Song of the Day – “Listen, Learn, Read On” by Deep Purple

Wow… GROOVY man!

Time to dress like Austin Powers and summon the Fembots, because it’s SWINGING TIME!!!

I’m sure lots of you know Deep purple from their international hit “Slow Walking Walter”.  You know the one.  The song goes “Slow… walking Walter… fire engine guy.”  That was from 1972.  This song is from 1968.  Two different band members, one of whom you might have noticed doesn’t sound like Ian Gillan singing.

That there on the microphone is Rod Evans.  He was Purple’s first singer, and he did a fine job.  A fine job he did.  He never got around to the screeching vocal acrobatics that Gillan did, but he certainly could carry a tune.  Him and the original bass player, Nick Simper, got kicked out because Ritchie Blackmore is a fucking jerk.

Seriously, all the personnel changes that purple went through, with the exception of the most recent one, were because of Mr. Blackmore.  Excellent guitarist he is.  In his own words, he could “pretty much mop the floor with any guitarist out there”.  He said that in 1969.  Not a modest man, he.

Looked pretty weird too.  Especially in a pilgrim hat, complete with big rectangular buckle on the front.

In this pic, he appears to be balancing a stick with his eyebrow.  Good on you, Ritchie.  You show the world your talents.

Since I NEVER talk about the actual song in these here Song of the Day posts, lets talk some about Deep Purple’s lineup changes.

  • Rod Evans and Nick Simper fired – Ritchie Blackmore’s fault
  • Ian Gillan and Roger Glover quit – Ritchie Blackmore’s fault
  • Ritchie Blackmore leaves to form Rainbow – you guessed it
  • Tommy Bolin dies of a drug overdose – not Ritchie Blackmore’s fault, but it’s not a lineup change since D.P. had broken up by then
  • After the reunion, Ian Gillan quits – Ritchie Blackmore’s fault
  • Joe Lynn Turner – Ritchie Blackmore was upset about this actually… but had it not been for him, Joe Lynn Turner would not have replaced Gillan for that horrible, horrible album they made.  I’m going to blame Blackmore anyway.
  • Ritchie Blackmore quits – His fault entirely.

Back in 1973 when the “MKII” lineup of the band was recording a mediocre album, the band would write and record the music, and because Blackmore and Gillan couldn’t fucking stand the site of each other, Gillan would come in at night and record vocals.  The song “Smooth Dancer” got lyrics about what a primadonna prick Blackmore is.  So it’s not just me saying this.

The bad blood carried on between the two for years, decades even.  Some choice insults were hurled in separate interviews just before Blackmore left for the last time.

To paraphrase:

Blackmore: “I’m gonna corner Gillan in a dark alley with some friends of mine and we gon’ beat him up some.”

Gillan: “He’s a mental midget.”

That’s not EXACTLY what they said, but it’s pretty close.  You can look it up on the interwebs if you want

So back to 1968 and this song.  This was off their second album, and Blackmore hadn’t yet busted out the amazing guitar chops he had.  I know I slam the guy for being a supreme fucking dick, but he REALLY could play.  And his improvisations and solos on D.P. live recordings are fucking amazing too.  They’re very enjoyable for me to listen to.

Their first 3 albums weren’t in the hard-rock style that they would later be so dominant in.   They have hints of it, but they’re mainly 60s psychedelic rock.  One can not rock hard while wearing tight velvet pants.

And speaking of Rod Evans, he has an interesting story too.  After getting booted from D.P., he followed his lover to America where he joined the nascent Captain Beyond.  He sang on their first two albums.  The first one is an incredible album, and every fan of 70s hard rock should stop reading, get away from your computer and rush out and buy it.  Or download it.


Okay, I’m assuming that everyone still reading this (estimate = 0) either has the first Captain Beyond album already, or has just returned from the store with it and is listening to it right now.

The second Captain Beyond album is good.  I don’t know about any albums after that, because apparently they started to:

  • suck
  • try to be Santana
  • no longer contain Rod Evans

And I really like Rod Evans’s voice.  A weird, sad footnote to all of this Rod Evans business is that after Deep Purple had broken up in the 70s, some scab musicians who specialized in taking over the name of dormant bands and touring as them, claiming that they were said band because of the inclusion in their ranks of one former member of said band, had formed anew as Deep Purple.  Rod Evans was the singer, and the other scabs had to learn Purple songs so they could go on a tour.

This was in 1980.  Apparently, they started in Mexico and nearly got killed in the riot they almost started.  And that wasn’t from the feeling of love from the audience.  Those music fans in Mexico knew when they were being swindled.

The remaining real D.P. band members had to sue Rod Evans and co. so they would stop using the name.  As a result of the lawsuit, Rod Evans no longer gets ANY royalties from any D.P. recordings on which he appeared.

I think by now he sees the 1980 “reunion” as a bad move.  There have been rumors that he worked as a paramedic in L.A. after that.

Well, this is quite an accomplishment.  I’ve written lots and lots and lots of stuff and I haven’t talked about the song much at all.  Ha!

  • Listen to the song
  • Learn that I tend to ramble on and on about shit that only I care about
  • Read On for more of the same!