"Deep Purple's" self-titled third album was released on June 21, 1969.
This is the band's last album in its first lineup also known as MKI, which included lead singer Rod Evans and bassist Nick Simper, who will later be fired from the band in favor of a different sound and style change.
The musical style of the album ranges from progressive rock and psychedelia to heavy rock and classical music, with the general trend being beyond a heavier sound and greater presence of guitar roles, than on the previous two albums. The change in sound was mainly due to the increasing involvement of guitarist Ritchie Blackmore in the writing process.
At the end of 1968, the band went on tour in the United States to promote their second album, "The Book of Taliesyn". The band returned to England on January 3, 1969, and immediately began working on material for their third album, But the materials the band worked with were far too complex to serve as a 3-minute "hit".
To satisfy the record company, the band entered the studio on January 7 and recorded the song "Emmaretta", which was written about Emmaretta Marks who was part of the show "Hair" and which Evans met during the US tour. The song was released as a single in February 1969. The song did not match the style and spirit of the emerging album, so it remained as a single and was not included in the album. During those sessions, the band also recorded the heavier and more experimental "The Bird Has Flown" and this song will find its way to the album.
After letting the record company what it wanted with the single "Emmaretta", the band was free to continue writing the material for the third album. The band's management managed to arrange a window for the recordings during February and March of 1969. The pressure on the band was heavy. It was the third album in less than 18 months of activity, while during the writing of the materials and recordings, the band had to go on tours.
Despite this pressure and the short time they had left to write and make the recordings, the band managed to write 7 new tracks, more than the number of original tracks the band put into each of their two previous albums. The pressure positively acted on the band members apparently, because the original materials they managed to produce were not only more in terms of quantity but certainly also in terms of quality.
(Photo: John Minihan)
"Blind" was written by Jon Lord about one of his nightmares. Lord's harpsichord playing in this song is no less wonderful.
Immediately after that comes the ballad "Lalena" - the only non-original song on the album, written by Donovan. The band gave the song its own interpretation with drumming on the edge of swing and a somewhat jazzy playing by Lord with one of his beautiful and melodic solos. The song will of course become a familiar "hit" of the band, here in Israel as well.
The short instrumental piece "Fault Line" was influenced by the earthquakes the band experienced in Los Angeles during their last tour there, and it features a psychedelic and interesting effect in the form of a backward recording of Ian Paice's drum moves.
"The Painter" is a classic 12-box blues, written by the band to satisfy the growing demand of British audiences for blues-rock-based pieces. The song was recorded in a live studio without any editing and features a powerful and beautiful "electrifying" bluesy guitar solo.
It is worth mentioning, that until the time of recording the album, Ritchie Blackmore used a Gibson guitar, during the recordings Blackmore gradually switched to a Fender Stratocaster guitar, which was used by the guitarists he admired. This guitar will become Blackmore's hallmark during the band's heyday and beyond, and in fact to this day. By the way, according to various sources, Blackmore bought his first Stratocaster guitar from Eric Clapton, but it was an engineered version of the Stratocaster that made it difficult for Blackmore to play, because it's neck was a Fender Telecaster guitar, with a Stratocaster body and pickups.
Opens the other side of the vinyl is another blues-rock track "Why Didn't Rosemary?", Which was influenced by Roman Polanski's classic film starring Mia Farrow "Rosemary's Baby", and which the band members watched together at the cinema. The band admitted that the song was influenced by American blues artist Otis Spann. Although this is a blues song, it is not a blues in the classical structure as in the previous song, as it includes 14 bars in the verses and 17 bars during Blackmore's guitar solo.
Then comes the wonderful 12-minute piece "April". This is the longest track to be included on the band's studio album, written primarily by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore about the month he was born in. The piece consists of 3 parts with the main part being an instrumental in the style of classical music composed by Jon Lord and performed by a classical orchestra. The first piece is played exclusively by Lord and Blackmore, with Ritchie Blackmore playing guitars, acoustic and electric, and Jon Lord on organ and piano. The second section is, as mentioned, the orchestrated and classical section composed by Lord and includes, among other things, the use of instruments, flute, clarinet, and strings. The third and final section also includes singing by Rod Evans. The band wrote on the album cover that they "hope the April piece will convey a message of reliving personal memories from a beautiful but sad (for us) month".
The album did not receive satisfactory sales at the time of its release, partly due to the criticism that the album's cover drew. The cover is an excerpt from a 15th-century painting "The Garden of Earthly Delights" by the German-Dutch artist Hieronymus Bosch. The painting, which shows what hell looks like, was perceived by the American public as an anti-religious and immoral painting, which also includes nude figures. It is interesting to note that the same painting, only in its colorful version, adorned the cover of the album "One Nation Underground" of The psychedelic folk band "Pearls Before Swine" two years earlier, but in that case, the cover was not criticized at all. By the way, the fact that Deep Purple's album has a black and white version of the painting is not intentional and accidentally originated. The sharp-eyed among you will surely notice that the band's miniature figures was inserted Into Bush's painting.
This album is actually the "Swan Song" of the band MKI's lineup. After the album's release, the band went on a US tour, during which keyboardist Jon Lord guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and drummer Ian Paice met to discuss the band's future. The three unanimously expressed a desire to make a significant change in the band's musical direction. It was clear to the three of them that singer Rod Evans and bassist Nick Simper would not fit the new style the band is going in, so it was decided to replace them. As we know, in June 1969 (the month of the album we are reviewing was out). Ian Gillan and Roger Glover were chosen to replace Simper and Evans, but at this point, their identity was still kept secret as well as the intention to fire them.
As already written in the pages of the history of rock, the said change in the band's composition and style, will soon lead it to worldwide success and the writing of tremendous works that will form one of the pillars of the hard rock and metal genre.