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Who Do We Think We Are

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★★★★½
(39 Reviews)

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  • THE BAND: Ian Gillan (vocals, harmonica), Ritchie Blackmore (guitars), Roger Glover (bass), Jon Lord (piano, organ, keyboards), Ian Paice (drums & percussion).

    THE DISC: (1973) Originally 7 songs clocking in at approximately 34 minutes. This digitally remastered 2002 release contains 7 bonus tracks making the total listen just over 72 minutes. Included with the disc is a 24-page booklet containing song titles/credits/times (no song lyrics), numerous band photos, and 16 pages of band insight from the time of this recording (circa 1972-73) from writer Simon Robinson and bassist Roger Glover. All songs written by Deep Purple. Recorded by the Rolling Stones Mobile unit in Rome and Frankfurt, between July and October 1972. Originally on the EMI / Warner Bros Records label. This reissue is on Rhino / Warner Bros.

    COMMENTS: For me, this album was bitter sweet. Deep Purple is/was one of my all-time favorite rock bands… ever. This would be the last time during those magical 1970’s that the best line-up DP had would record together. Deep Purple was riding high from “Machine Head” and their best live recording “Made In Japan” (both released in 1972). They were easily the top selling rock act of 1973. Yet, the band was in complete turmoil. Among the factors – Blackmore and Gillan (in a power struggle) were not speaking to each other; pressure to record a worthy follow-up to “Machine Head” was proving to be a difficult task; on the road constantly – five U.S. tours in one year (as well as Europe and Japan); and Blackmore getting sick and the band having to make up cancelled tour dates. As the liner notes read – the album was “musically abrasive and lyrically bitter”. Three months after the release of “Who Do We Think We Are”, Gillan and Glover resigned… and the album never really saw the light of day on the road in concert. The album garnered one bonafied hit, “Woman From Tokyo”. Here, you get the primary version as well as a ‘99 remix lasting almost 50 seconds longer than the original. On the remix version, Gillan’s vocals are slightly different in spots, as is Blackmore’s guitar solo. The other ‘99 remixes are cool as well, “Rat Bat Blue” and “Our Lady” – both deserving tracks. “Who Do We Think We Are” had several classic deep album cuts, including “Mary Long”, the spacey “Super Trooper”, the fast paced “Smooth Dancer”, and the band’s other favorite tune from the album “Rat Bat Blue”. Only “Our Lady” seems oddly out of place here – a nice ballad concentrating more on the melody and lyrics (and no Blackmore or Lord solos). Gems from the vault – the song “Painted Horse” was a studio outtake – Gillan wanted it here on the album, but it was ultimately scrapped by Blackmore – simply a great tune… cool melody, smooth vocals, Gillan’s harmonica fits nicely with Blackmore’s rhythm guitar. And, “First Day Jam” is exactly what it says it is… eleven minutes of DP doing what they did best (the highlight being Jon Lord’s keyboard playing). “Who Do We Think We Are” might not be a 5-star album based on the music alone (like “Machine Head” or “Burn” might be), but the remastered sound, the amazing bonus tracks, and the extensive liner notes all together make this Rhino reissue a must have Deep Purple disc (5 stars).

    Posted on February 16, 2010