[Review] Deep Purple: Burn (1974)

This marks the beginning of Deep Purple Mk. III and the end of Purple as a prog/metal band.

Kronomyth 9.0: A mark three of metal.

First, a moment of silence for Ian Gillan and Roger Glover. Lots of great memories there. Now, onto the prickly problem of David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes. A highly talented pair, no doubt, but they helped push Deep Purple into a blues-rock direction that I tend to avoid. In fact, the first Deep Purple album I ever bought was Stormbringer and it took me years before I could bring myself to buy another. Just not my cup of tea, nope.

So, Deep Purple Mk. III sort of marks the beginning of the end for me. It starts out great with Burn, a blues-rock scorcher that offers a veritable master class in what a rock and roll guitar solo should sound like (not to mention the appendix for organ players that Jon Lord provides soon after). As a rule of thumb, songs about witches are usually awesome. From there, however, it’s riff-driven blues-rock that could pass for Bad Company about half the time. Might Just Take Your Life has a few unexpected curves tacked onto an organ riff that sounds suspiciously like “Woman From Tokyo.” Lay Down, Stay Down continues to blend the voices of Coverdale and Hughes in interesting ways within a standard blues-rock setting, and Sail Away borrows a bit of Led Zeppelin (“Trampled Underfoot”) as Coverdale takes the lead vocals by himself. I’m not a huge David Coverdale fan (“Go on,” you say), but the man needs a harmony vocalist like Rob Halford needs a hair stylist.

The second side begins with a pair of hard blues-rock songs that are a bit light on personality, You Fool No One and What’s Goin’ on Here. Coverdale fans get a treat with the slow burner, Mistreated. Again, not a Coverdale guy, but the man sings the crap out of this song. This and “Burn” are the two best things about this album. Unexpectedly, the group burns off some leftover prog energy with the instrumental “A” 200, which could best be described as “Bolero in space.” At least by me; I’m sure someone else could describe it better.

And there you have it: two great rock & roll songs, five more-or-less generic hard blues-rock numbers and Jon Lord showing off his new synthesizer for four minutes at the end. Given what I already know about Stormbringer, this is where I get off the Deep Purple tour bus and start buying Uriah Heep albums instead. If you enjoy blues-rock (or “boogie rock,” which is a name I’ve never liked), then you’ll want to tune in for the Coverdale years and, who knows, maybe you’ll even get bitten by Whitesnake. It would serve you right.

Original elpee version

A1. Burn (6:00)
A2. Might Just Take Your Life (4:36)
A3. Lay Down, Stay Down (4:15)
A4. Sail Away (Ritchie Blackmore/David Coverdale) (5:48)
B1. You Fool No One (4:47)
B2. What’s Goin’ on Here (4:55)
B3. Mistreated (Ritchie Blackmore/David Coverdale)  (7:25)
B4. “A” 200 (Ritchie Blackmore/Jon Lord/Ian Paice) (3:51)

Songs written by Ritchie Blackmore/Jon Lord/Ian Paice/David Coverdale unless noted. (Glenn Hughes could not receive songwriting credit or attend gym class because of an existing publishing contract.)

Original 8-track version
A1. Burn
A2. Might Just Take Your Life
B1. Sail Away
B2. You Fool No One
C1.Might Just Take Your Life
C2. Mistreated (beg.)
D1. Mistreated (concl.)
D2. What’s Goin’ on Here
D3. “A” 200

Expanded CD reissue bonus tracks
9. Coronarias Redig (2004 remix) (5:30)
10. Burn (2004 remix) (6:00)
11. Mistreated (2004 remix) (7:28)
12. You Fool No One (2004 remix) (4:57)
13. Sail Away (2004 remix) (5:37)

The Players

Ritchie Blackmore (lead guitar), David Coverdale (vocals), Glenn Hughes (bass guitar, vocals), Jon Lord (keyboards), Ian Paice (drums). Produced by Deep Purple; engineered by Martin Birch.

The Pictures

Art studio: Nesbit Phipps and Froome Ltd. Photography by Fin Costello.

The Plastic

Released on elpee, cassette and 8-track on February 15, 1974 in the UK (Purple, TPS/TC-TPS 3505), the US (Warner Bros., W/DEP L5W/WB L8W 2766), Brazil (Purple, SPRL-9003), Greece (Harvest, TPS 3505), Japan (Warner Bros., P-8419W), Korea (Domido, LD 6-018), Uruguay (Odeon, C 066-94 837), Venezuela (Purple, PLPS-4005) and Yugoslavia (Purple/Jugoton, CAPU-267) with lyrics insert. Reached #3 on the UK charts and #9 on the US charts (RIAA-certified gold album).

  1. Re-issued on elpee in 1976 in Japan (Warner Bros., P-10104W) with lyrics insert.
  2. Re-issued on elpee (c. 1977) in Israel (Portrait, TPS 3505).
  3. Re-issued on cassette in Argentina (EMI, 16095).
  4. Re-issued on elpee in Japan (Warner Bros., P-6509W) with lyrics insert.
  5. Re-issued on elpee (c. 1980s) in the US (Warner Bros., W 2766) [watermark label].
  6. Re-issued on cassette in Poland (MG, MG 0143).
  7. Re-issued on compact disc in the Netherlands (Purple, CDP 7 92611 2).
  8. Re-issued on compact disc in the US (Warner Bros. 2766-2).
  9. Re-released on 30th anniversary edition expanded, remastered compact disc in 2005 in the US (Rhino, R2 74641) with 5 bonus tracks.
  10. Re-issued on compact disc on March 22, 2006 in Japan (Warner Bros., WPCR-12266).
  11. Re-released on super high material compact disc on September 17, 2008 in Japan (Warner Bros., WPCR-13115).
  12. Re-issued on compact disc on June 24, 2015 in Japan (Warner Bros., WPCR-80220).
  13. Re-issued on 30th anniversary expanded, remastered SHM-CD on April 27, 2016 in Japan (Warner Bros., WPCR-17192) with 5 bonus tracks.
  14. Re-released on purple vinyl and orange vinyl elpee in 2018 in Europe (Purple/Universal, TPS 3505).

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