The Carouser now brings you a new regular column of ‘Back to the Best’ where we will be sharing our favourites in classic rock music from when music was created with raw talent and energy and not with computers or band manufacturing.
As the infamous Ritchie Blackmore announces a small string of sold out shows in Germany and Birmingham for next summer, The Carouser wants to make sure that your life and music knowledge is blessed with the likes of Deep Purple and Rainbow. Why not take part in one of my favourite past times and buy yourself a large bottle of bourbon (or your preferred poison) and spend the day spinning some of Blackmore’s finest works. You’ll find yourself travelling from the late 60s through to the ‘90s with some of the greatest musicians in the world.
Shades of Deep Purple, 1968
What better to begin with than the very beginning? This album (known as Mark I Deep Purple) marks the beginning of something beautiful- a simple album fusing rock and blues and showcasing many of the band’s influences at the time with a range of covers from the likes of Skip James and The Beatles.
In Rock, 1970
Mark II Deep Purple- in the history of heavy metal and rock, there are many pinnacle moments that leave a positive mark on your life; this is one of those albums. This milestone album provides you with a unique and dynamic playing style from all members, with songs like ‘Speed King’ introducing the world to very early speed metal and Blackmore showing off his true skill; ‘Child in Time’ showcasing the beautiful sound of Jon Lord’s Hammond and Gillan’s raw, powerful and cutting vocals. A complete masterpiece!
Perhaps not as esteemed as ‘Burn’, but my favourite Mark III Purple all the same. With David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes on vocals, our ears are full with additional sex, funk and soul as well as the usual Blackmore treats. Songs such as ‘Stormbringer’ and ‘Lady Double Dealer’ bring some light aggression, with some more soulful, melodic tracks such as ‘Love Don’t Mean a Thing’ and ‘Holy Man’.
Ronnie James Dio, Ritchie Blackmore, Cozy Powell, Jimmy Bain, Tony Carey- what a line-up, what an album! Just 6 tracks long, but just over 30 minutes of unbelievable perfection. This album combines straight to the core heavy metal tingled with more progressive elements- it has Blackmore’s soaring solos and usual catchy riffs, sexy psychedelic synths from Carey, pounding drums from genius Cozy and of course the best of the best- Ronnie James Dio with his wails, his growls and his melody. There’s nothing better.
Down to Earth, 1979
A truly underrated hard rock album in my opinion. Regardless of how ‘commercial’ it may be with hits such as ‘Since You’ve Been Gone’ and ‘All Night Long’, Down To Earth has songs on it which should have shone much more! Blackmore has changed vocalist once again, and yes, we miss Dio, but we are given a fantastic display of vocal power from Graham Bonnet on songs such as ‘Eyes of the World’ and ‘Lost in Hollywood’, but also groovy, catchy riffs on tracks like ’Danger Zone’ and a melodic, soulful feel on songs such as ‘Makin’ Love’. Some may argue that it’s overly commercial but nonetheless a great album.
Difficult to Cure, 1981
Blackmore, still not satisfied, brings in yet another vocalist- Joe Lynn Turner to start us with a trio of fantastic albums starting greatly and ending just in time with ‘Bent Out of Shape’. These albums continue with Blackmore’s more ‘poppy/cheesy’ direction, but I’m a sucker for the cheese and so inevitably love the typical ‘80s vibe that this album emits. Songs such as ‘Spotlight Kid’ and ‘Can’t Happen Here’ hold the title for my favourite tracks on this record with killer vocals from JLT, steady, groovy bass lines from Roger Glover and a fantastic display of keyboard from rock’s beloved Don Airey!
Blackmore went on to use Joe Lynn Turner’s infectious vocals on Deep Purple’s Slaves and Masters later in 1990 after reuniting with Mark II line-up of Deep Purple for their 1984 album Perfect Strangers.
So, by the end of your Deep Purple/Rainbow marathon you should be highly intoxicated from both booze and musical bliss! Whether you are an original fan, new fan or progressing fan- it is true to say that the diversity, sheer talent and atmosphere that Blackmore brings to the hard rock and heavy metal world is invaluable… not to mention following his quirky and arrogant comments, his passive aggressive nature and overall diva persona. It’s all part of the deal when you’re a genius, right?