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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Deep Purple

Burn 30th Anniversary Remaster

Review by Bruce Stringer

With the departure of vocalist Ian Gillan and bass player Roger Glover, the remaining members of Deep Purple enlisted the talents of Trapeze vocalist/ bassist Glenn Hughes to fill part of the void, however the role of vocalist continued to elude them. The year was 1973 and, amid rumours of Free's Paul Rodgers joining the outfit, a demo recording of the then unknown David Coverdale appeared and that - as they say - is history. With a more structured sound, "Burn" hit the shelves in February 1974 and launched Deep Purple Mark III into the market with the 'amazingly Purple' title track, the haunting "Mistreated" and the new single, "Might Just Take Your Life". This was the first of only two studio albums recorded by this lineup before guitarist Ritchie Blackmore departed to form Rainbow (and ill-fated guitar hero Tommy Bolin entered the band for its swan song release of the era, "Come Taste the Band").

Fast-forward 30 years. Glenn Hughes recently attended sessions to remaster the classic "Burn" and with some special remixes, a rare B-side and some tasty remastering, "Burn" sounds as energetic as ever and will hopefully bring new interest in the Deep Purple Mark III lineup. The success of much of the material on this album depended so much on the foundation of the great Purple rhythm section, the amazing soloist that is Ritchie and the invigorating energy that Glenn Hughes has brought to the sound. David Coverdale is very convincing in his role of the iconic rock singer (- just see the California Jam concert for that one), and never attempts to be a Gillan clone - also an element in the band's favour.

Apparently there were some demo tapes from the original "Burn" sessions however the quality was deemed unfit for release. A pity, given that it would have been interesting nonetheless even as a bonus to the remixes. Apart from there being only selected songs remixed, this album would have to be one of the best remastered CD releases I have ever been in contact with. This would have something to do with the fact that the album, itself, is so strong on composition and performance. If this is any indication of future remasters I will be eagerly looking forward to the remastered CDs of "Stormbringer" and "Come Taste The Band".

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2004 Year Book Volume 2 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Burn
An all-time classic piece of music with a great rock riff (possibly thanks to Gershwin) and some nicely placed - yet not overplayed - classical passages, "Burn" is a dark, brooding hard rock song and precursor to what would come in the form of Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow. The vocals are strong, and the track provides a perfect canvas for Coverdale's launch and allows Glenn Hughes to break free during certain passages.
Might Just Take Your Life
The single from the album and a sudden change in direction, this great little rock song pumps along in a lighter vein. Jon Lord's Hammond organ plays main stage throughout and Blackmore holds off a little. Coverdale and Hughes really let loose, but it is the pop-formulated arrangement that makes this an ear friendly number. This is a nice tune, delivering the goods with a different sound, not taking away from the darkness of the title song.
Lay Down Stay Down
Probably my least favourite track on the CD, this is a great thumping number regardless. It contains one of those "Where have I heard that before" Blackmore riffs and some great little interludes. Glenn and David's vocals mold together well, and the song stands firm in its position, larking away between the pumping of "Might Just Take Your Life" and the relaxed nature of "Sail Away".
Sail Away
"Sail Away" is a beautiful song that expresses a spiritual side of the new Purple sound. Coverdale really shines in this number and the rhythmic syncopation of Paice's snare and bass work really keeps this floating piece uplifted. Definitely a favourite of the album and similar to what we would hear on the follow-ip album, "Stormbringer", Blackmore's slide guitar work is sublime and the bass work from Glenn is so tight.
You Fool No One
This is another track that became a live mainstay in the band's set list. "You Fool No One" is rhythmically energetic and gives drummer Ian Paice an opening to do his thing while the Coverdale / Hughes vocal team sustain some dual passages and arrangements that really do highlight their abilities, based over a drum solo and some musical grooves.
Mistreated
Another highlight from the album and a chance for David to perform solo heartfelt vocals alongside Ritchie's weeping guitar, "Mistreated" is haunting and dynamic Purple. This is a song that would never have been made possible without Coverdale and the space he allows Blackmore to move around in. As much as Gillan is an incredible tour de force it is music like this that illustrates that Mark III was a totally different band. One of the greatest moments on the album is David Coverdale's outburst at 2:11 and Lord's organ sounds so holy, especially with Hughes' tight bass parts matching his organ bass.
"A" 200
As a filler instrumental piece (sometimes used in their live set during the extended instrumental soloing) and closer to the original release, it is an interesting classical excursion based around a bolero that gives Jon Lord and Ian Paice an outlet. This is more of a piece of fun, yet - critically - does not compete with the amazing "Mistreated".
Coranarias Redig
This instrumental B-side, remixed from its original incarnation stands alone as a cool little funky number. It's not just a vehicle for some Blackmore on ten, but a great way to show what the band could do minus a lead vocalist. Glenn Hughes plays some intense, tight bass, and Paice's drums are sounding as tight and crisp as ever. It's worth the purchase price of the CD to hear this (and the "Burn" remix).
Burn (remix)
This remix really only serves to enhance the quality and definition of the drum rolls, bass guitar and vocals and generally tidies up the sound. It proves that the original mix has little to improve on the dark nature of the piece. An absolutely incredible quality difference is evident with all of the remixes and it is a pity that the whole album wasn't remixed (as has been done with the "Machine Head" 30th anniversary release).
Mistreated (remix)
"Feel it for me", says David Coverdale at the outset and it's little comments like this and other weird studio sounds that make these remixes so good. The overall quality is incredibly sharp, yet - as with "Burn" - there is nothing especially different from the original version in terms of mix other than to tidy up and define the instruments. An excellent job has been done to the sound enhancement here on all tracks.
You Fool No One (remix)
After some crazy studio sounds, the remix really highlights Glenn's vocals, the percussive sections of Paice's tom-tom and cowbell work and the overall raw energy of this piece. This song has an infectious quality about it and the remix has an enhanced attraction.
Sail Away (remix)
At 12 seconds under the original timing, the guitar sounds are more crisp and defined and the bass end moves through the floor thanks to some involved bass work from Mr Hughes who has stood out through most this release. The song never loses interest, even after multiple listens - remix or otherwise.
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