Who Do We Think We Are

Deep Purple

Warner Brothers, 1973


REVIEW BY: David Bowling


Who Do We Think We Are was the seventh studio album by Deep Purple and the fourth and last (until 1984) to include the classic Gillan, Blackmore, Glover, Lord, and Paice lineup. Gillan and Glover left the group following the release of this album and were replaced by vocalist David Coverdale and bassist Glenn Hughes.

Infighting and ultimately personal changes, plus the release of such strong and classic albums as Machine Head and Live In Japan, have served to overshadow Who Do We Think We Are. All of this is unfortunate, as I consider this album to be one of the group’s strongest. It also contains my favorite Deep Purple song.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

This is a short album clocking in at just over 34 minutes. The brevity of this release provides a tight structure for the group, especially Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord, which is missing on many of their releases. The solos and improvisations are kept under control, too, which is welcome.

The classic Deep Purple track “Woman From Tokyo” kicks off the album. Crashing chords, subtle bass, changing tempos, good vocals, and a solid piano line which connects the two parts of the song all add up to a memorable track.

Three better-than-average tracks complete side one of the original LP release. “Mary Long” has pulsating rhythms behind Ian Gillan’s screeching vocal performance, and the lyrics even tell a story, which is rare for Deep Purple. “Super Trooper” is really too short, but Blackmore sets a melody and Jon Lord underpins this guitar sound with some solid keyboard work. “Smooth Dancer” returns the group to frenetic paced rock & roll. It is Jon Lord’s keyboards that drive this song rather than Blackmore’s guitar.

The second side of this album provides some of the best listening in the Deep Purple catalogue; for one, “Rat Bat Blue” is my favorite cut from the group. Blackmore’s opening guitar chords sets the stage for Ian Gillan’s vocals, and the track itself looks ahead to Blackmore’s next group, Rainbow. It is really five minutes of rock & roll bliss. Meanwhile, “Place In Line” is a slower blues oriented track that places the emphasis squarely on Ian Gillan’s vocals. Deep Purple in slow mode is always a welcome addition to any recording. “Our Lady” is not of the quality of the first two songs but comes across as an average Purple song with Blackmore’s guitar and Lord’s keyboards providing the foundation.

Who Do We Think We Are is an overlooked gem and should be essential listening for any listener interested in Deep Purple and the evolution of hard rock.

Rating: A-

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© 2008 David Bowling and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Warner Brothers, and is used for informational purposes only.