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Deep Purple: Scandinavian Nights

As with so many classic rock acts who started out in the 60's and 70's, Deep Purple have had a huge amount of live product released over the years and in truth separating the wheat from the chaff can be a rather arduous task. Recorded in Stockholm in 1970 for Swedish National Radio, Scandinavian Nights or Live And Rare as it has been previously known in the US, is one of the better examples of the Mk II incarnation of the band (Gillan, Blackmore, Lord, Paice, Glover) and this reissue from Eagle Rock (which is similar to the Spitfire version issued a while back) certainly does the show justice.

Seven songs over two discs may seem a little expansive but this is Purple back when any song worth its salt could touch and indeed break the thirty minute barrier, with two numbers here ("Wring That Neck" and "Mandrake Root") being of that sort of length. In fact the four songs on disc one alone make up over an hour's worth of listening! Don't worry though, as this is a band on fire, stretching out, jamming, improvising, but always staying within the lines of the song and even though the freedom that Purple give themselves is vast, for the most part the self indulgence is just about kept in check. That said, a greatest hits romp this is not, with Blackmore letting himself loose and blurting out solos with fiery intent and regular frequency, while Lord's Hammond isn't far behind, illustrating perfectly that he really was and still is master of the instrument. Add to that Paice thrashing about behind his kit and being given an extended solo as early as track one and Gillan adding some howls, growls and screams and there's no denying that the casual fan may find these extended (and then some) versions a little hard to swallow. However for the dyed in the wool Purp, hearing Mk I material "Wring That Neck" and "Mandrake Root" being attacked with such conviction is a pure joy.

Actually with this set being recorded just after Deep Purple In Rock was released in June of 1970, allows this release to be free of most of the Purple standards, and those that are in place "Speed King" "Child In Time" and "Black Night" sound fresh and invigorating. The lesser known In Rock number that makes the cut "Into The Fire", which running at just under five minutes is the shortest track on show, hits home with a thunderous punch and also offers a well aimed counter point to the more lavish renditions elsewhere. As Deep Purple did at the time and indeed often have since, a cover version is also included, with the Rolling Stones "Paint It Black" getting the full treatment, leaving it as little more than a base for a full band extended workout of huge proportions, although it does flag ever so slightly under the weight of yet more drum noodling.

Scandinavian Nights is an impressive illustration of the power and precision that Deep Purple possessed in their Mk II guise and as such is one of the better recordings of the band from that time and definitely worth investigating.

Track Listing
Disc 1
1. Wring That Neck
2. Speed King
3. Into The Fire
4. Paint It Black

Disc 2
1. Mandrake Root
2. Child In Time
3. Black Night

Added: August 27th 2011
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Official Deep Purple Web Site
Hits: 2386
Language: english

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