principle songwriter Ken Hensley to leave in a huff after a decade-long association. Sloman’s tenure with the band was likely always going to be brief and, after soldiering on with Greg Dechert filling Hensley’s shoes for a while, the band was dissolved. Despite the difficult circumstances surrounding the record, there is much to admire about Conquest; the performances from Sloman and bassist Trevor Bolder in particular are consistently impressive, with the new singer sounding fantastic on melancholic ballads such as ‘It Ain’t Easy’ and ‘Fools’, while the whole band delivers a performance of breathless intensity on the storming opener, ‘No Return’. Sloman was never destined for the kind of mega-stardom tipped for him by some at the outset of his career, but creatively, he continued to deliver the goods long after his unhappy association with Uriah Heep came to an end. His first solo album, Disappearances Can Be Deceptive (1989) was a flawless collection of polished, radio-friendly pop rock nuggets featuring fine performances from, amongst many other excellent musicians, fretless bass supremo Pino Palladino. And Dark Matter (2003), further showcased his ability to absorb and mix up musical influences, marrying indie rock stylings with blistering blues rock, in a fresh and strikingly contemporary fashion.

7. Black Sabbath, Technical Ecstasy (1976): Often paired with the original Sabbath line-up’s stunningly lacklustre swansong, Never Say Die (1978), this curio is almost as neglected as the band’s mid-eighties output. Yet, while its stylistic schizophrenia is certainly symptomatic of an identity crisis that beset the band through the protracted implosion of the original line-up (prior to their brilliant, Ronnie Dio-inspired reinvention), that is where the similarities with Never Say Die end. Technical Ecstasy is by no means one of Black Sabbath’s finest offerings, but its standards of songwriting and performance should spare it from being regarded as one of their worst. Evincing the same adventurous spirit that fired its brilliantly decadent predecessors Sabotage (1975) and Sabbath Bloody Sabbath (1973), with a knob-twiddling zeal that had attained to obsessive proportions (hence the title), the album contains much to recommend it besides its most traditionally Sabbathy closing cut, ‘Dirty Women’ (upon which ‘classic’ status was belatedly conferred, by its regular inclusion in the sets of the reunion concerts that were inaugurated in the late 1990s). The double-punch of gritty opener ‘Back Street Kids’, followed by the gothic melodrama of ‘You Won’t Change Me’ certainly gets things off to a rollicking start, and the merits of the next track – a laid back, Beatlesy ballad entitled ‘It’s Alright’, sung by drummer Bill Ward – were not lost on a certain W. Axl Rose, who performed the song solo as a prelude to ‘November Rain’, on the Guns’ Use Your Illusion tour. The band’s struggle to forge an identity beyond the occult-inspired satanic image of their early years certainly resulted in their taking some stylistic steps too far for many fans on this album, but the aforementioned tracks alone attest that guitarist Tony Iommi and bassist/lyricist Geezer Butler had more than enough creative juice in the tank to deliver a worthy successor to Sabotage. And while Iommi’s increasing fascination with studio jiggery-pokery might have bored Ozzy Osbourne shitless (epitomising a breakdown of relations that would result in the singer finally being fired after the Never Say Die saga), the fruits of his technical ecstasy actually did pay rich dividends – give the album due attention, and you’ll be unearthing fresh surprises in the guitar parts for years.

6. Deep Purple, Who Do We Think We Are? (1973): The album which preceded the resignation of Ian Gillan, and the retirement of Deep Purple’s most celebrated line-up until their 1984 reunion, continues to be treated dismissively, as if the catastrophic breakdown of relations between band members must inevitably have been reflected in substandard music. After opening cut ‘Woman From Tokyo’ was laid down, an argument over Gillan’s vocal delivery of ‘Painted Horse’ (destined never to see the light of day until the studio out-take cropped up as a bonus track on the album’s remaster), had effectively split the Purple party into two camps, with Blackmore sulking on his own, and recording his guitar parts sans interaction with his bandmates. And while ‘Woman From Tokyo’, the album’s most celebrated track, is undoubtedly excellent, it does sound oddly detached from the rest of the introspective and, by Purple’s standards, laid back set. It is probably these qualities that have led to its being overlooked and underrated – along with the fact that Blackmore is something of a passenger on the album, producing nothing comparable to the legendary fireworks of the previous year’s Machine Head. Blackmore’s tendency to blow hot and cold, though, was a recurring feature of his tenure with Deep Purple; notice how the almost demonic intensity of his performances on In Rock (1970) was followed by the more insouciant, but in their way equally compelling, leads that lit up Fireball (1971), and how the fired-up Blackmore of Burn (1973) gave way to the apathetic (but still sporadically brilliant) Blackmore of Stormbringer (1974). In the case of WDWTWA?, Blackmore’s taking a back seat has the silver lining of allowing Jon Lord to step to the fore, which is no great hardship for the listener. After years of not getting this album, I find these days that it is one of the Purple albums I return to again and again, appreciating more and more its refined musicianship and admirable adventurousness – as Lord suggested at the time, it took a certain amount of chutzpah for Deep Purple to close an album with a song with no solos and barely a chorus, but that is exactly what they did with the wonderful ‘Our Lady’. Another personal highlight for me is the insanely catchy ‘Smooth Dancer’ (replete with Gillan’s lyrical stabs at Blackmore) – and I very much appreciated the brief reappearance of ‘Mary Long’ in the band’s live set, in the Steve Morse years, as a welcome tip of the hat to a neglected classic.

5. UFO, Force It (1975): Having introduced rock fans to the stellar talents of Teutonic guitar prodigy Michael Schenker on Phenomenon (1974), featuring enduring anthems ‘Rock Bottom’ and ‘Doctor, Doctor’, the venerably British UFO were not about to squander their opportunity to transform themselves from pub rock journeymen to hard rock heroes. At just the second time of asking with Schenker in tow, they delivered their first of many gold-plated albums. Like its successor, No Heavy Petting (1976), Force It has been rather overshadowed by the outstanding hat-trick of classic albums – Lights Out (1977), Obsession (1978) and the stunning live swansong, Strangers in the Night (1979) – that sealed their place in rock ‘n’ roll folklore. For anyone who gets the band, Force It, too, has everything. The piledriving intensity of live staples ‘Let It Roll’ and ‘Shoot Shoot’ gives way to ‘High Flyer’, the kind of gentle but muscular ballad for which the band are justly celebrated, and, after the fluffy ‘Love Lost Love’ (a fine vehicle for Schenker fireworks), the listener is treated to two tracks which show the band – and the young guitarist – at the peak of their powers: ‘Out in the Street’ and ‘Mother Mary’. Here, the greatest hallmarks of Schenker’s lead playing are wonderfully in evidence; the blistering aggression, balanced by flawless melodic instincts, and that exquisite, distinctive, tone. Closing cut ‘This Kid’s’, segueing into Schenker’s psychedelic instrumental, ‘Between the Walls’, concludes proceedings in characteristically dramatic fashion – an intoxicating finale to a heady musical trip.

4. Van Halen, Van Halen II (1978): Certainly not an album that goes unappreciated by Van Halen fans, I have included Van Halen II here primarily because of the extent to which it has been overshadowed by the band’s debut. II was the first Van Halen album I ever heard, and it remains my favourite. The fact that the album opens on a downer, with a moody cover of ‘You’re No Good’ (eccentric cover versions being a recurring feature of Van Halen in the David Lee Roth years) only enhances the impact of ‘Dance the Night Away’, one of the breeziest slices of pop rock ever to appear on an album by bona fide hard rock legends. From hereonin it’s party time, and, for my money, the band deliver a more focussed and consistent set than they did on their debut (classic tracks aplenty notwithstanding). The album features some of the finest playing of Eddie Van Halen’s illustrious career, from the electrifying breaks that grace ‘Somebody Get Me a Doctor’ and ‘Outta Love Again’, to the impudent virtuosity of acoustic solo instrumental ‘Spanish Fly’, to the astonishing false harmonics that make a sparkling jewel of the miraculous intro to ‘Women in Love’. Take the change out of that if you dare.

