(Click HERE for Part 3 of the Family Play record playlist)
It’s getting into the evening now and, so far so good – a state of peace and tranquility has managed to maintain itself over our humble household.
That means no one has killed one another, so we’re moving on then with our next listen on this Family Day holiday, the ‘Book of Taliesyn’ album by Deep Purple.
This was HRH’s big score from the flea market a few weekends back. It was more expensive then she was willing to learn but she has learned that batting a few eyelashes will carry her a little favour from the older record dealers and, hey, power to her too as this is what we inevitably get to being home on occasion.
Of course, it also has a oiseau on the cover.
But even with that aside, the cover is Simply the Tits anyway.
‘The Book of Taliesyn’ is the 2nd studio album by English rock band Deep Purple, recorded only three months after ‘Shades of Deep Purple’ and released by Tetragrammaton Records in October 1968, just before their first US tour.
The name for the album was taken from the 14th-century book of the same name; one of the most famous of Middle Welsh manuscripts, dating from the first half of the 14th century though many of the fifty-six poems it preserves are taken to originate in the 10th century or before*.
The structure of this 1968 album is similar to that of their debut, with four original songs and three rearranged covers, although the tracks are longer, the arrangements more complex and the sound more polished than on ‘Shades of Deep Purple’. The music style is a mix of psychedelic rock, progressive rock and hard rock, with several inserts of classical music arranged by the band’s keyboard player Jon Lord.
Some call it England’s then answer to Vanilla Fudge.
I, however, am choosing to ignore that little tidbit.
First thing that jumps out at me is that this record isn’t very warm sounding, and it backs off the “feel good” energy a little bit, filling that in with a more chilling hint in the music. This certainly isn’t dark by any means, but minor keys are fairly present here and there, and there are no signs of any “surf” influence. More serious lyrics are brought to the table as well, some of it talking about things like struggles, but mostly sticking to medieval stories.
Musically, Lord and Blackmore smear this with calm lead sections, giving it a more laid back feeling, with fewer complex or fast solos. Though this isn’t completely absent, it’s less prevalent. No complaints there, because it really matches everything that the band were clearly trying to go for on this record. What this will bring, however, is less catchy licks as well as fewer hooks to really bring me into it.
Purple’s rendition of ‘Kentucky Woman’ is incredible, quite possibly even better than Neil Diamonds. The only thing that confuses me with this, is that it really doesn’t fit the theme or atmosphere of this record, and is just kinda stuck in the middle there.
The mood is certainly changed when going from ‘Hard Road‘ to this, which doesn’t flow very nicely.
So great cover, but odd placement.
This album also contains their second Beatles cover ‘We Can Work It Out’, a pretty good one as well, and is a solid ending for the first side, especially with the little intro they threw in known as ’Exposition’. Perhaps this “book” is a step towards musical maturity; it’s a great album, another essential one in my vinyl collection, and overall carries a cool atmosphere. It doesn’t drop all the rhythm grooves and bluesy expertise, just takes it back a notch, and it’s absolutely worth buying and hearing.
Good choice, HRH!
*The boys claim to be inspired by the Bard of King Arthur’s court in Camelot, Taliesyn. John Vernon Lord, under the art direction of Les Weisbrich, paints a superb wonderland on the album jacket, equal to the madness of Hieronymous Bosch’s cover painting used for the third album. Originals ‘The Shield’ and ‘Anthem’ make early Syd Barrett Pink Floyd appear punk in comparison. Novel sounds are aided by Lord’s dominating keyboards, a signature of this group.