There’s rarely a lull in activity for the catalogue of Deep Purple, one of the most enduring bands to emerge from the British hard and progressive rock scenes of the late 1960s. Cherry Red’s Hear No Evil Records imprint has recently continued its reissue series for Deep Purple’s 1990s catalogue with an expanded edition of 1996’s Purpendicular [sic], chronologically following Slaves and Masters (1990) and The Battle Rages On… (1993).
Hear No Evil’s raison d’être for this reissue is simple. Malcolm Dome lays out the case in his new liner notes: “It’s odd how much of Deep Purple’s recorded output has been ignored. In fact, anything that came out between 1970 and 1974 is applauded. The rest is criticized – or even worse – just plain ignored…and 1996’s Purpendicular is certainly one album that deserves more attention and acclaim.”
With Ritchie Blackmore having departed Purple in 1993 during the tour for The Battle Rages On, Deep Purple was faced with a gaping hole when it came time to return to the studio. Ace shredder Joe Satriani had stepped in for Blackmore on tour, and even signed on for another tour with Purple. But Satriani’s own obligations prevented him from recording with the group, and so Steve Morse of Kansas and Dixie Dregs was enlisted. The new Deep Purple Mk. VII line-up of Morse, Roger Glover (bass), Ian Gillan (vocals), Jon Lord (keyboards) and Ian Paice (drums) proved a felicitous one, and remained in place until 2002 when Lord departed to go solo. Purpendicular was an auspicious debut for the line-up.
All five members were credited with the album’s twelve original songs. Dome quotes Roger Glover: “There was a great feeling, great vibe in the band, so we did all those tunes in the first few weeks.” Glover added that the album felt like an artistic rebirth after the band’s final days with Blackmore had turned sour: “I’m playing, probably for the first time in my life, like a bass player. I feel like a bass player. Before, I always felt there was no control of what I did. What I did had to sort of fit, and there was always this struggle to find a space where I could work. Now, I have all the space in the world. Anything can happen.”
Deep Purple settled at Greg Rike Productions’ studio in Orlando, Florida to record Purpendicular, with the band taking production credit. Morse’s effect on the band was heard immediately on the album’s first track, “Vavoom: Ted the Mechanic.” The new guitarist employed the technique of pinch harmonics in which the player’s thumb or index finger on the picking hand slightly catches the string after it is picked thereby canceling the fundamental frequency of the string, and letting one of the harmonics dominate, often resulting in an unusual, high-pitched squeal. Morse’s bandmates were so impressed with his creative sounds that “Vavoom” entered the band’s live set also as its opening number.
After the jump: what extras will you find here? Plus: the full track listing and order links!
Though Purpendicular creatively energized Messrs. Glover, Lord, Gillan and Paice, and was their first album in nearly three years, it wasn’t met with significant appreciation upon its release in early 1996. It became Deep Purple’s first album not to make the American charts, and was the band’s lowest-charting album in Britain since the late sixties’ pre-In Rock LPs. The Japanese release of the album contained the bonus track “Don’t Hold Your Breath,” which has been reprised on Hear No Evil’s new edition. It’s joined by the single edit of “Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming” which appeared on a CD maxi-single.
The Mk. VII group released one more album, 1998’s Abandon, which became Jon Lord’s final album with the band. Perhaps it shall follow in Hear No Evil’s series. In the meantime, the expanded Purpendicular – as remastered by Andy Pearce and nicely packaged in a digipak with a 16-page booklet – is available now at the link below!
- Vavoom: Ted the Mechanic
- Loosen My Strings
- Soon Forgotten
- Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming
- Cascades: I’m Not Your Lover
- The Aviator
- Rosa’s Cantina
- A Castle Full of Rascals
- A Touch Away
- Hey Cisco
- Somebody Stole My Guitar
- The Purpendicular Waltz
- Don’t Hold Your Breath (from Purpendicular, BMG Japan BVCP-913, 1996)
- Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming (Single Edit) (from RCA single 74321338012)