3. Warrant, Ultraphobic (1995): Pretty much every album released by Warrant – including their excellent Jani Lane-less 2006 opus Born Again – is, by definition, underrated. Their place in cultural history assured by the salacious frat boy anthem ‘Cherry Pie’ (and the bouncy charms of Bobbi Brown, employed to distracting effect in the music video), the songwriting talents of Jani Lane have never really gained the recognition they merited. Scoring hits with some of the most memorable anthems and power ballads of the late eighties, Warrant appeared to be on a fast track to – and surely deserved – the kind of staggering success enjoyed by lesser bands such as Bon Jovi. Grunge, however, saw to it that their star was destined to blaze but briefly. Lane and his cohorts responded supremely to the cultural sea change heralded by the likes of Nirvana and Pearl Jam, with the powerfully heavy and moody Dog Eat Dog (1992), arguably the finest album of their career. Their effective relegation to the second tier of rock music’s elite, and the critical disparagement that went with it, however, did not make for a happy camp, and, after the departure of key members (with Lane himself having briefly left at one point), a new look Warrant reconvened and did their best to adapt to the changing musical landscape with Ultraphobic. On paper, the idea of Warrant absorbing grunge and alternative influences is about as palatable as Ozzy Osbourne putting out a country album (I shouldn’t have written that; it’ll probably happen now), but, against the odds, it works – the reason being the consistent quality of songwriting that Lane and his bandmates are able to maintain, rising above any suggestions of cheap bandwagon hopping. Tracks like ‘Undertow’ and ‘Followed’, along with the title track and sometime live favourite ‘Family Picnic’, are amongst the punchiest and heaviest material the band ever recorded, while the blissful ‘High’ offers a marvellous take on the power ballad for the post-grunge generation. The album closes with a beautiful acoustic ballad entitled ‘Stronger Now’ that was so far removed from Ultraphobic stylistically that Lane did not want to include it – but that effectively serves as a deliciously delicate coda to one of the mid-nineties’ hidden gems.

2. Black Sabbath, Seventh Star (1986): Like certain others on this list, this underrated mid-eighties treasure has steadily become less underrated as the years have gone by, in large part due to fans’ increasing willingness to judge it on its own merits, rather than as a Black Sabbath album. Intended as a debut solo album after the dissolution of the bizarre Ian Gillan fronted Sabbath, Tony Iommi delivered a slick set of blues-laced hard rock anthems more akin to eighties stadium fillers like Whitesnake and The Scorpions than to the doom-laden strains of Birmingham’s finest. His record company, however, insisted on the Black Sabbath name being retained, leading to the foolish compromise of the album coming out under the banner of ‘Black Sabbath Featuring Tony Iommi’. The guitarist was also thwarted in his aspiration to feature a plethora of noted guest vocalists on the album, and had to suffer the hardship of having Glenn Hughes sing all of its tracks. Seventh Star, like the stunning Hughes/Thrall (1982) shows that not everything Hughes did between Deep Purple’s ignominious break-up and his cleaning up of his act in the early nineties, was a washout. Thunderous opener ‘In For the Kill’ and moody ballad ‘No Stranger to Love’ (released as a single, and brilliantly reinterpreted by Glenn Hughes for his solo live set) stand up with the best mainstream rock music of the mid-eighties, while the lumbering, ‘Kashmir’-esque title track, makes sure that diehard Sabbath fans don’t feel completely left out. The pulsating, riff-driven ‘Danger Zone’ is another highlight, and the grinding blues of ‘Heart Like a Wheel’ (surely one of the songs originally envisioned with Hughes in mind), allows the singer to really stretch out and show us what he’s made of.

While Hughes’s performances on the album are uniformly excellent, it is unfortunate, to say the least, that he was called upon to go out on tour in support of the record, under the banner of Black Sabbath. At the best of times, Hughes would be about as fitting a singer for the band that gave us ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Warpigs’ as Kurt Cobain would be for Aerosmith, and, in his coked-out mid-eighties state, he was really in no condition to be fronting any band out on tour. After a handful of dates, the association was severed, leaving Iommi to rebuild the Sabbath brand with remarkable pluck, first with the superb, sadly deceased, American vocalist Ray Gillen, and subsequently with the too little appreciated Tony Martin. The unlikely pairing of Iommi and Hughes was far from finished, though, recording an album’s worth of unfinished out-takes in 1996 that finally saw the light of day as The DEP Sessions in 2005, and finally laying the Seventh Star demons to rest with the excellent Fused in 2008.

1. Deep Purple, Come Taste the Band (1975): After the disappointment of the idiosyncratic funk and soul-infused Stormbringer (1974), which precipitated the departure of the imperious Ritchie Blackmore, it seemed unlikely that Deep Purple would continue at all, never mind come back with one of the most powerful albums of their career. Yet, in their inimitably dysfunctional way, that is precisely what they did. In the mercurially gifted young American guitarist Tommy Bolin, Glenn Hughes found something of a musical soulmate and, divested of Blackmore’s inhibiting puritanism, the new-look Purple were able to pursue new directions unbound, ultimately delivering an album that was much more purposeful and dynamic than its patchy predecessor. Hughes was free to indulge his Stevie Wonder fantasies to the utmost on ‘This Time Around’ (co-written with Jon Lord in about half an hour, and segueing into Bolin’s prickly homage to Gershwin, the instrumental ‘Owed to G’), and the fruits of the tragically short-lived partnership between Hughes and Bolin were delightfully represented by the joyful funk uplift of lead single ‘Gettin’ Tighter’. The much-vaunted funk and soul influences of Deep Purple Marks III and IV, while pronounced on Come Taste the Band, have tended to obscure the fact that it is, fundamentally, a hard rock album – and a surprisingly hard-hitting one at that. It’s often forgotten how low-down-mean-and-nasty this version of the band could git, as witness ‘Love Child’ and ‘The Dealer’. Tracks like these, along with ‘I Need Love’ (which points the way to early Whitesnake) show that it wasn’t just Hughes and Bolin who got to cut loose in Deep Purple Mark IV – Coverdale has, perhaps, never sounded better than on this album. And barnstorming opener ‘Comin’ Home’ puts glaringly into perspective how much the previous line-up of the band had lost the plot when it came to rocking out (title track aside) on Stormbringer, while the brooding theatrics of closing cut, ‘You Keep On Moving’ – actually written before Bolin joined the band, but difficult to imagine without his intense playing – bring the album to a mesmerising conclusion.

While Deep Purple Mark IV proved that they were more than capable of laying down some of the finest music ever to go out under the Deep Purple name – a fact that is gaining belated recognition; see the richly deserved 10/10 review of the anniversary edition of CTTB in the current issue of Classic Rock magazine – it is, sadly, undeniable, that one thing they weren’t quite so good at was actually being Deep Purple. The unresolved problem of sharing lead vocal responsibilities between two such exuberant performers as Coverdale and Hughes persisted, and the difficulties of integrating the band’s ‘classic’ material from the Gillan/Glover years into the set, and presenting a coherent musical package that reflected a sustained identity, became even more pronounced. While live performances of Come Taste tracks could be nothing short of sensational (check out ‘Gettin’ Tighter’ live in California, on On the Wings of a Russian Foxbat, or ‘Love Child’ on This Time Around: Live in Tokyo), performances of earlier tracks (including, sometimes, Mark III material) were notably less convincing. The lethargic vocal performances of Hughes and Coverdale on Gillan tracks speak volumes about their attitudes towards the Deep Purple legacy, to the point that it is impossible not to reflect on what a fitting choice ‘Lazy’ was to retain from Mark II. The well-documented personal problems that beset the band, especially as regards the struggles of Bolin and Hughes with substance abuse, clearly took a toll on performances, as did the refusal of many fans to accept Bolin (or, one suspects, anyone) as a replacement for Ritchie Blackmore. Indeed, Hughes’s shenanigans even had an impact on the recording of the album, as is detailed in this month’s major Classic Rock retrospective – the singer/bassist was sent home before the album was completed, and came close to being fired, leading Bolin to play bass (and Lordy to help out on backing vocals!) on ‘Comin’ Home’, and sing the middle eight of ‘The Dealer’.

