Review Summary: With Burn, Deep Purple did more than just revitalize themselves.Deep Purple: A Retrospective
Episode IX: Burn
In the wake of Who Do We Think We Are!
, Deep Purple was left shattered. An unfortunate fate had befallen Mark II, and with Glover’s forced resignation and Gillan’s leaving, the three original members Blackmore, Lord and Paice were left with a choice of grave difficulty: could they continue to achieve the heights they achieved before, or would Deep Purple cease to exist?
After countless sketching of numerous scenarios, one of which suggested that Blackmore would go on to collaborate with Thin Lizzy
’s Phil Lynott, the three remnants chose to seek out new members to reform a Deep Purple crew. Soon enough, they encountered bassist and vocalist Glenn Hughes, whilst attending a gig of his then-current band, Trapeze
. Affected by his stage presence and charisma, they offered him the position on the band, which he eventually accepted.
But then another dilemma was met. Deep Purple had always been a five-piece, and since Hughes was used to handling two positions, would they now become four-manned? The boys then made a very interesting decision: they went on a search for a second vocalist, preferably one with a more masculine voice than Gillan, whom Blackmore had gotten annoyed with at that point.
They happened to stumble across the young and uncertain David Coverdale, who nevertheless impressed the trio by his deeply blues-rooted vocal chords. After an audition, the band was sure about him, and about one other thing: Mark III was born, and Deep Purple was ready to take rock by storm once more.
Deep Purple Mk. III was:
- David Coverdale ~ Lead Vocals
- Richard Hugh Blackmore ~ Lead Guitar
- Glenn Hughes ~ Bass Guitar, Vocals
- Jon Douglas Lord ~ Keyboards
- Ian Anderson Pace ~ Drums
appeared in ’74, and it was another tremendous success for the band. The new line-up sounded fresh and vibrant, and came with some very strong material whilst keeping the classic core of Deep Purple’s sound intact. Although Coverdale sang the majority of the record, the band’s attention for Hughes’ voice had not been forgotten, and so it came to be that the two would do both harmonisations and trade-offs in the singing department, a very original approach at the time.
But that was not all that changed. Coverdale’s and Hughes’ backgrounds were different that those of the original members, and with them they brought a solid dose of blues and funk, respectively. This was vital for a change in sound for the album, and became an even stronger influence for the next, Stormbringer
And hell, that new approach worked miracles. Burn
is filled to the brim with catchy, impressive tracks with lasting greatness. The opener title track charges in with a force so magnificent it even rivals Highway Star
charges with full assault, and already the two newlings amaze us with a vocal harmonisation bar none, which drives the track more than anything else. Hughes’ outstanding bass lines are incredibly funky, Blackmore’s and Lord’s solos tackle each other with sheer intensity, and Pace sticks out a trademark fierce percussion. After you’ve heard it, you know the rest of the lot cannot go wrong anyhow.
And be sure, for it does not. Each moment on Burn
is unique, all being enjoyable in their own right. The second best moment arrives only at the end, in no form other than the impeccable blues epic Mistreated
, undoubtedly inspired by Led Zeppelin
’s Since I’ve Been Loving You
. If I were to write a summary of the song in a colloquial manner, it would be something like: 'Dave’s best vocals evur + one of Ritchie’s finest solos = massive amounts of win'. Too bad what follows (and closes) is the only doubtful moment on the entire record: the somewhat boring instrumental ‘A’ 200
. Another of the more bluesy moments can be found on the catchy What’s Going on Here
, in which we hear Blackmore playing old-school Mark II-style.
On the magnificent and heavily funk-infused Sail Away
, Coverdale sings in a lower register, a move he was initially unsure about, but lucky for him: damn, it sounds fantastic. And where the title track shows the best use of harmonisation between his and Hughes’ voice, this one shows perfectly performed trade-off lines.
Even Ian Pace gets a taste of teh funk, as he so properly demonstrates with the superb You Fool No One
, which’ percussion has the inescapable effect of you wanting to repeat the his rhythms. Perhaps the two least standout tracks on Burn
are the organ-heavy Might Just Take Your Life
and Lay Down, Stay Down
, but also in those nothing about the musicianship is somehow lacking, making them no less excellent than the other material.
is, apart from a tiny but forgivable misstep, rock-solid, and one of the finest albums Deep Purple has ever created, and certainly their best outside of Mark II. It contains an explosive mix of rock, blues and funk, and doesn’t forget to be very catchy in the meantime either. As blasphemous as it may sound, it could even be slightly better than Machine Head
, which’ production, must be honestly stated, falls dull in comparison, not even mentioning many of its tracks would benefit from massive improvement on the classic Made in Japan
is Deep Purple’s last superb recording, and does what the band has always has done best: it provides kick-ass rock n’ roll.
You Fool No One