Recording information: 1970/1972.
This double-disc set by Eagle Rock is a reissue of the 2001 CD presentation offered by EMI, but offers bonus tracks. It contains two discs of Deep Purple in their prime, recorded in 1971 and 1972 by the BBC for their In Concert series. Disc one is introduced by John Peel and features prime DP performances, including "Speed King" and lengthy versions of "Child in Time," the nearly 19-minute blues jam "Wring That Neck," and the Jimi Hendrix-inspired "Mandrake Root," which plods on for over 17 minutes. Disc two -- introduced by DJ Mike Harding -- was recorded just prior to the band's smash Machine Head offering, and therefore offers the very first public presentations of "Highway Star," "Smoke on the Water," "Maybe I'm a Leo," "Lazy," and "Space Truckin'," as well as an encore performance of Little Richard's "Lucille," rearranged in perfect DP excess. Hardcore fans of DP -- or those who are interested only in the band's best material -- will want this. ~ Thom Jurek