Within a year of a disastrous show in Liverpool’s bringing the curtain down on Deep Purple, Tommy Bolin would be dead. It is by the moments when they soared that this band, of such incredible potential, should be remembered, and, now that the lavish 35th anniversary edition of CTTB has hit the shelves, we are better placed than ever to remember them for the right reasons. The remasters, and especially, the superb Kevin Shirley remixes on the second disc, allow us to hear Bolin’s smoking leads and sizzling rhythm work – damn, the kid could work a riff – with greater clarity than ever before, while the inclusion of a breathtaking, previously unreleased Bolin/Paice studio jam heightens further the eerie sensation of being reacquainted with a long lost friend.

Good to see you again, bro. Hope it rocks up there.

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134 Responses to Criminally Underrated

  1. paul daws says:

    hi some great albums and some i havent heard thought you would have some warrant and uriah heap the kingdom come album great hard rock blues album have to dig that one out again. black sabbath with glen hughes was a great album one of my favourites im sure we could all do a list of underrated albums a few of mine being………. gary moore run for cover with glen hughes great rock album with out in the fields with phil lynott cracking tune…dokken back for the attack with mr scary george lynch on guitar opening track kiss of death great riff ..tnt tell no tales one of the best voices in rock tony harnell…the list could go on and on all the best Paul

  2. simon robinson says:

    As a long-time DP fan it was interesting to read your (well-crafted) thoughts on not one but TWO of their albums in this featurette. I’m old enough to recall buying WDWTWA straight out of the delivery box at Virgins and being very depressed when I played it, as here clearly was a band at war with itself. Didn’t stop me getting Blackmore to scribble his autograph across it on their last UK tour mind you. CTTB on the other hand was such a radical switch of direction that it took me a year or two to ‘get it’, and now it remains one of my favourites (even if the organist continues to grumble that it isn’t a Deep Purple album. Sorry Jon, if you put that name on it, then that’s what it is. Unless you can retrospectively rebrand Slaves & Masters for us all!).
    And Seventh Star as well – great to hear Iommi and Hughes battle it out on this one, which does get forgotten by many. Maybe if it hadn’t gone out under the Sabbath name people would have been more receptive? Perhaps Jon Lord could sort. Simon Robinson

    • A.Y. Marsh says:

      Ah, Slaves and Masters – one of the great overrated ‘underrated’ albums, if you know what I mean. There’s some decent stuff on it, but Joe Lynn Turner is seriously deluded about how good an album it is. The Battle Rages On is much better.

  3. Ian Douglas says:

    Fully support Simon’s commendation of the extremely worthy List by one A Y Marsh!
    Especially re Come Taste the Band – my favourite Deep Purple album ever and gloriously brought to life again by the various remasters! The incredible diversity, noise, excitement and power of this release AND the lineup live on Mk IV material will never leave my immediate recall! Yes one could have issues with the revised running order on the Shirley disc (odd?) but I loved the slightly longer versions in some cases where there had been fade-out (would still love a 10 minute Dealer!) but in compilation with the Hughes remaster and the original there’s something for everyone a song for everyone as David would say. Has he EVER sounded better than this?!! Ace performance and sound from Ian Paice too and Glenn Hughes but he was tried and true long before this with Medusa. . . everyone should have Trapeze in their bundle AND the Tommy Bolin career output across Zephyr, Energy, James Gang and of course the two superb solo albums! Any fans coming to Australia must get in touch and check out my Ultimate collection! Love to all and long may the best memories remain and be enlivened again! IAN

  4. A.Y. Marsh says:

    Thanks, Ian. I love all the other Bolin stuff you mention; ‘Teaser’ and ‘Private Eyes’ could easily have made my list – fantastic albums.

  5. Jeff Summers says:

    Very nice piece Mr Marsh and you have covered some of my favourite albums here too! Justgot the remastered version of Purples CTTB and still kinda love it and slightly apathetic towards it at the same time. “This time around” and” Gettin tighter” are my favourites (although they don’t sound like Purple) but unlike Ritchie, I like the Purple funk! Most of the other songs are a blueprint for early Whitesnake and although there is nothing wrong with that, they lack the cutting edge of the Blackmore era songs…

    WDWTWA is probably my 2nd favourite studio album after “InRock”, I think the songs are brilliant and more varied from what had gone before…”Rat, bat, blue” is sooo instantly Purple and yet very different from anything that had gone before. For me though this is also the very last true extraordinary Gillan album vocally… I think his tone had changed upon his return to music 3 years later.

    Force it, Van Halen II and Conquest are also on my toplist :o)

    Thanks again, great read…



  6. Roel Glas says:

    Great read – nice to see something like this rather than another list of “the best albums of all time” Phew!, I thought I was the only one who totally loved WDWTWA. Apart from the obvious, thought Rat Bat Blue was a great work out and A Place in Line – well, never get tired of that one. Something out of left field. Thought the original vinyl had a great sound.

  7. A.Y. Marsh says:

    Cheers, Jeff and Roel. I agree about ‘Rat Bat Blue’ and ‘Place in Line’, and Mr Gillan does indeed sound fantastic on that album. When I first heard it I was disappointed – I guess because I was hoping for a ‘Highway Star’ type moment from Blackmore – but I eventually came to fully appreciate its more understated charms!

    • David says:

      Great read. Mentioning “Paited Horse” is excellent (don’t forget about Glover’s 1999 remaster and “First Day Jam”)

      • A.Y. Marsh says:

        Yeah, some of those out-takes that came out on the remasters (as well as the brilliant b-sides like “I’m Alone”) were really great. Deep Purple seemed to have a policy of leaving amazing songs off their albums – like “Strange Kind of Woman” and “When a Blind Man Cries”!

  8. michael lorentzen says:

    As everyone else here I have to say I just love CTTB, so different and still so powerful with the best sound from any Purple record around this time. Dealer is awesome with Bolin on vocals even.
    WDWTWA is a classic from mkII just like the rest of them.
    Kingdom come.. have totally forgotten about this one, always liked it!
    Technical Ecstasy is a fave too.

  9. Nice to see a fellow admirer of Come Taste The Band. It was my first DP album and for that will always be that extra bit special to me. The anniversary edition was too long in the making but is indeed superb. I just wish the powers that be would have done the whole anniversary series in the same format as Machine Head and Come Taste … with a full remix disc and a full remaster disc.

  10. Conrad Passas says:

    A brilliantly written piece A.Y. Thank you very much.

    You had me with Technical Ecstasy!

    Thanks to the old CBS record club, I came into Sabbath late, from “Sabbath Bloody…” then “Sabotage” (i believe they changed Record Co’s with S.B.S), but, then came T.E. which encapsulated all that went down previously and gave them a depth and majesty that to mine still remains unsurpassed to this day (hats off to the Dio years of course, and which i dearly love as could one not?).

    Come Taste the Band, unlike Simon, I got straight away. I worship at the altar of Blackmore, but CTTB spoke to me immediately. I have always likened this album to AC/DC’s “Back In Black”. Not musically speaking, but how a band can overcome adversity with such a focus and exuberance. Another similarity…I was learning guitar at the time, and I found it astonishing how you were able to just grab these songs and play along with them. That was the appeal and brilliance – their simplicity!
    I just DEARLY would have loved a “For Those about To rock…” from them too, but sadly not to be.
    With the 35th anniversary, thankfully, justice is finally served.

