The success of “Hush” in 1968 was more luck than anything. After that they struggled while Richie Blackmore kept evolving the band and the sound. Once the MKII version was in place, things started to change.
“In Rock” was released in 1970 and it definitely got people really interested. “Fireball” came quickly in 1971 and is often overlooked, but it kept the momentum going. “Machine Head” broke the band to a bigger audience in 1972 and in order to capture that success, the label released a live album called “Made In Japan” in December 1972.
Four albums in three years.
And then at the height of their fame, they dropped “Who Do We Think We Are” in 1973, their seventh studio album overall and fifth album in four years.
It would also be Deep Purple’s last album with singer Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover until 1984’s “Perfect Strangers”.
Fame is definitely a funny thing. You bust your ass to get there and then break up once you there.
Because of the touring, the album was recorded in two stages.
In July, 1972, they had some time in Rome to write and record new songs via the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio. The songs from these sessions that are known are “Woman From Tokyo” and an outtake known as “Painted Horse”.
In October, 1972, they had some time to do the same in Frankfurt, West Germany. This is where the remainder of the songs were completed.
Woman From Tokyo
It was the first track recorded in July, written about their life on the road and touring Japan for the first time. It’s also their best track from this album.
As soon as the drum groove started I was thinking of “Run To The Hills” from Maiden.
Ian Gillan combined the names of two people who represented things he hated in the prudish older generation of the time, which made him question how they even had sex.
How did you lose your virginity Mary Long?
It feels like a Lynyrd Skynyrd cut. But this is Deep Purple, the masters of speed, heavy and melodic rock, with a flourish of blues.
It’s almost like early AOR blues rock, something that bands like Foreigner and Survivor would use on their earlier albums.
It’s short but it gets me interested.
The comparison to “Speed King” was always going to happen.
And Jon Lord owns this track with his honky tonk piano and neo-classical Hammond organ solos.
Rat Bat Blue
I like the blues rock riff that starts this song off. A young Jake E Lee, would have been woodshedding this riff, ready to unleash it with Badlands.
Then the keyboard solo kicks in, over another groovy riff by Blackmore and suddenly power metal is born in Finland.
Place in Line
ZZ Top comes to mind here. It’s got that Texan strut, which is a bit different to the way the Brits did the blues.
It reminds me of The Beatles and I like it.
Actually it reminds me of the song “The Real Thing” from Russel Morris who was an Australian artist from the mid 60’s. The song was a hit in Australia and the U.S and it’s got that Beatles influence.
This track was released on the Anniversary edition.
Blackmore would also use the riff from this for “Man On The Silver Mountain” with some minor tweaks.
Musically, it was a move to a more blues-based sound, and the album was criticized for its American sounding songs in the U.K, for “Super Trouper” and “Smooth Dancer”.
And when Gillan and Glover left, everyone thought the band was done. But not Richie Blackmore. He had other ideas and MK3 was about to be born.
This version would release two of my favorite albums would be released.
5 thoughts on “The Record Vault: Deep Purple – Who Do We Think We Are”
4 albums in 3 years. Eventually cracks will happen. Look At KISS between the years of 1976 and 79 and how many KISS studio, live, compilation and solo records came out. That work pace was bonkers yet they pulled it off until 80 when the Catman left.
DP though its amazing they are still going. Something to be said there thats for sure..
I read an interview with Steve Morse recently and surprise surprise, he’s been in the band longer than Blackmore has.
A lesser know album for me, but I do love Woman from Tokyo. I have Machine Head and Made in Japan and then all the Coverdale albums with them, but that is it for me. I need a few more.
My Deep Purple is patchy. I have all the Coverdale releases, and a few MK2 releases
We probably have the same ones.