Deep Purple had a profound effect on my life since first learning of them back around 1973. My pal Rick’s older, older brother, Peter, was out of high school at the time (I was 10) and Pete was into all sorts of crazy music, especially Alice Cooper and Deep Purple. Well, one day I got a look at Deep Purple’s Machine Head! which scared me so much that I trembled whenever someone mentioned “Deep Purple.” Look, to an 8-year-old growing up in fear of “heroin-using hippies,” those album covers were pretty creepy. This was the age of long-haired hippies putting drugs in Halloween candy, and I was terrified of them. Jumping up to 1975, when, as a Boy Scout at a camp in Georgia, I first actually heard Deep Purple; a “rock” radio station was playing “Smoke On the Water.” It was baaaaad. Interestingly enough, in the late 1970’s, when “classic rock” was starting to get on my nerves, I finally heard the Deep Purple classics “Woman From Tokyo,” “Space Truckin,” “Highway Star,” and “Hush.” I’ve since heard more and become slightly more educated. And I’m not scared by Deep Purple album covers any more (not even Burn!“).
So let’s flash to 1998, when these dudes are older than most of you early-twentysomething’s parents. This is their zillionth album in thirty years. And I’ve been listening to it for a week, it is that amazing. You know, I was right-on in 1973 to be scared. This is heavy, near-supernatural creepy blues-metal. “Seventh Heaven” and “Watching the Sky” will convince any ten-year-old that he’s listening to a hippy coven out in the woods somewhere — and it’s way past his bed time — and he might not make it back home! “Fingers to the Bone” isn’t scary in that sense, but I was thrown back to a time in 1977 when music was just starting to change my life and a song like this would do things to me. It’s a combination of hard rock and interesting, mystical keyboards. “Any Fule Kno That” and “Jack Ruby” (and the majority of the album) are timeless, hard rocking, funky blues numbers showcasing the band’s slightly wicked sense of humor (and awesome keyboards). “Evil Louie” is the most “metal” tune on the album and it’s real metal. There’s also a new version of “Bloodsucker,” another one from the days when I soiled my undergarments hearing the name “Deep Purple.” For what I consider the authoritative review, however, point your browsers at www.darkhop.com/abandon.htm. CMC International, 5226 Greens Dairy Rd., Raleigh, NC 27616