    Thanks again A.Y., great to see like-minded out there in this big big world!

  11. Conrad Passas says:

    P.S. A special mention to Ian Paice. I believe he was at the height of his musical powers with CTTB. He swung like a horny hoe!

  12. A.Y. Marsh says:

    Nice to hear some appreciation for Technical Ecstasy! I’ve never understood why people are so down on that album.

    • David says:

      Who’s ‘Down’ on Iommi and Ozzy in their prime? (Tecnical Ecstacy…I even like “Never Say Die’)

      • A.Y. Marsh says:

        No less a critic than Mick Wall recently said that Tech Ecst and Never Say Die – and Sabotage! – were all atrocious! I couldn’t believe what I was reading. UPDATE: it occurs to me that he said Sabbath’s ‘last three albums with Ozzy’ were awful – so maybe, in fairness, he meant TE, NSD and ‘Live at Last’.

      • David says:

        O.K I know there’s some “fans” ‘down’ on albums like ‘Sabbath’s ‘Sabotage’, ‘Born Again’ Purple’s ‘CTTB’, UFO’s ‘Lights Out’, Riot’s ‘Rock City’ Accept’s ‘Balls To The Walls’ instrumentals by Blackmore’s Night and Ian Gillan’s ‘Toolbox’. I’m used to people disagreeing with me. -:((

      • David says:

        MR. Marsh; I’m mentioning those albums because I want you to listen to some good music so, anything by Michael Schenker (like UFO) and Uli Jon Roth (Scorpions best stuff…check-out ‘In Trance).
        Play It Loud!

  13. S Way says:

    A very enjoyable read Mr. Marsh – I always felt slightly guilty about CTTB being my favorite DP album but now feel vindicated with so many people now bigging it up since the re-issue! I’ve never been one to go with the crowd and am quite happy to put on record that I love Slaves And Masters, Joe Lyn Turner generally (he can’t help looking like a girl) and that Fallen Angel, far from being disappointing, is not only my second fave Heep album after Demons but one of my top albums of all time despite the tacky cover art! It’s funny how we all hear things so differently – I think TE by Sabbath is embarrassingly awful as is most of Never Say Die and Do You Like It by KC sounds like a naff NWOBHM band! Vive la difference!

    • A.Y. Marsh says:

      I quite like ‘Slaves and Masters’; JLT is a great vocalist, and there is some good stuff on it. I just think it falls short in terms of really memorable material, compared to most Deep Purple albums (it was certainly an improvement on ‘The House of Blue Light’, though!). ‘Fallen Angel’, too . . . I certainly don’t hate it, but I would never put it up there with Heep’s best albums. I actually have a bit of a soft spot for it, as it was one of the first Heep albums I owned, and John Lawton autographed my old Castle Classics CD of it! I absolutely love ‘One More Night’, and there are some other fine songs on it – but not one of their better efforts, for my money.

  14. Jacob Krøll says:

    Fantastic reading Mr. Marsh, being a big Purple fan it’s great to see that others love WDWTWA and CTTB. But please tell me why you rate “Battle” higher than Slaves And Masters, because i still find it hard to find any joy in One Man’s Meat, Nasty Piece Of Work & A Twist In The Tail. And Gillan is really struggling on this record. I know many hardcore Purple fans hate “Slaves”, but i still think there’s at lot of great stuff on it – King Of Dreams, The Cut Runs Deep, Fire In The Basement, Truth Hurts (great Blackmore solos), Fortuneteller and of course Wickey Ways. And the Forum show in Copenhagen i went to in ´91, was certainly better than the one (Valby Hallen) two years later with Gillan back on the mic! They made up for that with Satriani in Esbjerg later that year 🙂

    • A.Y. Marsh says:

      Hi Jacob, I’m glad the show with Turner was good – I hope we’ll get a live album from that version of the band one day! I don’t hate ‘Slaves’; I like most of the stuff you mention. But, in my opinion, ‘Battle’ has some even better songs – the title track (yes, I know they recycled some Rainbow there, but it’s still great!), Anya is awesome, Time to Kill has always been a personal favourite for me, and I also love Solitaire and Lick It Up. The album just has more spark and character about it than ‘Slaves’, for me . . . but it’s all very subjective, of course!

  15. Anthony says:

    Hi A.Y. Thanks for having the courage to put in print what many of us have always believed! Super Trouper, for instance, is as memorable (and heavy) as a typical In Rock number. As it was a Glover song in the main, I’m surprised Mk.8 have not (to my knowledge) yet played it live. I also think that Rat Bat Blue led eventually to Still of the Night, and Whitesnake’s major breakthrough outside Europe. Coverdale has said that he and Blackmore came up with the germ of an idea for the song. And Place in Line is too different from Lazy to be dismissed as a copy; it’s just as inspired as that classic. Afraid I don’t agree with your assessment of The House of Blue Light, though. That album needs its own reappraisal page! Bad Attitude is a little close to Owner of a Lonely Heart, admittedly…

    Where do you stand on Bad Company, by the way? The last full album by the classic line-up, Rough Diamonds, is another record which is unfairly unloved.

    Nice work, and thanks for reading these comments!

    • A.Y. Marsh says:

      Interesting, I didn’t know that about ‘Super Trouper’ being mainly a Glover song – I wish they would play it live, I really love that one. I’m afraid I have to plead a bit of ignorance on the Bad Company question; I only really know their big songs, and haven’t properly delved into their back catalogue – I guess I should sort that out soon! I was always rather nonplussed by ‘House of Blue Light’, but should probably give it another spin – might be due for a reappraisal!

    • Great thread guys.

      I once read that Blackmore was very much inspired by Trevor Rabin at that time.
      Unfortunately I must say.
      During S & M and TBRO he returned to hos own classic sound. : )

  16. Hartmut says:

    I treated myself to CCTB Re-issue. The remix by Kevin Shirley give a very interesting insight of what was recorded on the multis and what was (not) used for the original mix.
    It also gives me the opportunitly to value Martin Birch’s production work a little more: great job!
    In the benefit of hindsight it was a good move to leave that projected single (added here as bonus track) “Same in LA” in the shelves. I mean, even with proper vocals on it, that tune would not have gone anywhere and it’s clearly not CTTB album quality.

    The liner notes are a little odd, e.g. it brings up the rumour for the uptenth time that Jon Lord plays on the “Teaser” album, though the man himself said that he did not.
    It also states that CTTB lacked “a number suitable for improvisation”! Uff, and what about “Gettin’ Tighter”, which was extented up to 12 minutes on shows?

    And finally: why they did not add the live 76 version of “Coming Home”, even if it seems not complete, is anyones guess too.

    • A.Y. Marsh says:

      How I would love a live take of ‘Coming Home’! I agree about ‘Same in L.A.’; it’s nice to have it as a bonus track, especially for the Lord solo, but it doesn’t sound like it would have been album quality.

  17. S Way says:

    I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised as I was when I re-listened to it with fresh ears recently – some records are, and I can’t explain why, like whisky maturing in the barrel and over the years get better! Maybe it’s the frame of mind you’re in when you first listen to an album – it was like that for me with Fireball – I love that album now but didn’t really get it at first so ignored it for years in favour of Machine Head and Burn! My favourite track is, I think, Black And White and I heard Mad Dog on Planet Rock the other day and thought it rocked along quite nicely!

