Friday, 6 April 2012

CD Review: Who Do We Think We Are, by Deep Purple (1973)

The final studio recording from the original Mark II incarnation, Deep Purple's Who Do We Think We Are is a lost album, recorded with the band on top of the music world but wracked by internal divisions, exhausted by a brutal touring schedule, and with Ritchie Blackmore and Ian Gillan barely speaking to each other. The album was released with Gillan and Roger Glover already on their way out of the band, and hardly any of the tracks were promoted or added to the live performances.

Just seven tracks long and offering less than 35 minutes of music, Who Do We Think We Are still contains a few relatively little known gems. Smooth Dancer is bass-heavy and energetic, with Gillan's lyrics revealing the deep rift between himself and Blackmore. Better still is Rat Bat Blue, a riff-based excuse for a classic Purple jam showcasing Lord's keyboard wizardry. Place In Line is more of the same hypnotic magic, Gillan's versatile vocals giving way to a long instrumental back-end featuring Blackmore's best work on the album.

The other four tracks are generally uninteresting, Woman From Tokyo receiving undeserved recognition as a single, Gillan desperately trying to breathe life into a weak song with his legendary "To-kay-yo" reinvention of the city's name. Mary Long, Super Trouper and Our Lady expose a band going through the motions.

The 2000 re-issue includes seven additional tracks, mostly out-takes and the mercifully rejected Painted Horse which would have been the eighth, and weakest, selection on the album had Blackmore not rejected it.

Who Do We Think We Are is what a band sounds like just before the last person out turns off the light and the reset button is pushed.


Ritchie Blackmore - Guitar
Ian Gillan - Vocals
Roger Glover - Bass
Ian Paice - Drums
Jon Lord - Keyboards

Songlist (ratings out of 10):

1. Woman From Tokyo - 7
2. Mary Long - 6
3. Super Trouper - 7
4. Smooth Dancer - 8
5. Rat Bat Blue - 9
6. Place In Line - 9
7. Our Lady - 7

Average: 7.57

Produced by Deep Purple.
Engineered by Martin Birch. Mixed by Ian Paice and Roger Glover.

All Ace Black Blog Heavy Metal CD Reviews are here.

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