30: Very Best Of Deep Purple was my first foray into the musical world of Deep Purple. While I can’t remember the compelling reason for picking up the compilation, I dare say it may have been due to hearing Child In Time in the film Twister. Mediocre scene, superb song!
As many of you would be aware, music can be a great conversation starter and this album has certainly had that desired effect as many individuals, some whom I assumed would never listen to Deep Purple, professed their love for these timeless classics.
I have always used music in the workplace and this album was no exception. Music has the power to break down the employer/employee relationship and while it never garners considerable benefits, it does help dilute tension. Seriously, when the CEO starts strumming the air guitar, you have connected with the human behind the façade. While all workplaces aren’t always accommodating, or for various factors can’t permit the playback of music, I truly believe music introduces a more relaxed atmosphere that encourages productivity.
Hush (1998 Remastered Version) was an excellent choice to commence the compilation on. From the howl to the rhythmic instrumental introduction, to the vocal dexterity; the entire song is simply awesome!
Black Night (1995 Remastered Version) has a killer guitar riff and beat that will have you moving uncontrollably. Seriously, that guitar work is exquisite and pushes the distortion right to edge, but never results in a sub-standard sonic presentation.
Speed King (Dutch Single - Piano Version) is a Killer song and the piano elements certainly add depth to the song. This song is one of the reasons why Deep Purple is one of the greatest rock bands in music history.
Child In Time (Single Edit) is a sonic masterpiece. Yes, Smoke On The Water is coming up, but Child In Time smokes any other song in Deep Purple's catalogue.
Strange Kind Of Woman has a great groove with an addictive vocal. Sometimes, that is all a good song needs.
Fireball is perhaps the only Deep Purple song, on this compilation, that I don't have much love for. I've simply never been able to connect with the song.
Demon's Eye has a great groove and is musicality pleasing. I really appreciate the slower pace of this song and the tempo works well for the style of music we recognise as Deep Purple‘s signature sound.
Smoke On The Water (1997 Remastered Version) really needs no discussion as that guitar riff says it all. Exceptional!
Highway Star (1997 Remix) is the complete package and while the soundstage is somewhat concealed, it rocks?
When A Blind Man Cries (1997 Remix) is an absolutely amazing composition. Music doesn't get much better than this.
Never Before is a solid rock song, but nothing to write home about.
Woman From Tokyo (Single Edit) is another example of musical perfection. While not an overly complex composition, it ticks all the right boxes.
Burn (2004 Remastered Version) is a great song, but the chaotic intermingling of vocal and instrumental aspects, especially in the verse, can become fatiguing.
Stormbringer (2009 Remastered Version) has a killer groove. I love it!
You Keep On Moving is strangely the final track on the TIDAL Hi-Fi edition of the compilation as the 1998 CD featured three additional tracts, including Perfect Strangers, Vavoom: Ted The Mechanic, and Any Fule Kno That. It is a complete mystery as to why these songs are omitted, especially considering I don’t feel You Keep On Moving is a solid enough song to close the compilation with. The aforementioned songs are truly missed and I wish I had never sold the CD during my idiotic MP3 rules era.
It is interesting, however, that these songs are available on iTunes, should you purchase the entire compilation. On Apple Music, however, the songs are greyed out. Yet, they are included on Spotify (thanks to their compile from any album feature). Basically, it is a bloody mess! The only saving grace for me is that iTunes Match streams all the songs as they were, on the original CD, when I ripped it into iTunes as a series of MP3 files.
Hence, just for you dear readers, I will review these three additional songs.
Perfect Strangers is one of the greatest rock and roll songs to have ever been recorded. Turn the volume to 11 and enjoy as the musicality is off the charts!
Ted The Mechanic (sic) has a unique style that won’t appeal to everyone and I tend to have a love/hate relationship with it. Depending on the mastering, the song can sound rather shrill, but following the introduction the soundstage expands, becoming a more complete Deep Purple song that I really dig. Regardless, it was always a welcome addition to this collection.
Any Fule Know That is superb. What an incredible beat! As the former final song on the compilation, it always encouraged me to listen to the album again and stay within the Deep Purple catalogue. Truth be told, I’d often put this song on repeat as it is simply that good!
What is disappointing is how this compilation has been handled over the years. Originally released in 1998, there is no reason why streaming services should have a version that includes remasters from 2004 and 2009.
Is nothing sacred anymore?
Trust me when I say that the original CD was mastered beautifully. I don't know about you, but this constant meddling really irritates me.
Memo to all record labels and musicians: If the original is substandard, don't release it. If you do release it, leave it alone. We don't want your remasters.
This, of course, isn't the first time I have been irritated by different editions and masterings of Deep Purple records. See Deep Purple - Made In Japan (Thoughts On The Many Editions).
Despite the questionable antics, surrounding the various masterings, this compilation is still one of the greatest in the history of recorded music. The cover artwork is exceptional and I'll never forget the starkness of that space purple CD.
From a sonic perspective, you can certainly hear variances between the tracks. While the remastered songs don’t help the situation, it is also plausible that this is simply a result of songs being recorded at different studios and at different stages in Deep Purple’s career. That said, at no time does this distract from the enjoyment of the compilation. It really is the very best of Deep Purple!