  18. Bill Pierce says:

    Hello Mr. Marsh, Am I talking to the longtime guitarist of the Glenn Hughes band? anyway, I liked reading your blog and I agree with a whole lot of what you said. I’ve alway loved CTTB, just the songs included Drifter-Dealer-Love Child-Gettin Tighter-You Keep on Moving are so strong!! 1st they finally started to get the idea, letting Glenn sing 2 or three songs was right on! there harmonizing on previous efforts were strong but beginning to suffer due to their egos becoming bigger! Glenn should have sung the Gillan tunes alone, staying true to the previous recordings. He definitely had the range for Ians tunes, that alone would have kept the MK11 fans happier, as long as he stayed true(no room for improv) on those previous tracks! Then let David handle the mk111 and mk4 tracks alone, except for the harmonizing parts. I do however own the Remastered Metal Blade as well as the Johnnie Bolin remaster. However I will buy the Shirley Remaster-Remix version as well! I think that a few rules ie Lord & Paice laying down the law about how to handle the live vocal duties and quit the Vocal battles for who should be the lead vocalist, could have kept the live experience to be enjoyed, rather than have all the Purple fans annoyed! When you have 2 singers with that much talent, doing or having a few conversation regarding how to handle past recording should have been paramount with those legendary past recordings! Thank you for allowing me to ramble a bit. I forgot to mention I Need Love was also a fantastic track, how they did the outtro with Glenn and David harmonizing, Bolin in the backgroud Blazing away!! Nuff Said? Bill The Wizard Pierce

  19. A.Y. Marsh says:

    Hi Bill, no, I’m nothing to do with Glenn Hughes – just an aspiring writer dipping his toe into the music journalism waters! Yeah, it’s a shame they never really resolved the vocal issues in live performances . . . maybe if Coverdale could have played second guitar it wouldn’t have been so bad, but he must have felt like a bit of a prawn standing there when Glenn was doing lead vocals (and even Tommy, when they put ‘Wild Dogs’ in the set)!

  20. Angelos Karagiannis says:

    WDWTWA is in my opinion the best PURPLE LP. Ian’ s vocals are amazing.
    The songs are excellent. Jon Lord’s sound is very powerful. The solo on Rat Bat Blue? How did he nailed that? Ritchie’s solo on SUPER TROUPER is a composition on its own within the song. After this LP Ritchie’s playing changeddramatically. It seems that he stopped taking his time when playing solos and started attacking the fretboard like a maniac, something that someone can observe watching LIVE BETWEEN THE EYES and generally hearing him soloing in the years during the DP reunion.
    Back to WDWTWA; another factor that makes me liking the LP is that except
    WFT all the other songs have not been played to death by DP like the songs of
    MACHINE HEAD. Also there are not on any compilations or live LP’s, you have to put on WDWTWA to hear them.
    And finally something about Jon Lord. Did you know that during the Mark 2
    period (70-73) he did not use a Leslie speaker cabinet as an amplifier for his
    Hammond? He stopped using them after 24/ o9 /69 and started again on the
    BURN tour. Now that I think again, I ‘m not sure about the one time that
    they played the Concerto for Group and Orchestra in America.
    That’s it for now. My baby daughter calls me.Not anyone’s daughter, MY

  21. Brian C says:

    Enjoyed your article. I’m a major Purple fan and have always liked WDWTWA and CTTB [but it took me a while to admit this as I’m a bit biased towards Blackmore.] Totally agree with you about Conquest. I had this on vinyl but it was banished to the attic by my good wife along with the others when CD’s appeared. I have just bought a USB turntable and this was one of the first albums I took out of the many boxes – I had totally forgotten about it and it was a great surprise to hear it again especially side 1. I hadn’t heard any of the tracks in over 16 years but it felt as if it was only yesterday [sadly it wasn’t.]

  22. Chip T. says:

    As a purple fanatic, I was glad to see some under rated Purple material on the list. WDYTWA is still my least favorite DP LP….that being said, it still is a great LP with Smooth Dancer being a fantastic song. I refused to listen to any non-Blackmore Purple until the advent of Blackmores Nightmare. I then realized quickly I had been missing two fantastic albums (CTTB and Purpendicular) CTTB was a revelation…it’s so much better overall then Stormbringer and Bolin really was a worthy successor to Blackmore, especially with the funk/rock direction the band was headed. Shame that Bolin and Hughes self destructed. Also glad to see 7th Star get some props….a tragically underated recording. Great article.

  23. Hess says:

    Dear AY, Thank you for the excellent article and contribution. It would have been great if the Mark IV lineup could have produced another album. ‘Comin’ Home’ is a superb opener and Tommy Bolin plays with a freedom and virtuosity that epitomised his incredible talent. With respect to Mark V, perhaps with hindsight Joe Lynn Turner’s addition to Deep Purple was short-sighted. A great singer and his solo work in recent years has been superb, the underlying issues in terms of musical direction within Purple may be were exacerbated, plus he was far too associated with Rainbow’s successful commerical period. Nonetheless ‘King of Dreams’ is a magnificent opener from ‘Slaves and Masters’ and the song ‘Fire, Ice & Dynamite’, which the band did during the said album’s sessions – appearing in a subsequent film – would have been a fabulous addition to the Mark V album. Thank you. With best wishes.

  24. Peter says:

    Always got smart remarks whenever I mentioned I really loved WDYTWA.
    Thank god I’m not alone anymore 🙂

    By the way, the same goes for “Seventh Star”.

  25. David says:

    Coverdale’s singing is fine as a Purple voice (just no ‘Highway Star’). Glenda Hughes and Tommy Bolin were so drugged-out that they didn’t even know that Lord + Paice already left Deep Purple. That means a lot to me and I have to say that Roger Glover should never have been replaced!


  26. David says:

    Oh ya’, UFO are great to see. Hey, what about Mark Reale from Riot (especially with Guy Speranza on vocals…’Rock City’).

    • David says:

      Unfortunatetly, I glossed-over my 2nd fave band; UFO, so here’s a break-down of my some under rated picks: 1976’s ‘On With The Action’, ‘BBC Sessions’ (with tunes from 1974 to 1977), 1995’s ‘Walk On Water’, 2000’s ‘Covenant’ and 2002’s ‘Sharks’.

  27. David says:

    An important Rainbow and Gillan note; serious fans should buy Rainbow’s Spitfire 2 CD live set from Germany in 1976 (remixed in 2001). Also, get Gillan`s `Glory Years`DVD (remixed in 2008) with guitarist Bernie Torme from 1981`s Live at Oxford Polytecnic.


    • David says:

      Oversight: It’s difficult to mention Purple without recomenneding Simon’s and Ann’s ‘Darker Than Blue’ and also stating DP’s 1969 2 CD (Sonic Zoom) release with ‘Kneel & Pray’ and ‘Kentucky Women’. This is rare Gillan / Glover recordings.

    • Noooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      Live In Germany is great but so much better on the triple release( 3 nights!!!!)at the end of the 2000 s.

  28. Jonathan Taylor says:

    Great blog…couldn’t agree more about “CTTB”. Loved it at the time, love it now, the Shirley reshuffle making it sound even more vibrant. Cool, too, to see “Test For Echo” given it’s due.
    Being the pedantic pain in the ass that I am, I must just add that the first appearance of Purple’s “Painted Horse” was in fact on an LP titled “Powerhouse” on the EMI/Purple imprint in 1977. It was the lead-off track on an album that also included the band’s live set before the “Concerto” performance of 1969. And yes, I have a copy…. 🙂

  29. Saul Evans says:

    What a great read! 6 months on from its release I still can’t resist sticking on the Kevin Shirly remix of CTTB on a daily basis. Whilst I was a big fan of the original album, it has now, in my view been elevated to the top tier of Purple’s studio output – an essential album along with In Rock, Fireball (another underrated album) Machine Head and Burn.

    Great call on UFO’s ‘Force It’ – which is filled with killer tracks. I would love to see this album receive the Kevin Shirley treatment!

    Here’s another 10 absolute gems that have been criminally underrated, unloved or ignored over the years:

    Rainbow – Long live Rock n’ Roll (1978) – overshadowed by the monumental Rising that came before it, this is never the less an excellent album. Kill the King alone (a fantastic rocker this) is worth the cost of the cd. Gates of Babylon is an epic piece that has, unfortunately, been overshadowed by Stargazer for the last 30 years. Their next album minus Ronnie Dio ‘Down to Earth’ was derided for being too poppy – but this also is a fantastic album.

