Cherry Red is bringing out the Hard Stuff. The label has just issued Hard Stuff: The Complete Purple Records Anthology for the British hard rockers, bringing together their only two albums and assorted bonus tracks to tell the story of the band’s time on Deep Purple’s own record label.
The seeds of Hard Stuff were planted by guitarist John DuCann and drummer Paul Hammond when both departed Atomic Rooster over the ever-popular “creative differences.” The duo attempted to keep the Atomic Rooster name, but when that didn’t pan out, they reinvented themselves as Daemon. The line-up was initially filled out by vocalist Harry Shaw, previously of Curiosity Shoppe. With the addition of bassist John Gustafson, whose varied bands encompassed pop and rock (The Big Three, The Merseybeats, and Quatermass), the group became known first as Bullet and then, finally, as Hard Stuff.
A single by Bullet, “Hobo” b/w “Sinister Minister,” arrived as Purple Records 101, but when the band became aware of the U.S. band of the same name (known for the top 30 chart entry “White Lies, Blue Eyes”), the change was made to Hard Stuff. The moniker was apt, too, particularly as DuCann (now going simply as John Cann) and Hammond had left Atomic Rooster when their bandmates resisted a more hard-edged direction. Both sides of the Bullet single are included here on Disc One.
Hard Stuff signed to Purple Records as the label’s first artists. The band’s debut album, Bulletproof, was by and large a re-recording of an abortive album by Daemon, The Entrance to Hell, which saw complete release in the CD era. Both sides of the Bullet single were included on Bulletproof. One track on the LP, “Monster in Paradise,” was credited to co-writers Gustafson and Deep Purple’s Roger Glover and Ian Gillan. The song dated back to Glover and Gillan’s time as members of Episode Six. When they left Episode Six to join Deep Purple, Episode Six drummer Mick Underwood founded Quatermass. (Roger Glover, quoted in Malcolm Dome’s liner notes for this anthology, doesn’t recall Gustafson having contributed to the song despite his credit for it.) Four tracks have vocals by Harry Shaw before he left the band; the remainder of the vocals were split between DuCann and Hammond. The single version of “Joy Time,” its B-side “The Orchestrator,” and an early mix of “Monster in Paradise” are all appended to the album on Disc One.
After the embryonic metal of Bulletproof, doubtlessly inspired by Deep Purple, the now-trio took their music in a funkier, looser and less progressive direction with 1973’s Bolex Dementia. Though the group’s musicianship was stronger than ever, an automobile accident which left DuCann and Hammond injured hastened the band’s break-up. The members went their separate ways shortly after the album’s release. The non-LP single “Inside Your Life” b/w “(It’s) How You Do It,” has been added to Disc Two of this collection.
A 16-page booklet features new liner notes by Malcolm Dome featuring quotes from John Gustafson and Roger Glover, while the discs have been mastered by Tony Dixon. Hard Stuff: The Purple Records Anthology is available at the links below from Purple Records and Cherry Red!
CD 1: Bulletproof (Purple TPSA 7505, 1972) and bonus tracks
- Jay Time
- Sinister Minister
- No Witch at All
- Taken Alive
- Time Gambler (Rodney)
- Monster in Paradise
- Mr. Longevity – RIP
- The Provider – Part One
- Hobo – Bullet (Purple single PUR 101-A, 1971)
- Sinister Minister – Bullet (Purple single PUR 101-A, 1971)
- Jay Time (Purple single PUR 103-A, 1972)
- The Orchestrator (Purple single PUR 103-B, 1972)
- Monster in Paradise (Early Mix)
CD 2: Bolex Dementia (Purple Records TPSA 7507, 1973) and bonus tracks
- Roll a Rocket
- Spider’s Web
- Get Lost
- Sick ‘N’ Tired
- Jumpin’ Thumpin’ (Ain’t That Somethin’)
- Dazzle Dizzy
- Bolex Dementia
- Inside Your Life (Purple single PUR 116-A, 1973)
- (It’s) How You Do It (Purple single PUR 116-B, 1973)