Essential in this case means Deep Purple Mark II, with Ian Gillan and Ritchie Blackmore as the helm of one of rock's greatest dinosaurs from 1970 to 1974. Dinosaur is usually meant in the worst possible way when referring to a rock band, but in the case of Deep Purple it could only be a compliment. This isn't a dinosaur in the stuffy Paleolithic, Latin genus sense, but a massive lumbering destructive force of energy in the Jurassic Park sense. Every inch of these songs stomps out a massive clawed footprint in the brain. If the track listing looks familiar, it is; Essential is a European import that repackages one of the best DP collections around, 24 Carat Purple. What it adds is the relatively new Copy Control technology, which is supposed to prevent file sharing and other threats to the rights of the music contained on the disc without preventing anyone from actually playing the disc. Oh, if only it were true. Let the buyer beware: Essential is a great collection but on budget equipment, such as some portable CD players, its sleek digital advances may make listeners pine for a pre-digital-paranoia version. ~ Wade Kergan, Rovi
While not celebrated as pioneers of heavy metal as often as contemporaries like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple were as integral a band as any in the evolution of high-octane rock. Essential tracks the group from its early days doing soul-fried heavy blues-rock numbers like "Hush" or their rowdy take on Neil Diamond's hit "Kentucky Woman" into their mid-'70s arena rock apex. Ritchie Blackmore's instantly recognizable riff on "Smoke on the Water" has launched the guitar careers of countless starry-eyed metalheads, and a wealth of other FM radio classics like "Highway Star," "Woman from Tokyo," and "Space Truckin'" is a reminder of just how hard working Deep Purple were. They were also an act that helped usher in the popularity of the double live album with 1972's platinum-selling Made in Japan. Included from that set are "Black Night" and the extended epic jamming of "Child in Time." ~ Fred Thomas, Rovi
Track samples provided courtesy of iTunes
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