Nick Simper Warhorse Complete Recordings (1970-1972) 2CD

Deep Purple Connections: Nick Simper Warhorse Complete Recordings (1970-1972) | 2CD Remastered Set

This set holds a special place for fans of classic hard rock, primarily because it features Nick Simper, the original bassist from Deep Purple Mark I.

For those who might not be familiar, Nick Simper was an integral part of Deep Purple’s early days, contributing significantly to the band’s first three albums. After parting ways with Deep Purple, Simper joined Warhorse, a band that, despite its talent, never quite broke through the heavy competition of the early ’70s rock scene.

This 2CD set covers Warhorse’s recordings from 1970 to 1974, including their self-titled debut album and the follow-up Red Sea. These albums have been reissued before, most notably by the Repertoire label in 2009 and 2010, with booklets written by Chris Welch. If you already own those editions, you might wonder if this new set is worth the upgrade.

In terms of content, this new esoteric reissue via Cherry Red doesn’t offer much new. The tracklists are almost identical to the Repertoire editions, with one notable exception: the Red Sea album includes an extra acetate demo track of “Burning”. As for the sound quality, I didn’t notice any significant differences in the remastering. The live tracks and demos sound just as good as they did in previous editions. However the previous editions were released over 10 years ago now and are not easy to find so if you are new to Warhorse this is the set to get.

Warhorse’s music is very much of its time, heavily featuring the Hammond organ, a hallmark of early ‘70s hard rock. If you’re into bands like Uriah Heep and early Deep Purple, you’ll feel right at home with Warhorse. Ashley Holt’s vocals bear a strong resemblance to David Byron of Uriah Heep, adding to that familiar sound. The lineup, which includes Frank Wilson on organ and piano, Mac Poole on drums, and Ged Peck on guitar, along with Simper on bass, showcases a tight, powerful ensemble that deserved more recognition than they received.

Reflecting on the time when Warhorse was active, it’s clear that the music scene was incredibly competitive. Bands had to release multiple albums a year to stay relevant, and without the modern conveniences of streaming or social media, discovering new music was a challenge. If you didn’t catch them on the radio or TV, and a friend didn’t have their album, you might never hear of them. In the UK, programs like Top of the Pops rarely featured bands like Warhorse, making it even harder for them to gain exposure.

If you’re new to Warhorse or missed out on the Repertoire editions, this new set from Esoteric is definitely worth picking up. It’s a fantastic way to delve into a slice of rock history that might have slipped under your radar. The packaging and booklets are well done, adding to the overall appeal of the set. For those who appreciate the Hammond-driven hard rock of the early ‘70s, this collection is a gem

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Phil Aston | Now Spinning Magazine

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