Sunday, April 3, 2011

"Sail Away" - Deep Purple - 1974

Nothing like starting off with something not quite obscure, but not exactly timely, either. I am obsessed with music. I am most interested in what was but still keep an ear open for what's new as well. I have the following problems:
  1. I am a completist. If I find an artist I like, I feel compelled to collect everything they ever recorded;
  2. I am not only a completist, I am a "branching" completist. It's not enough to own every Danzig record. I need every Samhain record, every Misfits record. And I then need the Misfits Mk II. And then I need Michale Graves' records. And Eerie Von's records. And so on;
  3. This inevitably leads me on searches for expensive, hard-to-find, out of print product. While the internet has made this kind of search much, much simpler and has saved me from many lost Saturdays curled up on the floor of any given record store sorting through bins of forgotten gems, I still end up overpaying for something rare, yet mundane like Budgie's Deliver Us From Evil;
  4. I cannot stop thinking about nor talking to anyone who will listen about this stuff.
I am not a musician. I am not an informed critic. I am not a high-fiedlity audiophile. I listen to most of my music on CDs or iTunes through either iPod headphones, the speakers that came with my pc or the factory stereo on a 2003 Honda Odyssey. That said, I love music and, in simple terms, love to discuss what I love about any given recording.  I also dig movies, of course, and can go off on that tangent, too.

This week I was browsing the $7.99 "veritable bargain" bin at Barnes & Noble and picked up Deep Purple's Burn. This happened, of course, because Whitesnake's Forevermore was released Tuesday and I needed some Coverdale beyond all the Whitesnake that already occupies my shelves (plus this one helps out my Glenn Hughes quota established though his works with Tony Iommi that I have collected). I've heard Deep Purple before, of course, but have avoided because, to a branching completist, this basically means you eventually have to buy every piece of rock and roll to ever come from the UK.

Burn was a great place to start. And to start this off myself, I'll spare everyone a track-by-track slobbering and focus solely on one terrific number I think every man, woman and child needs to hear immediately: the glorious five minutes and forty-nine seconds that are the fourth track, "Sail Away."

"Sail Away" starts with a chugging bass/guitar combo that drives along like a locomotive. Both lines run in tandem, nearly indistinguishable from one another over a steady click-clack of drumbeats, while Coverdale and Hughes trade verses of, frankly, shallow lyrics about lack of direction, regret...who cares?  This is rock-funk at it's thickest and when they crescendo into Jon Lord's synth solo at 3:20, you're sold. This song belongs strictly to the sounds. There are profound lyrics out there aplenty - and many that make up their songs - but not on this record. It is the aural equivalent to the record's superb cover art. It's maddening cool and so....purple. Both Coverdale and Hughes croon and moan with a sincerity that only they could deliver with straight faces (that are doubtlessly contorted with emotional pain). Ritchie Blackmore's slide solo that slips in to close the song seals the deal and there's no way not to repeat the number immediately. Nor can I start the album on track one and wait to get here. "Sail Away" is a perpetual round trip - always my point of departure and that to which I repeatedly return. At least since Wednesday.  I've played this song at least 30 times and ordered some more Deep Purple. This is going to get expensive. This is going to be fun.


  1. When a blindman cries was suppose to be the ballad for Machine Head but the man in black or banjo player didn't like it.

    Sail Away and Mistreated are my fav tracks from Burn.
    Albums to get to get the Purple experience.
    Who do we think we are.
    Made in Japan (Live version of Machne Head with a few other tracks)
    In Rock.
    Perfect Strangers
    The battle Rages On
    Come Taste the Band (Phoenix Rising DVD will be out soon)

    Coverdale had 2 albums after the Purple demise
    Whitesnake and Northwinds
    He then started Whitesnake as we know it!
    Thanks for visiting have a kick ass weekend

  2. Thanks, Whitesnake. I've never yet grabbed the two Coverdale solo LPs - how are they? Reminiscent of any of his other work? And how did you feel about Forevermore? I was absolutely thrilled with the first two tracks but must say I thought "Love Will Set You Free" paled in comparison to either of those and seemed a little too easily compared to the '87-era to be a great single. Following that the album lulled a bit for me up through "Whipping Boy Blues," at which point I become fully bought in again. I need to give this one more time to digest overall. I was very, very pleased with Good to be Bad and it set the bar for my expectations high.

    Thanks also for the DP recommendations. Come Taste the Band, Stormbringer, Machine Head and In Rock all made the latest shopping cart. Do you have the Rhino Shades box set? Wondering how that fares as an overall sampler?

  3. Can't get Forevermore here yet have to order it........judging by your review it could be worth the wait!
    Early Purple was/is a bit Tom Jonesy
    Try "Book of Tailsyn" probally the better one.
    However it's all about ones taste....

  4. DC's two sole albums are moody and self indulgent I however do like them as with most Whitesnake songs DC gives a mans side of the story in relationships......
    When one listens carefully to the words there are some very clever lyrics.

    Ian Gillan came up with a classic lyric in the song "Knocking at your back door."

    Put you on the hitlist of a common cunning liquist a master of many tongues. Now she eases gently from her Austin to her Bentely Suddenly you feel so young.