Saturday, May 2, 2020

Midnight Music: "And the Address" by Deep Purple


Darkness shrouds the land. In those mystic hours between midnight and dawn, when the quiet is so imposing that it becomes a presence in and of itself, all good people are sleeping. Even the moon slumbers, obscured by shadowy clouds which cloak the fields, valleys, and towns of the hillside below in shadowy pitch.

The silence is broken. Not at once, and not by a scream, but slowly, and by a low moan. It begins distant, almost as if the wind itself were uttering lamentations. Could that be thunder? The rumble grows, slowly, imperceptibly, then louder, more clear. It becomes a roar, unmistakable, unavoidable, inevitable, and with the flash of lightning and the heat of flame, the darkness is shattered with blistering brightness as Deep Purple are released upon the face of the Earth.

The first track of their first album, "And the Address" heralds the arrival of something powerful and altogether new. Before giants walked the Earth in the form of Led Zeppelin, Deep Purple channeled American blues through a filter of English tradition in a style that felt different from trails that had been blazed by Jimmy Page, Eric Clapton, or Jeff Beck. There's something unpredictable about the music of Deep Purple. Baroque organ and piano chamber music flow not against, but alongside the music of the Mississippi Delta. And yet...there's another Delta present in the potion. Is that the Nile? With an arcane twist that seems to originate from deep within the pyramids of Giza themselves, another ancient vibration that seems otherworldly and familiar all at once joins the existing elements in this sonic alchemy. It's a sound that guitarist Ritchie Blackmore would spend decades embellishing and perfecting. But here it is in its earliest form, as alien and mighty to the culture of 1968 as Horus, the god of the sky, would have been to the people of Egypt.

Behold Ritchie Blackmore's guitar virtuosity, the ethereal organ of Jon Lord, the thumping, pilgrim bass of Nick Simper, and the bombastic drums of Ian Pace. With vocalist Rod Evans, the sound that Deep Purple summoned still resonates far over the oceans, under the mountains, and echoes within the empty halls of old kings long deposed.

Deep Purple have arrived.

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"And the Address" appears on the band's 1968 debut LP, Shades of Deep Purple. For further listening from this album, we recommend "Hush" and "Prelude: Happiness/I'm So Glad."

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