A rare official archive recording from Deep Purple Mk 1’s USA debut
Hip new American label Tetragrammaton (who signed John and Yoko, Tiny
Tim and Deep Purple within months of setting up shop) pulled out all
the stops to secure Deep Purple a prestigious U.S. live debut in
October 1968, opening for Cream on their farewell tour of America at
the Forum in Inglewood, Los Angeles, California.
Amazingly, many years later, a reel of tape, thrown out when the
label closed, was spotted and rescued by a fan. So little evidence of
Mk 1’s live act remains that this tape - the only surviving recording
of the first incarnation of Deep Purple on stage - is of great
interest, with the band exhibiting a brash confidence in front of
16,000 Cream fans.
As a support act, Deep Purple’s set was a little
shorter than normal but despite the passing of over forty years, it’s
still an exciting experience.
Hush is taken much as the album and gives the audience something
familiar to latch on to. The band run straight into Kentucky Woman -
their second U.S. single - before hammering into the heavy opening
section of Mandrake Root as Lord and Paice settle down for a lengthy
instrumental passage. Their cover of The Beatles’ Help makes a good contrast, with some
gentle picking from Blackmore, before a lively version of Mandrake
Root. Blackmore does indeed seem to be more at home here, with some
jazzy work as he attempts to play a different run on almost every bar.
Singer Rod Evans returns to introduce the next number, with the 2001
film theme grafted on to River Deep, Mountain High (come on, this was
the sixties!), much heavier than the edited version they later issued
as a single.
The one hour set ends with their take on Hey Joe.
After these first few shows Deep Purple lost the Cream support gig,
nobody is quite sure why. Were Eric Clapton, Jack Bruce and Ginger
Baker worried by the competition?
The sound - taken from an original Sony 1” open reel - isn’t too bad
at all once you get used to the ambience, with just a little
distortion in the second number and someone in the audience heard
near the microphone at one or two quiet moments. The label had direct
access to the original tape, so needless to say it has been
remastered and restored as much as is possible, so this CD is far
superior to any bootleg version but the cover does carry a warning
about the quality.
It was first released officially in 2002 by Sonic Zoom (PUR 205
digipak) but has been long out of print. Due to many requests it has
now been added to the immensely popular Official Archive Collection,
with a new cover, and a 12 page booklet.
think by now most avid Deep Purple fans will be aware of the existence
of this tape, many too will have picked up the bootleg cd 'Inglewood
10.18.68' to see exactly what Mk I sounded like and how well (or
otherwise) Simper and Evans fitted in.
Hush heralds the entry of the band, very close to the album
version but performed with some vigour and energy, the sound really
benefiting from the clean-up afforded to the release. Kentucky
Woman is vocally overloaded, Rod Evans struggling to hit the
chorus at the end, though the song is well received by the audience.
The applause is cut short as the band plow headlong into a slightly
discordant Mandrake Root. Rod certainly sounds well out
of place with his crooning voice. Definitely odd after years of
living with Gillan's powerful assault. It's extended from the
studio cut, though still nowhere near the lengthy excesses of
the MkII versions. The track in itself forms an interesting work
in progress document, with some close similarities already there
with the sections which eventually found their way into Space
is musically tight and energetic though it does again suffer vocally.
This is more than counterbalanced by the instrumental assault,
Jon letting fly in the middle followed by a pretty truly awful
solo by Blackers. The track sounds less tentative than on 'Shades.....',
taken faster it is again well received by the crowd who are again
cut short in their appreciation by an initially somewhat perfunctory
run through of Wring That Neck. Blackers really begins
to let fly here, bending the strings all over the place and keeping
everything just the right side of total chaos. Paicey is, as ever,
the stalwart. This guy has been so consistantly blowing away every
other drummer for aeons, and his physical abuse of the drum kit
in `68 is still no less restrained these days. Here, though, he
drives everything along, holding together the tentative approaches
of Ritchie, Jon and Nicky to draw things tighter.
Deep, Mountain High musically sticks fairly closely to the
original. It includes the 2001 theme, though with a distinctly
harder edge, lending more weight and leaning further away from
the poppier sound of the Book Of Taliesyn original . Rounding
the set off is Hey Joe, again it's all there musically,
though the sound is a bit thin. Rod really seems out of place
here, his chicken in a basket style not gelling at all with the
rest of the band.
then, a great artefact and a crucial piece of the live jigsaw.
Not a classic Purple performance by any stretch of the imagination,
but a unique insight (so far) into the abilities of the band at
this stage of it's development."
title is available to order from the dpas
records / sonic zoom catalogue