Monday, January 26, 2009

Album: Deepest Purple

Sweet child in time you'll see the line
The line that's drawn between good and bad
See the blind man shooting at the world
Bullets flying, taking toll
If you've been bad, lord I bet you have
And you've not been hit by flying lead
You'd better close your eyes
Bow your head
Wait for the ricochet

That's all the lyrics for a song that runs 10 minutes long, and that's on the studio album version. I have a record with a live version, I think, but I'm not going to dig it out to see how long it is. Most of the song is really instrumental, much of it featuring the organ work of one of my favorite rock keyboardists: Jon Lord of Deep Purple.

Deep Purple has been one of my favorite groups for a long time; about as long as I've been listening to rock music. I didn't grow up listening to rock at all. I listened to what my parents listened to, which means I grew up listening to country and just about nothing else. When I received my very own clock radio as a teenager I began to listen to other things, but it still took me a while to branch out into other genres.

My first-year college room-mate had a battered old record of Deep Purple In Rock that I listened to several times, and when I decided to start getting further into them, I bought Deepest Purple: The Very Best of Deep Purple since it was a "best of" compilation and I thought it would make a good starting point. Being a wanna-be keyboardist myself back then, I also studied it, rather than simply listening to it. "Child in Time" remains one of my FRAG songs. FRAG is a category I made up for myself which stands for Favorite Regardless of Artist or Genre. Another FRAG song of theirs is "Lazy," from 1972's Machine Head.

I have only two DP CDs: Deep Purple from 1969 and Perfect Strangers from 1984. I also have several records and had one double-album tape that I wore out. This tape that I recently converted to mp3 is a record that I dubbed onto tape years ago. It's one of those tapes that make me wonder why I could buy blank tapes and make a copy tape that sounded better and lasted longer than a "professionally-made" tape that I bought in a store. My record of In Rock is a picture disk, which I believe is at least slightly "collectible." That is, today it may actually be worth more than I paid for it.

[By the way, I have a picture disk of Sgt. Pepper's which, according to a website I checked a few years ago, is worth several times what I paid for it. But it cost me only three dollars at a Wal-Mart in Abilene.]

Back in the halcyon days when I built my own (quite impressive, if I say so myself) surround-sound stereo system component by component, my DP collection got a lot of work. I often went to sleep with DP on the stereo, sometimes lying on my back wearing headphones as I drifted away. I'm sure their music is not what most people would think of to put on while going to sleep, but many times the last thing I heard before I lost consciousness was one of Jon Lord's organ passages. A lot of lousy hard rock came out of the 70s that hasn't withstood the passage of time very well, in my opinion. But anyone looking to do so frivolous a thing as make a study of the best of 70s-era hard rock would do well to pay close attention to the music of Deep Purple.

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