Deep Purple is one of modern music’s most beloved and respected bands. The UK based band has been making music for some forty-five years. In that time, the band’s members—Its current lineup consists of Ian Gillan (vocals), Ian Paice (drums), Roger Glover (bass), Steve Morse (guitar), and Don Airey (keyboards)—have crafted no fewer than eighteen albums. Considering all of the band’s lineup changes and side projects through the years, the very fact that the band has churned out nearly twenty albums is quite the statement of its staying power. Last year, Deep Purple’s most current lineup released album number nineteen in the form of Now What?! That album was met by critics and audiences alike with largely positive reviews. Fans that enjoyed that album—the band’s first in eight years—will enjoy just as much its newly expanded re-issue, which is available now.
Now What?! Gold Edition gives audiences more than its share to applaud. Those that haven’t picked up this recent re-issue first because it presents Now What?! in its entirety. It also includes a second bonus track versus the single bonus track included in the album’s original release. The re-issue’s added bonus track, titled ‘First Sign of Madness’ is a fun, up-tempo piano driven rocker that is certain to impress every listener. Front man Ian Gillan sings against keyboardist Don Airey’s almost manic performance, “Somebody tell me why I’m talkin’ to myself/Haven’t listened to a word I say/Nor does anyone else/Somebody asked me/If I have any doubt/Well maybe yes/Maybe no/It’s something to think about.” Airey’s work on the keys gives the song a light, not so serious vibe. And Roger Glover’s low end set alongside the equally driving drumming of Ian Paice completes the song. It all gels, making this a fitting closer to the album. It isn’t the only impressive piece that the band includes on this album. Audiences will also enjoy the funky, sexually charged song that is ‘Bodyline.’
‘Bodyline’ is a great addition to What Now?! As Gillan explains in the album’s liner notes, the influence of the song was the silhouette of a woman he saw on the classic TV show Tales of the Unexpected. He explained that the silhouette of what appeared to be a naked woman dancing in the flames was used in the show’s opening sequence. He adds that this was when he was much younger. That would explain the song’s swing and its energy. Every male in his youth goes through that stage of puberty where his hormones are raging uncontrollably. And that is essentially what is being described here. Gillan sings in the song, “I’ve been watching you dancin’ all night long/Your legs go on forever/Exquisite synchronicity/But they never stay together/My head is spinning keeping focus on my whirling dervish/I don’t know who you are/But I’m enslaved and at your service/It’s your bodyline.” What makes this even more interesting is that while the silhouette of a woman on TV was the influence behind such a verse, that same sexual energy makes this song just as much a hit in the clubs.
The songs included on the primary release of Now What?! are a big part of what made that release so enjoyable. Now with its re-issue a new aspect has been added to the album that makes it even more album. That aspect—a dual pronged aspect—is the newly included What Now?! Live Tapes. The bonus disc and its companion booklet take Deep Purple fans out on the road with the band. Whether the band has ever come to a fan’s town or not, this bonus live recording is a wonderful addition to the overall presentation.
The songs culled for this recording were recorded throughout the band’s 2013 “Now What?! World Tour.” They do an impressive job of representing the band’s history. And the audio mix of the recordings is just as impressive. It would have been so easy to simply put together a slapdash recording and call it a bonus disc. E.A.R. Music and the band’s members had more respect than that for the band’s legacy and its fans. The audio is crystal clear on each song. Add that to the fact that the song selection is such an impressive cross section of the band’s catalog and it makes this disc even more of a bonus for fans. Speaking of that cross section, it would have been just as easy for those charged with the recording’s production to simple toss in each song and make them separate. But they didn’t do that, either. The transitions from song to song are clear and solid. If one didn’t know that each song came from a different point on the band’s tour, one would have no idea that that was the fact. The solid transitions between songs make this grouping of recordings feel like the entire show was recorded at one single venue. Again, this is a minor issue on the surface. On a deeper level though, it is quite the important piece to the overall recording’s presentation. Those charged with assembling the recording and presenting it are well deserving of praise for their work. Just as deserving of praise are those charged with assembling the companion booklet that comes with the bonus live recording compilation.
The companion booklet that comes with the bonus live recording compilation is the finishing touch to Deep Purple’s What Now?! Gold Edition. For starters, it provides more than just the standard, stale liner notes. It actually makes a person want to find out the whole presentation’s “W”’s (The who, what, when, where). It also provides audiences with some personal insight from the band on each of the album’s eleven primary tracks. Also included is a collage of albums featuring the band on the covers, as well as full color photos of the band on tour. Some of those photos were also included in the main album’s companion booklet, but weren’t in color. So seeing those same photos in full color brings them to life. And they make the experience all the richer. Together with the bonus live recording compilation and the original album, the bonus companion booklet is the final touch on a rare worthwhile re-issue from any band across the board. It is available now in stores and online. It can be ordered online via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/What-Gold-Edition-Deep-Purple/dp/B00F9K3VSO/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1385497926&sr=8-3&keywords=deep+purple. More information on this new release, news from the band and more is available online at http://www.deep-purple.com and http://www.facebook.com/officialdeeppurple. To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it. Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.