Deep Purple 6CD Box Set (now out of print) (Video Review 10mins)
The intro music is by ‘The Government’ featuring David Coverdale.
The outro music is Mary Long (Roger Glover Remix) both are unique to this release.
I have actually been asked to do this one and I know that many of you who know me, know that it’s no surprise that I’m rather a large Deep Purple fan so in asking me to actually review something that’s associated with that band is rather cool. Makes me feel I’m not being too biased.
So this is what I’ve been asked to review, which is the box set called Listen, Learn and Read On. It’s from 2002 and it’s when box sets were boxes, really big boxes. And I think this was about £50 when it came out.
Now let’s think about that because if this came out now, I bet you this would be nearly £100. In fact, it’s out of print now. It’s gone. It’s gone for good. They don’t do boxes in this kind of format anymore.
At the time, many of these tracks were rare, or on CD for the first time. That’s not the case now, which is probably one of the reasons it’s gone out of print. There are still one or two gems on there that only exist here, and I’ll go over those. Right, let’s have a quick look at what it looks like.
It was an ambitious box. I’m not sure about the actual cover work, but I can see why they chose that in a way. I think that was also used on a single cover. As you fold it out, you’ve got various arty pictures and then it folds out into an enormous six disc set, covering every year of Deep Purple up to 1976. And they’ve got a few things on there, the slogans that meant something at the time, but what made it especially elaborate was the book.
Now the book itself is based off The Deep Purple Story which came out in the early ‘1980’s by Chris Charlesworth, and this has been out of print for a very long time. I think it was printed in Italy and when they went to do a reprint, the Italian print company had decided to delete the master so they couldn’t redo another one. But luckily, Simon Robinson ( for it is he that does a lot of this stuff) had kept copies of a lot of this stuff and updated it for this box set.. So this book is probably one of the definitive books on Deep Purple by one of the definitive people who knows all about Deep Purple, which is Simon Robinson, who still runs the fan club to this day.
It goes into absolute tons of detail, real Train Spotter stuff, each album is in here, obviously, with every other format that ever was pressed. So you can actually see whether you need to keep buying them like I seem to do. And I don’t seem to be able to help myself. It’s like seeing them in a charity shop, I feel like I’m rescuing them if I see one that’s all on its own.
So it goes through everything, as you could imagine. So it’s all there from Concerto with lots of pictures that some people will know really well, and some people may not.
This is one of the best books to be ever included in a CD Box set. The only other one like this, to me, that goes into this amount of detail, are the Jethro Tull releases, which obviously are even more intense because they’re just one album at a time. But this goes through the whole history of Purple and I think what makes it such a great book is that it doesn’t overly focus on just Mark II, it goes through the solo albums up to that point. So Rainbow mentions the pre Purple stuff like Zephyr, Trapeze, but mainly also Tommy Bolin gets a good mention. We have to remember that Mark four only made one album, but they do get good mention and it’s a good write up.
So if I had any criticism about this box, it is CD1 with 18 tracks, they decided to kind of focus on the roots of Deep Purple. So you’ve got MI5, which is Ian Paice, The Outlaws, Ritchie Blackmore, Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, Episode Six, Ian Gillan, Trapeze, The Goverment, which has got David Coverdale singling when he literally sounded like a Frank Sinatra crooner, and Tommy Bolin with Zephyr.
I kind of felt weird about this but thinking if anyone was new to Purple (which I guess this box set wasn’t aimed at them ) would be thinking, “What the hell is going on here?”
CD2 has lots of stuff from the BBC, which came out as a separate disc later on. And there’s stuff that also was from the Concerto that wasn’t out at the time, which has since come out separately.
There is some studio chat, which has also come out on some of the remasters for In Rock and Fireball, there’s some, the mixes by Roger Glover, which again, came out by the individual remasters. Some of the things, though, didn’t make it onto the remasters, but was still tweaked and so you’ve got stuff like Mary Long, remixed by Roger Glover, and that isn’t on Who Do We Think We Are. So that’s still unique to this actual pressing. And there is also a live Mark II gig from Montreaux, and which again, hasn’t been, isn’t really easy to find at all. It was done on the Purple records imprint but it’s not available any more,
The main rarities are things like Fools from Fireball and there was a version where they were still messing around with the lyrics, and that’s on here, and isn’t on the Fireball remaster.
So there are some things on here that make it kind of unique, but most of it is now available elsewhere. The main reason to track down a copy of this is for the book which is fantastic.