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Showcasing the mellow side of Deep Purple's Keyboard Wizard,
This review is from: Before I Forget (Audio CD)
Beginning his thirty-five year career as a professional musician in the mid-1960s, the (now) 59 year-old Lord found fame as the keyboard player and Hammond organist with the Kings of 1970s heavy rock, Deep Purple. The band continues in some form today (with Lord still filling the keyboarding role), but its zenith was really in the 1970-1975 period, with enduring tracks like Smoke on the Water, Child in Time, Highway Star and various others.
One always had a nagging sense that the collective musical talent in the group was perhaps far greater than the band's output suggested, a theory reinforced by the superior legacy of rivals Led Zeppelin and by the subsequent solo/band efforts of members like Lord, David Coverdale and Ritchie Blackmore, Purple's lead guitarist and founder of Rainbow.
Lord's trademark Jimmy-Smith/rock/blues/soul hybrid organ style and influence on rock keyboard playing have been huge and whilst lacking the 'look at me' technical virtuousity of contemporaries Keith Emerson and Rick Wakeman, became the archetypical Hammond sound in rock, adding significant texture, lustre and depth to Purple's heavy rock chording and giving the band one of the definitive sounds of 1970s rock.
Lord's mid-and-post Purple career has taken the form of a long stint in Whitesnake and successive solo efforts, like Before I Forget, Sarabande, Windows, his theme to Granada TV's Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady and most recently, Pictured Within (Virgin Classics, 1997).
His solo work takes an entirely different journey to his mainstream career, hinting strongly at the classical roots in his student-classical background and encompassing a particularly English-country melodic sense. Gone from this solo work are Purple's power-chording, with a focus instead of piano-based melody, a sense of melancholy and Lord's own lyrics, sung by vocalists, as opposed to screamers. Think of Elgar, meeting a more original Richard Clayderman and you get some sense of Lord's sensibilities on Before I Forget. Tracks like Before I Forget, Burntwood and Where are You? reinforce this texture, whilst Lord takes an altogether jauntier, classical-rock route on pieces like Take a Chance on a Feeling and the rocky Bach Onto This. The latter gives Lord the chance to unleash the famous Hammond B-3 sound, cutting across the melody with his trademark, highly soulful, whirling organ work.
Altogether the album encompasses his diverse skills rather well, with surprising strong piano melodies, simple and sure arrangements and strong accompaniment from vocalist Sam Brown and drummer, Ian Paice. The album simplifies his classical thoughts from previous work like Sarabande (1974, now rereleased and perhaps a more confident and eclectic work) and creates some neat work. Well worth adding to the collection for Purple fans and anyone with a melodic piano-oriented ear.