Deep Purple – the end of the bootleg road ?

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Deep Purple – the end of the bootleg road ?

Post by The Curator » Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:23 pm

Although I've collected records for over 40 years it’s not easy to bring fresh content to such a long-established forum, so for my first post I thought I’d start a thread beginning with a challenge: why isn’t there a thread relating to Deep Purple in this section of the forum given that it covers 15 pages of posts over a period of more than 15 years ?

I'm curious to work this out because Deep Purple were leaders of that classic era defining heavy rock along with contemporaries Led Zeppelin (who appear regularly in this section) and Black Sabbath. When I was at school you liked all of those bands. Records such as Made In Japan and Machine Head regularly feature in all-time best rock album charts. Purple were the top selling artists of 1973 in the US, for a time the holders of the highest paid attendance record (as headliners along with ELP) at the California Jam in 1974, arguably better live than in the studio and were a heavy-gigging band who were therefore widely recorded. The year after “Great White Wonder” they were bootlegged in the form of “H Bomb”.

Obviously Zeppelin were that bit bigger, but my curiosity in reading this section of the forum arises from the apparent scale of the gap in the level of interest between these two bands among rock fans when it comes to bootlegs.

If the thrill of hearing something fresh that only the most ardent fans possess is at the heart of collecting bootlegs, then have folks simply stopped liking classic era Purple ? Or is it that in officially releasing a comparatively greater number of live albums they've ironically been more effective than Zeppelin in dealing with the issue ?

Thoughts welcome.

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Re: Deep Purple – the end of the bootleg road ?

Post by rooster » Fri Mar 09, 2018 10:03 pm

It's an interesting question. I've been a member of this forum since it began in 2002 and in all that time, I don't really remember any specific large scale Deep Purple discussions. I've been collecting for 35 years and I believe I've come across only one Deep Purple bootleg in the wild. I've been a fan of Deep Purple during that time and have found numerous copies of the studio LPs. In that same time period, many boots of Led Zeppelin, Beatles, Dylan, Jethro Tull, Cream, Grateful Dead and so on have passed through my hands. I can't give any kind of definitive answer to your questions. Deep Purple fans just don't seem to have any questions to ask or information to impart.

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Re: Deep Purple – the end of the bootleg road ?

Post by The Curator » Sun Mar 11, 2018 1:16 am

It's interesting to read your comment about there not having been much dialogue about Purple during your time on the forum.

To my point about bootlegs, sticking with the compassion to Zeppelin, I think part of the difference might lie in how each band has managed its official release catalogue and its legacy. Contemporarily, Purple released live albums Made In Japan and Made In Europe, and between their Mark IV line-up’s watershed demise in 76 and the reformation of the Mark II line-up in 84 there were also Last Concert In Japan, In Concert (BBC), Live In London and odd tracks on the New Live & Rare EP series. By contrast Zeppelin, who were famously protective of their work and whose catalogue Jimmy Page personally oversees with great attention to detail, only had The Song Remains The Same as a live album until the BBC sessions / concert release 17 years after they folded.

Since then Purple have issued, or allowed to be issued on associate labels, a double-digit number of gigs. For example the Long Beach 71, Paris 75 and Graz 75 gigs were on vinyl as part of the Edel / EAR release programme a few years back. So it’s arguable that they managed to reduce bootlegging more effectively than Zeppelin did in the long run by releasing more official live albums.

Having said that there do seem to be various old school Purple bootleg albums out there. For example, Discogs shows multiple variants of the Aachen 70 gig which spawned H Bomb, and also of other gigs some of which were broadcast on radio back in the day. The sleeve picture of one of the best known Purple bootlegs (the soldiers on On The Wings Of A Russian Foxbat) even appears to have subsequently ended up being used on an official release !

So it still leaves me a bit puzzled that Purple get comparatively little interest in this respect, and when I was going through the various sections of the forum and reached this one the overall lack of discussion about Purple that you refer to finally struck me. Bootlegs tend to attract particularly zealous fans, so maybe Purple don’t or no longer have that kind of following…maybe in continuing for so long and through so many line-ups Purple have diluted their legacy compared to the other bands you mention ? In other words maybe folks still like them, but are less fanatical. Certainly they lack an iconic logo. They have less folklore. They don’t seem to have the same aura...

But maybe they just got on with their job - for me their line-ups from 69 to 76 made some of the best music ever, and I began collecting records thanks to discovering the Japanese releases of their singles.

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Re: Deep Purple – the end of the bootleg road ?

Post by rooster » Sun Mar 11, 2018 5:50 pm

You make an interesting point about the commercial live releases. After looking around at various trader's lists, I find that the lone Deep Purple boot I had was an oddity in that it was not an aud. sourced recording. What I had was definitely a radio broadcast. Now, I was never a bootleg snob (particularly during the vinyl record/cassette tape era), but, perhaps the preponderance of less than stellar sounding aud. Recordings has something to do with the lack of conversation about DP boots. Certainly, to take your example of Led Zeppelin, there were in my experience many, many SBD and/or radio broadcasts floating around and available on vinyl.

Additionally, it occurs to me that the DP name seems to have faded from everyday conscienceness in a way that, for instance, Led Zeppelin has not. On any day of the week I can walk down the street and see teenagers in Led Zeppelin T-shirts. This is not the case with Deep Purple. My thought is that marketing may have something to do with it.

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Re: Deep Purple – the end of the bootleg road ?

Post by The Curator » Wed Mar 14, 2018 8:06 pm

I think you have it there. And with the generation who grew up with them now being at retirement age there aren't kids coming along who see them as cool. Maybe that's why Ritchie Blackmore doesn't get listed among the all-time top 10 guitarists these days. Shame.

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