Deep Purple • BBC Sessions 68-70 CD / LP
(The) BBC sessions arrived yesterday – what a GREAT set. I had deliberately removed my own bodged together versions from my MP3 player last year in anticipation…! What surprised me was NOT the wonderful inclusion of unreleased versions, but the way the set works as a standalone package. I’d enjoyed the extras on the MK1 CD issues, but in this collection they just seem to belong together, and make for an exciting and rewarding listen from start to finish. I would have sworn that I’d never heard the version of ‘Wring that neck’ (even though it was on the Taliesyn reissue), it sounds so powerful and full on, utterly superb – I wondered if they NEVER broadcast the end of the song, as Blackmore goes so far out of tune that if he played the outro it would have been appalling! Having the excellent notes on the sessions themselves is a masterstroke, and leaves you yearning for some retired sound engineer to step forward with the reels that he’s had in his potting shed since 1970, to plug those missing gaps (sounds ridiculous? it’s unimaginable that anyone could sit on a complete personally filmed video of Hendrix at Woodstock for over 30 years without realising the importance of it, but they did!). It’s funny that the sound of (most of) the MK1 disc is so much more bassy than MK2 – you can’t miss Nick Simpers rock and roll basslines, whereas Roger is very much the underpinning on the second set. A final thought on the music – it’s strange that they clearly forgot to put a mute mesh over the microphone for Child in Time – it’s so ‘sibillanty’, maybe they couldn’t get the levels right in the run through when IG started screaming, so they got rid of it…
Well this is absolutely the first time that I get a DP set just after release. It´s really nice to see all of these songs packaged and arranged properly in the usually fantastic way that the Darker Than Blue boys have offered us in the past and now Deep Purple´s BBC sessions can match the ones of Hendrix, The Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and other acts of the time.
Enough has been said about DP Mk I: they vary from super heavy (with Blackers in great form throughout this whole set) as in Help, Hey Joe and the Painter, to a poppy 60´s band as in the track One More Rainy Day. The highlight of Mk I´s set is actually the interesting evolution of the track The Painter, since the Mk I (studio) remasters had little extra material. Sound quality varies a lot for the first part of this set.
Then we get into MK II´s set and there we step into a completely different world. The sound is much better, and the band by 1970 had already become a tight, heavy and powerful rockin’ machine. My favorite tracks are Bloodsucker and Living Wreck.
A shame that there are still some missing sessions, but waiting for them to magically appear would have meant that this beautiful set would have had to wait still for a long time.
The set can be purchased as a 2CD release, or the big expensive box set, from DTB Online.