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Youngstown Ohio3 for 1 Box Set
Published: 09 April, 2002
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Youngstown Ohio This is essential early DEEP PURPLE!

Prior to Deep Purple recruiting vocalist, Ian Gillan and bassist, Roger Glover, the band recorded these first three albums in 1968 and early 1969. This lineup of the band is more of a hard rock version of the Moody Blues. It's truly an embarrassment that these three albums are unacknowledged, because they're really impressive and really quite good, almost as strong as the "classic" lineup's material. In fact, some fans consider these albums the high water mark of the DP legacy. This box set featuring all three of the Evans/Simper-era albums at a steal of a price.

These are the MASTERED versions of the albums, the reason I say it that way is, I don't believe these were ever "mastered" in the first place. I've heard these albums on CD back in the late eighties and nineties and they sounded like semi-scratchy records. But, with these discs you get crisp and clear sound from the original two inch master tapes, with bonus tracks on each CD! These include outtakes, live recordings and BBC material. No fan of Deep Purple should be without these trinkets. Quite a steal!

Youngstown Ohio Three masterpieces united...

Before Deep Purple got Ian Gillan to be lead vocalist, the band featured a lesser-known vocalist named Rod Evans. The band recorded their first three albums with Evans at the helm. It's a shame his material tends to go unappreciated due to the vast successes of the Ian Gillan period, because it's just as good as the band's more popular/successful material. A box set has recently been released abroad that features the three Evans-era albums. Read on for my review of them.

The album kicks off with And The Address, an interesting little instrumental session. In this session, drums and the organ are the main instruments. Surprisingly, this works well. A good openng track. Hush was Deep Purple's first big hit (and only major hit NOT to feature Ian Gillan singing) was this, a cover of a Joe South song. Evans' vocals are top notch here, and the rest of the band plays well too. This song deserves all the credit it gets. One More Rainy Day is a bit more on the slow and melodic side than the last two tracks were. The vocals and the organ usage here are very nice. Prelude: Happiness I'm So Glad kicks off with an extended instrumental session in which the organ is the main instrument (similar to the album's opening track), and then it becomes a psychedelic rocker. Overall, a good track. Mandrake Root, a blues-based hard rocker. is the closest thing on the album to the metal sound that would make Deep Purple popular in the early seventies. ANOTHER excellent track, and a highly underrated one. Help is a cover of the Beatles song. However, Deep Purple slows things WAY down, and makes the song considerably more gloomy than the Fab Four's original (I feel Deep Purple's sound suits the depressing lyrics a little better, actually.) Once again, the organ is the main instrument. Love Help Me is my favorite track on the album. It's very interesting, because the sound is something like "Iron Butterfly meets Green Day". It's an interesting track that must be heard to be appreciated. Hey Joe is a cover of the Jimi Hendrix classic. However, Deep Purple has added an extended instrumental opening sequence, in which, you guessed it, the organ is the main instrument. Surprisingly, the main portion of the song isn't too far off from the original.

While the songs on the band's first album were excellent, they didn't really follow a particular theme. With this album, the same is true for the most part, but many of the songs have somewhat of a medieval theme to them (Ritchie Blackmore, the band's lead guitarist, was fascinated by this stuff. Unfortunately, it would eventually ruin his career, but I'm not going to get in to that here.) The band kicks things off with two excellent rockers that heavily emphasize the organ - Listen Learn Read On, and Wring That Neck. These tracks were excellent ways to kick off the album. The next two songs are covers - something the band did quite a few of when Rod Evans was at the helm. The first one is a cover of Neil Diamond's Kentucky Woman. The band speeds up the general pace of the song, and uses the organ a good deal, even adding an organ solo about two thirds of the way through. An alternative, edited version of this song was issued as a single (that version appears on Rhino's The Best Of Deep Purple.) The next song is a cover of the Beatles classic We Can Work It Out. The band did to this song exactly what they did to their Help! on their first album - they made it considerably longer and gloomier, especially in the chorus. The band even added a lengthy instrumental opening to the song, which they have entitled Exposition. Only Deep Purple could take a Beatles song, make it three times longer than the original, and keep the level of quality as high as the original one. Shield and Anthem, two of the band's most severely underrated songs, come next. It's a shame these songs never gained any major popularity, because they are just as good as anything that would come from the band's days with Ian Gillan. The lengthy River Deep Mountain High closes out the album. It's a gloomy and melodic rocker, which is mostly instrumental. The band managed to finish off the album with an excellent track that will leave a lasting impression on listeners.

For this album, the band doesn't do any of the medieval-style progression they experimented with on their previous album - this is a "back to basics" album for the group, once again featuring covers and unique compositions alike. As far as the songs covered go, the band picked some good ones to rework. Among these is a little tune called Lalena. If you read the liner notes, you'd see that the songwriting credit is to Leitch. For those of you who don't know, this is singer/songwriter Donovan Leitch (better known simply as Donovan.) The other covers are excellent as well, as are the band's own compositions. All in all we are left with an album that, while not quite as good as the other Evans albums in my opinion, is still excellent.

These are the remastered versions of the albums, so in addition to crisp, clear sound not found on earlier pressings of the albums, you also get five bonus tracks on each album! These include unreleased outtakes, live versions, BBC sessions, early takes, and various other types of songs. Unfortunately, these bonus tracks don't have the same sound quality as the actual albums. Oh well, they're still a great bonus.

Why bother hunting down all three of Deep Purple's Rod Evans albums when you can get them all at once in this convenient box set? With this set, you get all three of these amazing albums for the price of just two! No fan of classic hard rock should be without these gems.

Youngstown Ohio Great remastered DP, from the early years, in one package!

You can't get a better deal than this...the first 3 Deep Purple albums remastered, with additional rare music, making each cd over 65 minutes!Plus, superb liner notes.
This is the last word on DP's psychedelic beginings. Go no further. The music is awesome...and through these 3 albums the music fan can hear phases of the next 25+ years.
For me, this moment of DP's music ranks as the best! Unique "pop-psychedelic-heavy rock". When these albums were first issued I was 16yrs old. I remember when I first heard the name "DEEP PURPLE" back then...this is PURPLE of the deepest order.

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