DPAS CD REVIEW
original Purple Records has often been wrongly perceived as being
purely a vanity label set up by Deep Purple at the height of their
success. In fact it released some excellent quality music by artists
who most certainly deserved to reach a wider audience. What happened
instead was that for one reason or another the records did not
sell particularly well at the time, and over the years only had
a curiosity value largely due to the famous purple label with
the white 'P' in the middle. The re-release of the 1973 'Purple
People' sampler album should hopefully redress that situation,
and put the music deservedly back centre stage.
not usually a track to kick off a set, 'Smoke On The Water'
is an effective curtain raiser. By the time of 'Purple People's
release it had already reached full classic status. Although the
version here is the regular studio one from the collection's original
master-tape, it does sound noticeably different to the
digitally remastered 'Machine Head' CD take, exhibiting a warmer
sound with what feels like increased stereo separation. I certainly
heard it with new ears, which I didn't expect. Purple's other
contribution 'When A Blind Man Cries' also gains an indefinable
richness of sound, with the Hammond backing coming over particularly
the two Deep Purple tracks out of context also presents them with
a different slant - as products of the one label, alongside their
fellow artists. 'Purple People' is about all of the music contained
within, and on that score alone it is an unexpected winner.
can't be the only one not to have anticipated this album with
unreserved enthusiasm; more with a collector's curiosity to pick
up a few obscurities in pristine condition. But it has proved
to be a revelation, opening up plenty of new avenues to explore.
from Deep Purple's members both past and present, Tony Ashton
is one of the musicians most closely associated with them. He
wrote and recorded the excellent 'Last Rebel' soundtrack alongside
Jon Lord in 1971, they then went on to record a joint solo project
which emerged as 'First Of The Big Bands' in 1974. The single
'Celebration' was a taster (credited to Tony alone), released
in late 1972. It's in the same vein as 'The Last Rebel', with
a folky, Civil War / Western theme, steel guitars and all. Pleasant,
yet unexceptional. Its B-side 'Sloeback' (making its first
appearance on CD) is much catchier, with a very Ashton bouncy
bar-room piano riff, and Jon Lord's underlying Hammond sweeping
it along. Ashton also appears on 'Gemini Suite Vocals',
an excerpt from the studio version of Lord's Concerto follow-up,
a recording which most of his Deep Purple bandmates opted out
of. On the Windows live take Ashton was helped out by David Coverdale
and Glenn Hughes, here he's joined by Purple Records' Yvonne Elliman.
I'm not over-keen on the music in the vocal section, but it's
interesting to compare the finished lyrics with Gillan's. Purple
Records hope to work with Jon Lord on reissuing the studio 'Gemini
Suite' as soon as Jon's time permits.
Elliman has three tracks on the 'Purple People' CD, all from her
'Food Of Love' album, and all uniformly superb. The single 'I
Can't Explain' is a rousing version of The Who classic, with
Pete Townshend providing the meaty guitar work. It's B-side 'Hawaii'
is quite simply one of the most beautiful songs that I've ever
heard. It's an impassioned piece written by Elliman about her
native islands, further lifted by the excellent musical backing
of musicians such as John Gustafson and Peter Robinson (both ex-
Episode Six and Quatermass), Procol Harum guitarist Mick Grabham,
and ex-King Crimson drummer Michael Giles. All also contribute
significantly to the tremendous pocket symphony 'Love's Bringing
Hine wrote a significant proportion of Yvonne Elliman's album,
as well as producing it. A quirky singer / songwriter, exploding
with ideas, he was brought into the Purple Records fold by Roger
Glover. His non-album single 'Hamburgers' from 1972 gets
its first CD release here. It's odd but catchy, apparently based
on a jingle for a Rum ad (between 1972-75 Hine wrote and recorded
music for around 40 advertising commercials). The song is smartly
driven along by Deep Purple's rhythm section of Ian Paice on drums
and Roger Glover on bass & backing vocals. There's more Rupert
among the CD's bonus tracks. 'The Monk' is a previously
unreleased piece of fluff credited to Hine and David Mac Iver.
