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Deep Purple

The Book Of Taliesyn

Review by Larry Toering

Deep Purple's second album was often the least critically acclaimed of the first three, perhaps rightfully so, perhaps not. Eagle re-issues are making it a question of quality at the very least, in order to better tell what's what all these years later. A little more description is in order for a few of these mkI sleepers, as they stand up very strongly with some of the stuff on the prior and subsequent mkI albums. This album took them a step into more progressive territory while still maintaining a pop sensibility that would soon go away for a while.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2011  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Listen, Learn, Read On

Things kick off the story with a title track of sorts which describes the pictures of the book with words and music. This is great stuff, a lot of which is mentioned according to pictures shown on the fantastic album cover. Jon Lord sounds awesome and I always loved the way the track fades away with a vicious guitar bite from Ritchie Blackmore.

Wring That Neck

The quintessential Deep Purple instrumental comes back to life here, and only the prior Rhino release compares to it.

Kentucky Woman

Even this track sounds much better like this, because even though it might seem to be one of the album's sellers, it's not a big fan seller. But here it has that little touch enough to push it back into place.

Exposition / We Can Work It Out (Medley)

This is great to hear remastered, What a treat it is, as they stomp through this instrumental passage into the Beatles classic. Blackmore and Lord start to really come alive at this point on the album. Along with Ian Paice they're showing more and more what they would go on to become.

Shield

Starting with its Indian theme with a cascading organ and narrative vocal, one of Purple's all time greatest numbers begins to build before Blackmore pulls off some great guitar fills, and Lord gallops away percussively on the organ. Out of that comes a superlative solo from Blackmore and Evans revealing the secret of the “Shield.” It all ends with more of that percussive galloping organ and some cow bell and bass.

Anthem

This is equally another of the all time greatest - a beautiful ballad with one of Rod Evan's best vocal performances. Complete with a violin solo, this too should be heard loud and clear.

River Deep, Mountain High 2000

Another remastered gem, this was done very well. I love hearing it this way. It has a modern vibe somehow, but then what else would be the point of a re-issue of a sound upgrade? I always thought this was a great closer as well, and it remains that here (at least in terms of the song proper).

Oh No No No (Studio Outtake)

This is one of the studio outtakes, and a bit of a thrown together tune. Still, anything to a Purple fan is good enough for jazz, and always better on official release like this.

It's All Over (BBC Top Gear Session)

The same goes for this, only from the BBC instead. It’s not bad either.

Hey Bop A Re Bop (BBC Top Gear Session)

Another of three previously unreleased tracks, this is a live recording from the BBC.

Wring That Neck (BBC Top Gear Session)

The final BBC track is this version of the album number, another good one.

Playground (Remixed Instrumental Studio Outtake)

Back to another album outtake, this one is given the remixed treatment.

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