[Review] Deep Purple: Who Do We Think We Are! (1973)

The last album from Mk. II hits the mark again with a strong collection of songs led by “Woman From Tokyo.”

Kronomyth 8.0: Purple pros.

Not everyone will tell you that the last album from the Mk. II lineup is a classic, but I’d let the music do the talking in this case: “Woman From Tokyo,” “Super Trouper,” “Mary Long,” “Rat Bat Blue,” “Our Lady.” If the band were tired of making music, fans didn’t tire of hearing it. Who Do You Think We Are! became the band’s third gold record in a row and, for my money, is one of the best things they’ve ever done, behind maybe only In Rock and Machine Head.

The idea of Deep Purple as a progressive rock band has always been a hard sell. There’s no denying, though, that their superlative playing and often-ambitious arrangements are at least one level above what other “hard” rock bands were trying to do at the time. The brilliant psychedelic bridge in the middle of “Woman From Tokyo” shows the band’s split personality to excellent effect; they could blow you away with a brutal guitar riff or blow your mind with their creativity. More than once on this record, I was reminded of Jethro Tull, a band you don’t normally associate with Deep Purple. Maybe Ian Gillan is a better lyricist than I sometimes give him credit for, or Martin Barre a better guitarist, but I found myself wondering whether “Mary Long” might have been inspired by Aqualung, or “Black Satin Dancer” by “Smooth Dancer.”

The band has since been quite vocal about internal dissension during the sessions for WDWTWA. Blackmore was reportedly isolating himself from the rest of the band, and there is a marked downturn in the quality of his guitar solos on this album, suggesting he was just dialing it in. The rest of the band, however, sounds great. Jon Lord, who seemed increasingly out of place in Mark II, really makes his mark on this record. His piano playing is a bit like bringing a knife to a gunfight, but he’s positively organasmic on “Smooth Dancer” and “Rat Bat Blue.” Roger Glover and Ian Paice are, of course, brilliant, which at this point probably doesn’t need saying.

WDWTWA isn’t a perfect album any more than Sabbath Bloody Sabbath was a perfect album. “Place In Line” is a boring blues number, and too many songs about ladies on the road grows old after a while. It’s a shame the band never connected with a proper lyricist like Keith Reid or Pete Brown; then the prog label might have stuck. Unfortunately, this album would mark the end of the road for Mark II, as Gillan left the band that summer and Glover was fired soon after. All good things must come to an end, so best to raise a glass and mark those glorious days of Purple’s majesty in fond remembrance. Or, alternately, carp about how disappointing this album is and gear up for useless comparisons between Mark III and Mark II.

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Original elpee version

A1. Woman From Tokyo (5:50)
A2. Mary Long (4:25)
A3. Super Trouper (2:56)
A4. Smooth Dancer (4:10)
B1. Rat Bat Blue
B2. Place In Line
B3. Our Lady

All songs written by Ritchie Blackmore, Ian Gillan, Roger Glover, Jon Lord and Ian Paice.

CD reissue bonus tracks
8. Woman From Tokyo (’99 remix) (6:37)
9. Woman From Tokyo (alt. bridge) (1:24)
10. Painted Horse (studio out-take) (5:19)
11. Our Lady (’99 remix) (6:05)
12. Rat Bat Blue (writing session) (0:57)
13. Rat Bat Blue (’99 remix) (5:49)
14. First Day Jam (instrumental) (11:31)

Original 8-track version
A1. Woman From Tokyo
A2. Super Trouper
B1. Mary Long
B2. Smooth Dancer
C1. Ray Bat Blue
C2. Place In Line (beginning)
D1. Place In Line (conclusion)
D2. Our Lady

Original Australian 8-track version
A1. Rat Bat Blue
A2. Place In Line (part 1)
B1. Place In Line (part 2)
B2. Our Lady
C1. Mary Long
C2. Smooth Dancer
D1. Woman From Tokyo
D2. Super Trouper

Australian cassette version (reissue*)
A1. Rat Bat Blues
A2. Place In Line
A3. Our Lady
B1. Mary Long
B2. Smooth Dancer
B3. Woman From Tokyo
B4. Super Trouper

*This cassette features a gold sleeve and follows the Australian 8-track order but has the same ID number as the white-covered cassette version with the UK track order.

The Players

Ritchie Blackmore (guitars), Ian Gillan (vocals), Roger Glover (bass), Jon Lord (keyboards), Ian Paice (drums, percussion). Produced by Deep Purple; engineered by Martin Birch; mixing by Ian Paice and Roger Glover.

The Pictures

Cover design by Roger Glover and John Coletta.

The Plastic

Released on elpee, cassette and 8-track in February 1973 in the UK (Purple, TPSA/TC-TPSA/8X-TPSA 7508), the US (Warner Bros., BS/M5/M8 2678), Argentina (Purple, 6423), Australia (Purple, TPS/TC-TPSA8X-TPS 7508), France (Purple, 2C 064-94.140), Germany (Purple, 1C 062-94 140), Greece (Harvest, TPSA 7508), Italy (Purple, 3C 264 94140), Japan (Warner Bros., P-8312W) and Yugoslavia (Jugoton, LSPUR-70531) with gatefold cover and lyrics insert; reached #4 on the UK charts and #15 on the US charts.

  1. Re-issued on elpee in the mid-1970s in the US (Warner Bros., BS 2678) and Japan (Warner Bros., P-8312W) with gatefold cover [Burbank label].
  2. Re-issued on elpee in Japan (Warner Bros. P-10103W) with gatefold cover.
  3. Re-issued on cassette in Argentina (EMI, 15060) and Japan (IMD, IMD-7486).
  4. Re-issued on elpee in the US (Warner Bros., BS 2678) and Japan (Warner Bros., P-6508W) with gatefold cover [cream-white WB logo label].
  5. Re-issued on elpee in June 1985 in the UK (EMI).
  6. Re-packaged with Machine Head on 2-for-1 cassette in the US (Warner Bros., 4-25134).
  7. Re-issued on compact disc in October 1987 in the UK (EMI, CDP 7 48273 2).
  8. Re-issued on elpee in Russia (Antrop, n94 RAT 30758).
  9. Re-issued on compact disc on February 10, 1989 in Japan (Warner Music Japan, 20P2-2607).
  10. Re-issued on compact disc on April 15, 1998 in Japan (Warner Bros., WPCR-1568).
  11. Re-released on expanded, remastered compact disc in 2000 in the UK and the Netherlands (EMI, 521 6072), on January 24, 2001 in Japan (Warner, WPCR-10885) and in 2002 in the US (Warner Bros./Rhino, 75652-2) with 7 bonus tracks.
  12. Re-packaged with Fireball on 2-for-1 2CD in Europe (EMI) feat. expanded version of WDWTWA.
  13. Re-issued on remastered compact disc on June 22, 2005 in Japan (Warner Bros., WPCR-75037).
  14. Re-released on 24k gold remastered high-definition compact disc in 2005 in the US (Audio Fidelity, AFZ 027).
  15. Re-issued on compact disc in 2013 in Europe (Warner Bros., WB 2678).
  16. Re-released on 180g vinyl in 2016 in Europe (Universal, 3635834) [Back to Black series].
  17. Re-released on 180g purple vinyl elpee in 2019 in the US (Rhino, RCV1-599829) with gatefold cover.

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