    Humble Pie – Rock On (1970). Still don’t know why this band were not massive. Accused of being clones of the Rolling Stones by many. For me the comparison was overly generous to the Stones.

    Judas Priest – Sad Wings of Destiny (1976) A bit more light and shade than later mainstream metal offerings from Judas Priest – this is a fantastic progressive metal offering.

    Stone the Crows – Teenage Licks (1971/72) – a great band boasting arguably (well I’d argue) the greatest female voice in rock history. The crushing power of Maggie Bell.

    Free – Free At Last (72/73) Loved this band, and this largely overlooked album has some of their best material.

    Steppenwolf – At your Birthday Party (1969) This is their best album by some distance, but didn’t get the plaudits it deserved.

    Focus – Hamber Concerto (1974) – This is just pure genius. Was not viewed kindly next to Moving Waves and Focus III by their fans at the time.

    Procol Harum – Home (1970). Great progressive rock album. Great line-up, the last to feature Robin Trower I believe.

    Camel – The Snow Goose (1975). Should be up there with Floyd’s ‘Wish you were here’ as one of the great progressive rock albums of the 1970’s.

    Colisseum – The Valentyne Suite (1969) – early jazz progressive rock album from a band mainly forgotten. Had the pleasure of seeing the drummer Jon Heisman playing in Ronnie Scott’s for his wife’s jazz band in the late 80’s – up there with Ian Paice. The gituarist Clem Clemson later played for Humble Pie and lost out to Tommy Bolin for the Deep Purple gig….

    • SS says:

      Sad Wings of Destiny isn’t underrated because it’s classic JP which was seen on Unleashed In The East.

      Agree with Long Live Rock and Roll. It was a big hit at the time. Never understood why it’s not mentioned that much by Rainbow fans.

      King Crimson’s Starless and Bible Black is a masterpiece that got stuck between Lark’s Tounges and Red. “The middle album syndrome”.

      I always thought that CTTB was as good as anything Purple put out. Heavier than people think… Produced better than any other Purple album… Hughes singing, bass tone and songwriting…. Coverdale’s best vocal performance on record… Bolin’s great songs… Lord’s organ sounds much more potent without Blackmore (since 72′ anyway), and is highlighted well… Paice’s best Purple studio performance other than Burn (Hughes brought out the best in Paice’s groove).. And Martin Birch’s best job with Purple. So good in fact I never thought it needed a remaster. But, I shall buy it!

      Too bad they had to contend with MKIIs live legacy. MKIII couldn’t do MKII, and MKIV couldn’t do MKIII or MKII. Hughes should have sang Gillan’s vocals live, not Coverdale.

      Long live CTTB!

  30. Robert Lines says:

    Just discovered article via Deep Purple website, terriffic read, with some great underrated albums. Always liked Who do we think we are, with some classic hooks and melodys, Been playing Come Taste the Band, since christmas. Always thought that Sabbaths Techinical Ecstacy was released 10years ahead of its time,
    Other underrated albums in my opinion include,
    Black Crowes – By Your Side
    Neil Young – Tonights the night
    Gillan – Mr Universe.
    Would also love to hear the song “wild dogs” featured on Deep Purple’s Last Concert in Japan .album again, with Tommy Bolin on vocals

  31. David says:

    Hi. I have to say that (in my opinion) the problem with Purple without Gillan, Glover and Lord is that that nobody I know ever bought them. Same thing with Sabbath without Ozzy and UFO without Shenker (and now Way!). Rock bands without key people is hard to enjoy.
    Especially DP. Like I said, I will never miss Slaves And Disasters or Come Hate The Band.


    • SS says:

      Nobody bought WDWTWA either because it was too much too soon. Burn did well but would have done better if they took some time in between album. Burn could have used a “single” too.

  32. Jonathan Taylor says:

    Nothing so sad as a closed mind…

  33. Jonathan Taylor says:

    I notice that Blackmore’s name is strangely absent from your they-have-to-be-in-Purple-for-it-to-be-Purple list. Why, I wonder, is Ritchie any different to Bolin and Morse? And if he’d got the gig, would you have accepted Dave ‘Clem’ Clempson back in ’75?
    With few exceptions, bands change, evolve, and move on. New members bring fresh impetus and direction, and avoid the band becoming their own tribute and churning out the same material year after year, tour after tour.
    Personally, my favourite Sabbath LP is “Heaven And Hell”. No disrespect to Ozzy, I just think it’s a more consistent album than any of its predecessors, and shows a band progressing and developing their trademark sound.

    • David says:

      Blackmore’s Rainbow (with Dio and Powell) sure was awesome. No disrespect to Morse…I just like the Smooth Dancer more when he’s with Lord, Glover, Gillan and Paice.

      Oh. Mr. Airey (who was in Rainbow and recorded with many cool people…like Shenker and Uli Jon Roth in 2001) is pretty awesome!
      Your right (despite Burn, Stormbringer, CTTB, and S&M) they DO Purple evolve.
      There, and I didn’t even say ‘Blackmore`s Night…opps

  34. Jonathan Taylor says:

    I’d just change “despite” to “because of”….

  35. David says:

    Excuse me Mr.Marsh; as a Canadian, you detailing Rush is excellent (All we need is The Guess Who and Neil).

  36. David says:

    Hi all; I have to admit that I do have `CTTB `…I have `Perfect Strangers next, so I can not wait for it to be over. There is a Canadian band called MOXY and Tommy Bolin plays 3 tunes on their debut album (with Buddy Cain…singer…died on a motorbike in 1977). He had a voice like Bon Scott. On a cheerful note, Randy Bachman and Don Ross are still making fans smile.


  37. Jonathan Taylor says:

    Bolin played with quite a few bands…if you can track it down, there’s an excellent 2 CD collection from 1989 called “The Ultimate” which neatly chronicles Bolin’s work with Billy Cobham, Zephyr, James Gang, Purple, etc….
    A more recent CD collection, “Ultimate Redux” is NOT a reissue of this – it’s a different compilation of material (outtakes, versions) altogether.

    • David says:

      Thanks for the info. about Bolin…I’m a fan of Ian Gillan and Roger Glover… I hope you have their ‘Accidentally On Purpose’ CD and Glover’s ‘Snapshot’. If not, DO buy them. I also hope you all of Gillan`s back cat.


  38. Jonathan Taylor says:

    I have and enjoy “Accidentally On Purpose”, and have more Gillan albums than is strictly necessary! Which brings me back to the thread – “Toolbox” is a much better album than anyone’s given it credit for. I suspect that’s because it’s post classic Gillan line-up (Towns, McCoy, Underwood, Torme/Gers) but it’s a damn good rock LP and Steve Morris is a quality guitar player. I caught the band at Worcester and Birmingham on the Toolbox tour, and the material from the album stood up very well live.

  39. A.Y. Marsh says:

    I have most of the Gillan stuff, but haven’t heard ‘Toolbox’. ‘The Ultimate Redux’ was my introduction to a lot of Bolin’s stuff outside of Deep Purple – I love some of the live material and acoustic demos on it!

    • IAN DOUGLAS says:

      I have an almost complete Bolin collection! Essentials include all the Archive Releases and Zephyr; James Gang; Energy especially. . . Moxy great too. Love Tommy and had a very exciting live sound I saw him with DP Mk IV in Australia and was great.

      • A.Y. Marsh says:

        I haven’t heard Moxy, or much of the Energy stuff (would definitely like to hear more of that!) – but I have most of the Bolin back catalogue; the solo albums, the Zephyr and James Gang albums, Billy Cobham, Alphonse Mouzon etc. Tommy is one of the all-time greats, in my opinion – would have loved to have seen him live, especially when he was on top of his game. One of those maverick talents, like Jeff Beck, who could take you completely by surprise, doing things that were so off the wall and just brilliant, at the same time.

