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Interesting bunch of classic singles - 83%

MaDTransilvanian, May 24th, 2009

So here it is; a compilation from the band with about one thousand compilations. Not to worry, it’s the only one I have, in the shape of an old Bulgarian-made LP from 1978 which is, shall we say, well past its prime in terms of physical state, although the sound itself is pretty decent. The Singles A's and B's is only the sixth compilation out of the band’s present total of 42 (!), containing, as its name would imply, a bunch of singles from the first ten years of Deep Purple’s career.

With no real previous knowledge of Deep Purple, I immediately picked up on some of these songs when listening to the compilation. Tracks like Hush and Hallelujah aren’t original Deep Purple compositions although the band nevertheless did a good job of turning these songs into good, catchy singles of their own. The music here consists of a mixture of classic rock and of the band’s first manifestations of heavy metal, although the latter influence is only present on certain songs, certainly not on the covers. This is especially the case on the fourth track, Wring That Neck, which is actually an instrumental and features a considerable heavy metal influence throughout. Don’t ask me what an instrumental song is doing on a best singles compilation, I don’t know. Other considerably more metal than rock songs are the Deep Purple classics, Speed King and Fireball, with the latter having a great, if somewhat short, solo to top it all off.

Many of the songs, especially those more oriented towards to rock side of things, feature very catchy choruses and even verses since they are, after all, singles destined to catch the easily swayed public’s attention. This doesn’t make said tracks anywhere near bad, they’re actually quite enjoyable and, in a way, highlights on the album, especially if the listener doesn’t necessarily seek out too much heavy metal. Such highlights include the two covers, Hush and Hallelujah, as well as Emmaretta and One More Rainy Day, incidentally all on the A side of the LP. One thing that’s common for every single song on this compilation is that 1970’s and sometimes late 1960’s feel they have to them. Obviously I wasn’t around back then to be able to reminisce about the period but the sound here truly does evoke those decades.

In the end, The Singles A's and B's is an enjoyable concentration of the band’s first singles. It’s also an interesting perspective into the early years of Deep Purple, although not all the songs are perfect. While they’re actually quite variable in terms of quality, don’t let either this simple fact nor the existence of 42 distinct compilations by this band deter you from obtaining this cool piece of music. The compilation’s cover is also pretty cool, adding an interesting if ultimately unimportant element its overall quality.