Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Deep Purple

  • Machine Head [Warner Bros., 1972] B
  • Burn [Warner Bros., 1974] C+
  • Deepest Purple: The Very Best of Deep Purple [Warner Bros., 1980] B

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Machine Head [Warner Bros., 1972]
"Smoke on the Water" is about a big fire in Montreux, obviously the most exciting thing to happen to these fellows since the London Symphony Orchestra. No jokes about who's getting burned, though--I approve of their speeding, and Ritchie Blackmore has copped some self-discipline as well as a few suspicious-sounding licks from his buddies in London. Personal to Paul Kantner: Check out "Space Truckin'." B

Burn [Warner Bros., 1974]
The hot poop is that after ten albums the Purps have a lead singer with soulish roots who can actually write songs. The cold turd is that the music sounds the same, as ominous and Yurrupean as a vampire movie, only not as campy. C+

Deepest Purple: The Very Best of Deep Purple [Warner Bros., 1980]
Cut the shit, keep them away from large auditoria, and what you end up with is surprisingly kick-ass: lifting one or two songs from half a dozen albums that have only pushy organist Jon Lord and dum-dum drummer Ian Paice in common, this rocks. With the predictable exceptions--solo here, bridge there, Lord's conservatory application "Child in Time" throughout--it's barely even pretentious. "Black Night" and "Woman From Tokyo" and of course "Highway Star" are as worthy of Nuggets as anything the Stangeloves ever recorded. B

Further Notes:

Everything Rocks and Nothing Ever Dies [1990s]