    • David says:

      Mr. Mash; ‘Toolbox’ (and ‘Naked Thunder’) are must buys!


  40. Jonathan Taylor says:

    The sheer raw energy coming from the Boiln band on the Ebbett’s Field CD is great; I cherished an old cassette bootleg of that show for years before the Archives official release.
    Tommy Bolin will, for me, remain one of the great lost talents, a massive what-if? in the history of contemporary music. I wish I’d seen him play when he was at his best and not prey to smack.

  41. Jonathan Taylor says:

    Ahh, the Japanese album, original version of what became “Mr. Universe”; I agree, indispensible for Gillan fans if only for “Abbey Of Thelema”, not re-recorded for “Mr. Universe”, but played live during the 1979 shows (I was at the late lamented Rainbow Theatre in Finsbury Park for the October gig with Samson and Spirit).

    • David says:

      Cool…I guess you saw Bernie Torme (my CD has Steve Byrd on on guitar in 1878)….what a band. Between you and the Lamp post, I have all of Gillans albums (and Deep Purple).


  42. Jonathan Taylor says:

    Yea, it was Bernie Torme on guitar in ’79, and all the better for it. A wildman with a stratocaster!
    Not to mention Colin Towns’ flute solo (yes, I kid you not) that led in to “Abbey of Thelema”…ahh, memories of an underrated band…Towns was (probably still is, but the Mask Orchestra stuff lost me) a genius.

    • David says:

      Ya…in North America, the 70’s were about Rock…the late 80’s were about ‘hair’ (thank goodness for ‘Perfect Strangers)…take Rush for example…’Farewell To Kings is cool (does anyone want Power Windows)…so, I am very glad you saw Gillan.


  43. Jonathan Taylor says:

    I think, as I’ve said before, regardless of line-up or era, each album should be taken on its merits. Often production values from a particular time period (eg the 80’s) can detract from what are still essentially great songs….and “Power Windows” contains “The Big Money”, “Manhattan Project”, “Grand Designs” and “Marathon”, all for my money top-notch Rush, and at least two of which still feature in their live set to this day.
    “Hold Your Fire” was released in 1987 and likewise, “Time Stand Still” was second-up in the set on the recent “Time Machine” tour, still sounding as fresh and as heartbreaking as it did on release.

    I’m not a great fan of the 80’s in terms of music, but every now and then true gems emerged. So to get this back to the original thread of underrated LP’s…how about Mr. Big’s excellent “Lean Into It”?

    • A.Y. Marsh says:

      Agree about ‘Power Windows’, in particular the four songs you mention, which are all outstanding – a pity side two doesn’t quite maintain the standard! ‘Time Stand Still’ is an excellent song as well, although I thought that ‘Hold Your Fire’ was, overall, one of their weakest albums. Things got a bit stale for Rush in the late 80s for me (notwithstanding the odd gem, like ‘The Pass’, which stands up with anything they’ve ever done). ‘Counterparts’ was an important album for them – it freshened things up sonically, and they rediscovered the virtues of being more direct; going for the jugular, as it were – and they’ve delivered some great stuff since then (although I must admit that ‘Vapor Trails’ doesn’t do a lot for me).
      Don’t know the Mr Big album, I’m afraid. Haven’t heard a lot of them.

    • David says:

      Ratt, Poison, Twisted Sister, Syn. Rush…thank Goodness for Purple’s ‘Perfect Strangers’.

  44. Jonathan Taylor says:

    Completely agree with everything except the remarks about “Vapor Trails”, which has become one of my favourite Rush albums (“Stars Look Down”, “Ghost Rider”, “One Little Victory”, “Secret Touch”…all absolute quality Rush imo).

  45. David says:

    Sorry, I’m a huge Canadian Rush fan…their `90s (Counter Parts) to present day live CD`s are awesome! In the 80`s , I was rocking to Dio, UFO, and Purple…who had time for keybooard (and no great guitar) Rush…luckily, they hired Peter Collins to produce their comeback.


  46. Jonathan Taylor says:

    Revisit “Vapor Trails”…I think it will prove rewarding. I have so may albums in the collection that didn’t initially spark a real enthusiasm but have repaid returning to them at a later date.

    • David says:

      Did you know that Neil Peart lost his daughter (car crash) and his wife (cancer)…So, hey…I like ‘Vapor Trails`…Ghost Rider is about his motorcycle journey from his home…he still rides to all his gigs.


      • David says:

        Oh, I forgot to mention Neil’s last album (with his daughter and wife) is ‘Test For Echo)…don’t forget about ‘Different Stages’ and the treasure from 1978’s show.

  47. A.Y. Marsh says:

    Just got the Edsel set with ‘Naked Thunder’, ‘Toolbox’ and ‘Cherkazoo’!

    • David says:

      Cool. (the first track on Toolbox ‘Hang Me Out To Dry`has Mountain`s Leslie West on it)…Gillan screams his way truogh that album…`Candy Horizon sounds like a Purple song. You`ll like Cherkazoo…it was recorded over years and was done for a never-was cartoon.


      P.S. `Naked Thunder`gets better near the end and with repeated listens

  48. Jonathan Taylor says:

    …and for an even better version of “Ain’t No More Cane On The Brazos” (Naked Thunder”) check out the Garth Rockett and the Moonshiners album, from Ian Gillan’s 1989 I’ve-been-chucked-out-of-Purple low-key gigs under the aforementioned monicker.
    I was lucky enough to catch one of these shows at the Bierkeller in Bristol, UK; sensational night, and at no point did Garth Rockett acknowledge that he was Ian Gillan! 🙂

    Not one of the great underrated albums, but worth investigating; Steve Morris, guitarist on “Toolbox” and in subsequent Gillan line-ups, is in the Moonshiners, as is Mark Stanway, keyboardist from Magnum and Phil Lynott’s Grand Slam.

    This is a great thread! 🙂

  49. Jonathan Taylor says:

    “House Of Blue Light” anyone? Err…no, thought not 🙂

  50. Jacob says:

    The House Of Blue Light is in my opinion much better than Perfect Strangers.
    Especially the sound stands the test of time, Blackmore certainly delivers,
    and isn’t it the last record where Paicey really plays like in the 70’s?
    Check out Mad Dog, Hard Lovin’ Man, The Spanish Archer, Strangeways & Dead Or Alive.

  51. Jonathan Taylor says:

    Contentious, I think…opinion always divides long-time fans on certain work, and I’m afraid I rarely play “HOBL” (“Spanish Archer” being the rare exception), as where “Pefrect Strangers” is often revisited.
    As to the playing…I don’t think Blackmore sounds particularly inspired, and I think that the reason Paice sounds “70’s” is that the material merely retreads a lot of Purple’s 70’s work, without ever bettering it.

    And returning to the original subject of this thread…I’ll take “Come Taste The Band” over “HOBL” every time! 🙂

  52. Jonathan Taylor says:

    “In The Absence Of Pink” can’t really be put up against “Nobody’s Perfect”, as the latter is a essentially (by Glover’s admission) a cut-and-paste job, stitching the best parts (guitar track, drum parts, vocals etc) from various versions of the songs and then blending in them in the studio to create the “perfect” version. As such I don’t really regard it as a live album in the true sense of the word, though purists would argue that Thin Lizzy’s wonderful “Live And Dangerous” is overdubbed and therefore is also suspect. Maybe only bootlegs are truly live recordings!

    And on a side note, it’s a real shame that “ITAOP” omits “Under The Gun”.

    I love this thread! 🙂

    • David says:

      Hmmm…which album does Blackmore like more?

    • David says:

      Hmmm…what about PAL?

      • Jonathan Taylor says:

        Hmmm…not quite sure where you’re going with this…are you referring to the Paice Ashton Lord live CD? As it was a TV/radio broadcast it’s good quality, and worth having, but I’d err on the side of the excellent “Malice In Wonderland”, one of my favourite Purple-offshoot records.

