“Chasing Shadows” is a powerful lead-off, featuring monster drums from Paice, and the by-now-trademark Lord/Blackmore one-two solo punch combination. Moreso than on either of the previous two records, Jon Lord’s presence is very prominent here. From the harpsichord sounds he evokes during “Blind” to his dominance of “Fault Line”/”The Painter,” the man is all over the place.
He is also responsible for yet another “WTF?” moment in the Deep Purple story, with the song “April.” Ok, “April” is actually credited to Blackmore/Lord, but who’s kidding who here? At 12 minutes, the cut is one of the longest studio tracks in the Deep Purple catalog. The listener is excused if it feels like the tune lasts 120 minutes. Basically, “April” is a bit of a rock song, with some typically superb Blackmore guitar, surrounded by all kinds of classical gas. If Concerto For Group And Orchestra is your thing, then you will probably dig “April.”
Besides the remastered editions of the original albums, Eagle’s reissues feature extensive liner notes, and a selection of outtakes and live material. Of these, the most notable are from the BBC Top Gear sessions. These live-in-the-studio takes are often superior to those that were immortalized on vinyl. Check out the versions of “Wring That Neck” and “Hey Joe,” in particular.
Deep Purple were signed to the small Tetragrammaton label in the U.S., which went out of business shortly after the release of Deep Purple. Consequently, the band's first three records remained out of print for years, and many people are unfamiliar with this first chapter in their history. Although they would go on to headline stadiums with a very different type of music, Deep Purple’s humble beginnings make for a fascinating study.