He was also behind 'Who Is The Doctor', a popped up version
of the TV classic's groundbreaking BBC Radiophonic Workshop theme.
Dr.Who himself, Jon Pertwee, was brought in to intone over the
top. It wasn't a hit, but believe me, much weirder stuff at the
of the overriding feelings of listening to this collection is
bewilderment at how none of the single tracks (excepting 'Smoke
On The Water') managed to take off. This is especially true of
Silverhead's 'Rolling with My Baby', produced in 1972 by
Ian Paice. Silverhead skirted around the heavier periphery of
the glam rock scene, sounding rather like a cross between Aerosmith
and Canned Heat with Johnny Rotten vocals. Once you get used to
the sound, 'Rolling With My Baby' is an undeniable classic, surely
they were only an appearance on Top Of The Pops away from the
piece rock outfit Hard Stuff contained proven hitmakers John Cann
and Paul Hammond, fresh from the classic line-up of Atomic Rooster.
Together with John Gustafson they produced imaginative and highly
enjoyable rock music, racking up three singles and two albums
for Purple Records before a car crash injured Cann and Hammond,
bringing the band to a premature close. They had begun two years
earlier, supporting Deep Purple's UK Fireball tour. 'Monster
In Paradise' appears here as an early rough mix, though I'm
hard pushed to spot any real difference from the original. The
song already had quite a history by that point. It was written
by Ian Gillan and Roger Glover in Episode Six days (a live version
appears on 'Cornflakes and Crazyfoam') and was carried forward
by Gustafson into Quatermass, who also performed the track live.
The Hard Stuff version is uncompromising if a bit messy, and makes
an interesting comparison with Glover and Gillan's demo for the
Cher Kazoo project. Hard Stuff's original contribution to 'Purple
People' was the marvelously tight, off-centre funk rock of 'Libel',
the type of simple yet effective nugget that Gustafson was so
adept at writing.
Records certainly lived up to their slogan 'The Open Ear'. Tucky
Buzzard were a British band produced by The Stones' Bill Wyman.
Their single 'Gold Medallions' is good stuff, assured and
swaggering, with a great Jaggeresque vocal delivery. By contrast
ex-Neil Diamond guitarist Carol Hunter's 45 sounds a tad lame.
Her fluid slide guitar work embellishes the Little Feat / gospel
styled 'Look Out Cleveland', but her vocals are sadly not
up to the same level. Guitarist Buddy Bohn's 'Vermouth Rondo'
instrumental, complete with orchestral backing, is simply a beauty.
Buddy's music was some of the very strongest on the Purple label.
Ian Paice produced Bunter's unreleased 'Looking Back', a
sixties flavoured slice of psych pop which just doesn't seem to
fit in on 'Purple People', even with the wide variety of music
Curtiss Maldoon are best remembered for two reasons, firstly that
bassist / singer Dave Curtiss auditioned for Deep Purple Mk 1,
and secondly that their song 'Sepheryn' gave Madonna a huge hit
in 1998 when retitled 'Ray Of Light'. The.dreamy 'Clouds In
My Hair' and 'Man From Afghanistan' are spliffing good
stuff, and their one album, available on Purple Records CD, is
full of good quality music. It's hard not to try and imagine what
Madonna and William Orbit could do with some of their other material.
eclecticism of the music which I've been banging on about is one
thing, but it's the overall quality of 'Purple People' that really
surprises and delights. Part of the surprise is the sheer amount
of extra-curricular musical activity that Deep Purple Mk 2 still
managed to emerse themselves in during frantically busy years
such as 1971, 72 & 73. All of this means that as far as I'm
concerned 'Purple Purple' sits right alongside Mk 2's catalogue,
adding an extra dimension to their most successful and productive
years. In fact their story now seems incomplete without it.
People' is available to buy from the
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