This album is unbelievable. I know people, very particular music fans, who consider this to be the best Deep Purple album ever. I wouldn't make that claim myself (I prefer Fireball) but I rank this one very high. This is Deep Purple Mark I, a psychedelic version of the band you know and love. The singer was Rod Evans (Captain Beyond) and the bassist was Nicky Simper (Warhorse).
Track 1 is an amazing opener called "Chasing Shadows" (not to be confused with a later song just called "Shadows") that features a virtial drum orchestra throughout the whole song. "Blind" is second, which features Lord on harpsichord. This is followed by the Donovan cover "Lalena". It is a slow mournful track with a beautiful opening from Jon Lord. This is followed by a brief instrumental called "Fault Line", which is this crazy thing recorded backwards with bass recorded forwards. That melds into a serious rocker called "Painter", which ends side one. "Painter" to me is best remembered for Ian Paice's inventive drumming and Blackmore's excellent bluesy playing.
Side two began with "Why Didn't Rosemary?", a groovy blues rocker with the rhythm section driving forward. "Bird Has Flown" follows, not the Beatles song. It verges on heavy metal with Blackmore leaning heavily on the wah-wah peddle. The final track, "April", is a 12 minute tour-de-force and an obvious foreshadowing to the next Deep Purple album, Concerto For Group And Orchestra. It features a long opening in two movements. The first movement is mostly organ with classical guitar and a little electric overtop. The second is based entirely on classical instruments and sounds very medieval at times. Finally the band kicks in with an intense rocker, Paice laying it down hard.
This excellent CD remaster comes with an extensive booklet and five bonus tracks. Some of these bonus tracks are completely previously unreleased. These are live BBC performances and non-album singles. Notably included are a cool single called "Emmaretta" and "The Bird Has Flown" (an earlier version of "Bird Has Flown").
The only flaw with this CD, and I'm talking ONLY flaw, is the cover. That awesome painting by Hieronymus Bosch is one of the coolest, creepiest, most interesting paintings I know. The original LP was a gatefold and you could fold the whole thing out and stare at it for years (I did). The cover on this CD is so tiny.
5 stars...pick up an original LP if you can. I have a purple vinyl reissue but it lacks the gatefold and you really lose something without the gatefold.