        And as an addendum to an earlier reply (Purple with Bolin bootlegs…I’d forgotten I have a late-70’s vinyl copy of “Wings Of A Russian Foxbat”, but that’s had an ‘official’ release a while ago….

      • David says:

        Sorry to mention PAL. I meant to say Snapshot and If Life Was Easy.

  53. Jonathan Taylor says:

    You’ll have to ask Blackmore (don’t forget to wear tights and a jerkin when you see him!)…though he did wear a pair of green wellies at Knebworth, so if he’s a style over substance guy he’d go for “Nobody’s Perfect”! 🙂
    Personally, I’m “ITAOP” every time…especially as I was there, soaked to the skin, muddy, but enjoying every second of having Purple back.

    • David says:

      Luckily for me, I saw Purple indoors during 1985…so inclimate weather didn`t matter (I didn`t hear the term Mudworth until I bought Knebwoth).

      Also luckily, I met Ian Gillan, Roger Glover and Ian Paice…would have loved to meet Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore (Steve Morse and Don Airey were very nice though).

      Oh, if Blacmores Night played Canada, I definitely go see them.

  54. A.Y. Marsh says:

    I must say, I’m a little envious of your Purple experiences from back in the day – my first Deep Purple concert was on the Purpendicular tour!

  55. Jonathan Taylor says:

    Just means I’m old…. 🙂

    • David says:

      Old? (always remember that we’re all on this rock for a brief good time) I meant to ask you if you have a “bootleg” with a live Bolin Purple gig?
      Let’s look-forward to their next album…they wrote in Spain.


      • Jonathan Taylor says:

        Alas no, I don’t have a boot with Bolin playing…only ever come across one (in Camden Market several years ago) and it was wretched quality, very poor audience recording.
        And the UK gigs were reportedly beset by problems, and booing of Bolin by the Blackmore die-hards, so they may best be avoided if they’re out there on bootleg….

      • David says:

        Speaking of ‘Bootlegs’ (I got rid-of the ones where it sounds like the mic was…) and not counting Simon’s ‘Sonic Zoom’ series, I totally like Satrianni’s Mark 6 one. Cheers.

        P.S. did anyone buy the ‘Phoenix Rising’ DVD (of Bolin’s Purple) or the CTTB 2 CD ?

      • Jonathan Taylor says:

        Yes, I got the 2CD “CTTB”…it had been eagerly waited in this house!
        It’s an excellent package; a lot of care has been taken in curating this project. Great to have the original album alongside the new remasters/remixes, so a valid comparison can be made. Kevin Shirley has reconfigured the sonic architecture of this record, and the re-ordering of the tracks makes perfect sense when you listen to the reconfigured album. And for those who love the original and it’s tracklisting, it’s there, unlike the recent “Teaser Deluxe” Tommy Bolin release; good, but lacking the concise nature of the original, and that, regrettably, isn’t part of the package. If this was your first experience of “Teaser”, I think you’d be a little disappointed and perhaps even feel that Bolin was self-indulgent; it doesn’t do him justice.

        I’d heartily recommend the 2CD re-issue of “CTTB”. New light through an old window.

  56. Julian says:

    Great article. I always thought that Purple sounded tired on WDWTWR and therefore not as good as the prior 3 efforts. It is hard to beat an album that has 4 of the what people would regard as the best DP songs around. CTTB had this energy and is certainly a step up from stormbringer and some of these songs sound great live. I would definately agree that Technical Ecstasy is a very underrated album. I listen that a lot but I do skip it’s alright. That is a bad one. No where near as good as Sabotage which I think is an underrated album. It’s heavier that SBS is actually better. But once an album fails to sell as much as it’s predasesor it is dismissed as poor. Enternal idol is a good example of this. That is a great record, probably the best that Tony Martin
    did. The Cult’s Ceremony and self titled album were great but yet underrated.

  57. David says:

    Cool. I just found-out that Sabbath are gonna release a new album with Ozzy…I hope they tour in Canada!

  58. A.Y. Marsh says:

    Yeah, looking forward to the Sabbath album. They’ll have to go some to better Heaven & Hell, though!

    • David says:

      Darn…Dio! Yes. Wern’t his Sabbath and Rainbow (& Dio) contributions awesome?

      • Jonathan Taylor says:

        Yes, they were. A great loss to Rock music. For my money, around ’83 to ’84, Dio were the best live rock band on the planet, and I will never forget Rainbow at Cardiff Capitol theatre in ’77, or the two shows in one night (long story!) that Sabbath played at Cardiff Sophia Gardens in ’80….great memories of three great bands, all at the top of their game.

  59. David says:

    You saw Rainbow ’77? I didn’t enjoy a Dio gig until the ‘Holy Diver’ tour.

  60. Jonathan Taylor says:

    I was very fortunate; In the late 70’s I was in college down the way from Cardiff, which at the time was still on the UK touring circuit, with venues like Cardiff Capitol (now long gone), the Top Rank, Cardiff University, and Sophia Gardens. So I got to see Wishbone Ash, Steve Hillage, Ted Nugent, Rory Gallagher, Be-Bop Deluxe, AC/DC, Mott, Peter Gabriel (1st solo tour), the Ramones, Ian Gillan Band, Frankie Miller, Whitesnake, Motorhead, etc etc…and £2.50 to see Rainbow…stalls, row 6, just left of centre… 🙂

    • David says:

      Did you evert see Priest and Scorpions?

      • Jonathan Taylor says:

        Yes, I saw Judas Priest in 1977 at Cardiff Top Rank (classic Priest for me, as they were still performing most of “Sad Wings Of Destiny”, still my favourite Priest record), but didn’t get to see the Scorpions until Knebworth ’85, the Purple comeback gig (DP’s set discussed earlier in this thread, released as “In The Absence Of Pink”). I did see the Scorpions indoors at Birmingham NEC in ’89, supported by Vixen.

  61. David says:

    The ‘The’ Scorpions has always bugged me…their albums just say ‘Scorpions’.

    • Jonathan Taylor says:

      Notice my small ‘t’ in ‘the Scorpions’…use of the Definite Article to identify the Noun “Scorpions”. Just grammar, not adding anything to the band’s name. Though I do feel that Life is too short to worry about putting a ‘the’ in front of a rock band’s name…there are greater issues to stess over, for example my bank account after my monthly album-buying….! 🙂

      • David says:

        Isn’t ‘life what happens while we’re busy making plans’? Anyway, isn’t it the Judas Priest?

      • Jonathan Taylor says:

        Used to hear late 60’s/early 70’s British Radio DJ’s often referring to “The Led Zeppelin” and “The Deep Purple”…come to think of it, that used to irritate me! 🙂

    • David says:

      Sorry to get distracted, Purple in London (Ontario) was awesome. Gillan is very nice and still sounds great!

  62. David says:

    Hi. Does anyone have a CD copy of the Javelins (Pur 311) that can be burned for me. I`m willing to pay the `going price`.


    • David says:

      Sorry, please forget that Javelins CD. Yes Marsh, Ian Gillan has been very nice to me (I met his ‘solo’ band (Mennona, Howard and MLJ et el.) met Purple…Roger Glover is very nice too.


      • David says:

        Mr. Marsh; should I be flattered about leaving my Purple comment regarding Gillan & Glover there for so long (I know everyone is on I know they`ve always toured the world and have been `nice`to many people.

        Cheers, David

  63. SS says:

    I saw the Burn tour at the Astrodome on August 10th(?) 1974. Elf and James Giles opened. It was packed and I was 10 years old. Thanks dad!

  64. D says:

    Don Airey on Judas Priest’s “Nostradamous’…which is K.K. Downing’s last record!!

  65. David says:

    Hi, just to let people know that there is a live version of ‘Hell To Pay’ in Germany.


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