River Deep Mountain High was the Tina Turner song written by Phil Spector, Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich but it had many covers, among them a 10-minute version by Deep Purple. It appeared in the group's 1968 record, The Book Of Taliesyn. The first time I heard the Deep Purple version, I couldn't make anything out of it. Okay, the first half of the track was a grandiose instrumental experiment with Richard Strauss' Also Sprach Zarastrutha offering a dramatic start to the song. And on and on it developed with a lot of potential until...the band kicked in with River Deep. What happened to the sound, I wondered. Why has my hifi system suddenly gone flat? So you see my mixed feelings with Deep Purple's cover of this song.
Anyway, The Book Of Taliesyn and Deep Purple (their second and third studio albums) were products of the original Deep Purple with Rod Evans and Nick Simper in the line-up. They were then booted out and replaced with Ian Gillan and Roger Glover. It was this combination of Jon Lord, Ian Paice, Ritchie Blackmore, Gillan and Glover that recorded In Rock and Machine Head.
Let's see what I liked about these four albums:
- The Book Of Taliesyn: Exposition/We Can Work It Out, Anthem and despite its quirkiness, River Deep Mountain High
- Deep Purple (the album): April ... I almost forgot that I was listening to a rock band
- In Rock: Speed King, Child In Time, Flight Of The Rat
- Machine Head: Highway Star, Smoke On The Water, Lazy