Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Remastering the masters

Just took possession of the 35th anniversary remaster of Deep Purple's Come Taste the Band. Eminating from the efforts of Simon Robinson who runs the band's appreciation society, this finally catches up the remastering of Purple's original back catalog....and what a long road. It took 25 years to get the ball rolling with the uniformly excellent 25th anniversary remastering projects on the original releases but time slipped, tapes were proving hard to source and general other hold ups meant that it was another 10 years before we got to this one.

Worth the wait? I think so. This is a double CD package, rather like the splendid anniversary job on Machine Head, with a second CD of remixes which give the old tunes a little different twist. I've always loved the album since I grew up listening to the strange mix of hard rock, jazz and funk, but let's be honest. The original vinyl sounded muffled, with Coverdale appearing to be singing in another room while the band overloaded every channel trying to be heard. The music demanded a sense of space but it was missing in action. I've tried various remastered CD releases but none sounded as good as this one. Oddly, I am finding the 2010 Kevin Shirley remixes to be a real ear opener, new lines from Tommy Bolin appearing where before there was a cut or fade; Coverdale actually sounding like he's in front of the band; and You Keep on Moving placed where it was intended, on the 'opener' to side 2, though of course on CD, this just means it's moved up the listing a little, with a riotous Drifter closing the album out. Yes, as with all original Purple releases, the band write and record in a hurry (2 albums a year being standard back then) and I wonder how this all sounds to someone who never heard the music before, but I suspect it's more than a trip down memory lane. More's the pity this line up never lasted and a greater pity we lost the wonderful Tommy Bolin before he could really shine - now that was a talent lost. Anyhow, this is not audiophile music, it's just toe-tapping, body shaking good time music by a band that confused more people than ever got it. Tasty.

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