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Articles Home » 1973 Articles » Deep Purple - 1973 Who Do We Think We Are
Deep Purple - 1973 Who Do We Think We Are

ARTIST: Deep Purple
ALBUM: Who Do We Think We Are
LABEL: Purple
YEAR: 1973
CD REISSUE: 1987, EMI (UK), CDP 7 48273 2 * 2000, EMI, 7243 5 21607 2 3 (Anniv edition, remastered, bonus tracks)


LINEUP: Ian Gillan - vocals * Ritchie Blackmore - guitar * Roger Glover - bass * Jon Lord - keyboards, hammond organ * Ian Paice - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Woman From Tokyo * 02 Mary Long * 03 Super Trouper * 04 Smooth Dancer * 05 Rat Bat Blue * 06 Place In Line * 07 Our Lady


A few weeks before the passing of Jon Lord I had already made the decision to review this album, simply because it is so poor. With Lord's death I certainly see no reason to change that opinion, with the famed MK2 lineup at the end of their rope both musically and professionally when this album came around. True 'Machine Head' was an undeniable classic, following the weak 'Fireball', but relentless touring had begun to break the band down right when they were approaching Led Zeppelin like status. We've all heard the stories before, but Gillan had all but made his mind up to quit following the album and given its weakness it's hard to argue with his decision some 40 years later. This was the first Purple album I ever bought and when I was younger I probably thought it was a nifty hard rock album, but in reality it's the bands 70's version of 'The Battle Rages On'.

The Songs
I won't deny 'Woman From Tokyo' isn't a classic, but the one thing about this album that has always bothered me is the lack of sting in the production. The band doesn't sound anywhere near as heavy as they had on their three previous albums. I'm sure everyone reading this has heard this song over and over and over, particularly in the U.S. where it's a stale staple of classic rock radio. Just for that I can go without ever listening to it again. As an aside I'm certain Steve Harris ripped off the bassline during the breakdown at the 3:16 mark. The rot sets in immediately after this with the tepid blues rock of 'Mary Long', where the 'going through the motions' term really applies. It's labored and all filler. 'Super Trouper' is a clunky track, short and with only a listenable solo by Blackmore to recommend it. 'Smooth Dancer' and 'Rat Bat Blue' are faster and heavier, more traditional Purple. The thin production hurts them both and if they had been recorded in 1972 would have probably gone down as classics. Allegedly the lyrics of 'Smooth Dancer' revolve around Gillan's disdain for Blackmore, a recurring theme over the years. These songs save the album from plumbing the ultimate depths, because 'Place In Line' and 'Our Lady' are both abysmal. The slow, interminable drawl of 'Place In Line' is never ending and not even Blackmore and Lord's interplay can save it. 'Our Lady' also grinds along at a dull pace, with dream like atmospherics and an absence of originality and inspiration. It sounds like a track from a Rod Stewart album.

In Summary
As was Purple's want, there were only seven tracks on display and by all accounts that was a miracle judging from the mostly disastrous recording sessions. The studio outtake 'Painted Horse' derived from this album isn't much better, following the same blues direction as much of the material. Given Purple's standing at the time it still went gold quickly, but it was much maligned overall and to this day is balked at by many. Listening to 'Burn' makes me realize just how weak it really is. Purple clearly needed the change and this stands as their poorest of the 70's. Is it as bad as 'Battle Rages On' though? Honestly I don't think anything could ever surpass that for MK2's worst, although the Steve Morse years.. well that's another story.

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#1 | MUSCLE on July 23 2012 15:07:46
Ain't no denying it. This album is pure shite. Really when you look at that MK2 line up the foundations were wrong from the get go. I concede that In Rock is a great album that laid down a lot of the basics for heavy metal, but man, even that album is derivative of The Nice in a lot of parts. It seems as though the band didn't have any real inspiration for originality. And when you look at MK2's overall output it's hard to reach any other conclusion. Burned and bummed out within three odd years. Still, would you say this is worse than Bananas, or Rapture Of The Deep? Tough call man. hmm!
#2 | gdazegod on July 23 2012 15:35:10
I think we should go the whole hog and review 'Fireball' and 'Machine Head', put some closure on the MK2 lineup once and for all.
#3 | dangerzone on July 23 2012 16:20:46
I've really come to dislike the Morse albums. They are all incredibly dull and almost impossible to sit through. At least 'Battle Rages On' didn't take itself so seriously and Blackmore even at Purples worst is still more inspired than the Morse slop. I'd take 'WDWTWA' anyday over those.
#4 | rkbluez on July 23 2012 21:53:46
WDWTWA is classic my favorite albums by them...with some of John Lords best keyboard's an album I never get tired of listening to with the exception of the song Mary Long which isn't one of my fav Purple tracks...this album blows Morse era stuff out of the water...this is classic 70's rock....nuff said.
#5 | jefflynnefan on August 04 2012 20:16:10
This is one of my faves from when I was a kid. This album, along with Three Dog Night's 'Naturally' and CCR's 'Cosmo's Factory' were the ultimate!
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