Rhino Records first attracted notice for its ability to assemble good, well-thought-out, best-of and greatest-hits compilations of acts who had enjoyed a chart placement (or two) without ever getting a proper hits package from their own labels; a little later Rhino started their "Very Best Of" series, which managed to be medium-weight but pretty thorough overviews of a lot of major acts (especially in R&B) from the past that needed a fresh look. But in 2000, when they released The Very Best of Deep Purple -- a band that needed no helping hand in the exposure area -- in conjunction with Warner Archives, that was something new for the company. And damned if Deep Purple and their fans, casual or serious, didn't benefit stunningly from Rhino's usual excellence on this CD. For one thing -- and this is pretty amazing -- this disc, with nearly 80-minutes of music, was the most thorough and thoughtful overview of the band's work ever released in the United States; EMI may have come close in England with Singles A's & B's but the sound here is better, to put it mildly. It's not just that Bill Inglot's tape research and engineering are very good -- it's that the sound here is so rich and resonant (as well as -- natch -- loud), that even original lead singer Rod Evans is finally shown at his best, doing what amounted to heavy metal "crooning" next to Ian Gillan's rock-god shrieks. What's more, with the sound as clear and crisp as it is here, one even gets to hear the action on Jon Lord's savage organ cadenzas, which are in-your-face along with Ritchie Blackmore's early but ever-bolder guitar attacks, and one gets some idea of what that version of the band at its best could do. Ian Gillan's arrival and the single "Black Knight" switch the balance away from Lord's classically based experiments in favor of loud, crunchy hard rock, and it's only a step from there to "Speed King," where this band really showed what it was capable of. Even with the volume turned low, you can hear the action on Lord's organ keyboard on "Child in Time," everything else -- including Gillan's falsetto cry -- is close enough to jolt even the most jaded listener -- even 30 years after its release. Mostly it's that classic 1969-73 lineup that's featured, with a two-song acknowledgement of the David Coverdale lineup, and the CD closes with the classic lineup on "Knocking at Your Back Door" from their 1980s reunion. Designed to complement, not compete with, the four-disc box set Shades (1968-1998) that Rhino released the prior year, this is one compilation that will impress hardcore, longtime fans, even as it whets the appetite of new listeners. ~ Bruce Eder & Heather Phares
Performance CreditsDeep Purple Primary Artist
Ian Gillan Harmonica,Conga,Vocals
Steve Morse Guitar
Ritchie Blackmore Guitar
Roger Glover Synthesizer,Bass
Glenn Hughes Bass,Vocals
Jon Lord Keyboards,Vocals
David Coverdale Vocals
Rod Evans Vocals
Ian Paice Drums
Nick Simper Bass,Vocals
Technical CreditsIan Gillan Composer
Ritchie Blackmore Composer,Producer
Roger Glover Composer
Jon Lord Composer,String Arrangements,Woodwind Arrangement
Hugh Brown Art Direction,Cover Photo
David Coverdale Composer
Tony Edwards Executive Producer
David McLees Producer
Ian Paice Composer
Simon Robinson Producer
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
The Very Best of Deep Purple [Rhino] based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
I was somewhat familiar with their music. This is my first purchase of a Deep Purple recording. I just thought I'd like to hear some of the songs again. I found the liner notes most enjoyable. Eg. 2. Kentucky Woman "In 1968 hippies considered Neil Diamond tunes Tin Pan Alley schlock. Deep Purple either didn't know this or simply didn't care." 3. Black Night "... The result: They made a hit that inspired an enduring Euro soccer-style concert chant - afterward admitting thay had no idea what it was about." 9. Highway Star "Those who credit The Modern Lovers with being punk originators might examine the driving bass and open-throated organ of this maniacal Purp concert-opener, ...." 10. Smoke on the Water "Hard to believe that the most famous rock riff in history belongs to a song at first considered filler and not even included in Purple's live set." 12. Woman from Tokyo "Introduced by a crisp Poice high-hat rythym that, in a few years, would become a staple of - Lawd help us - disco, ...." 15. Knocking at Your Back Door "... From the Mark 11 reunion, it sure had to be constructed like a brick house. And it was - from foreboding, imitation-cello strokes through a sleazy riff and beyond."
For any fan of the band or its Stratocaster-wielding guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, a must-have if you don't already have most of the pieces. It understandably concentrates on the "Mark II" personnel opus. The only reasonably serious omission is "You Fool No One." And I prefer the "Made in Japan" live version of "Smoke." But you can't have 'em all... Great liner notes on the history of the band as well.
If you are just getting into classic rock like I am, this is a great CD to start your collection with. All the songs are simply great. My favorite, of coarse, is the classic and legendary "Smoke on the Water," which everyone knows at least by its tune. Anyways, get this CD, it's great!