You’re looking at two Machine Head anniversary vinyl reissues; the 1997 25th anniversary edition and the brand new 40th reissue.
The 40th anniversary release has been promoted as the reissue attraction to top them all. Well, OK, perhaps there wasn’t really that much new music around to tempt us with, so the boat was pushed out on the packaging.
You’ll already have Roger Glover’s fantastic 1997 remix, possibly also the surround mixes and quad mixes and whatnot. But not the 60-page hardback booklet featuring all manner of fascinating reading material; detailed essays from Roger Glover himself and Mojo magazine editor Phil Alexander, quotes from Deep Purple fans Mikael Akerfeldt, Peter Hook, Eddie Jordan and others, and an interview with photographer Didi Zill, who photographed the recording session in December 1971.
Sounds like a package worth picking up. But whatever you do, just don’t get the vinyl edition, because that includes absolutely none of the above. The fact is, the Machine Head 40th anniversary LP will be remembered as the poorest Deep Purple reissue ever.
As the photo shows, it consists of an exact replica of the original sleeve. The inner gatefold, which isn’t shown here, also replicates the 1972 original. The LP itself comes in a plain white inner bag with the lyrics fold-out sheet (early version missing a few lines of Never Before) snug in next to it.
The bonus 7″ of Never Before and When A Blind Man Cries comes in a plain Purple records 7″ sleeve also stuck inside the gatefold sleeve.
In fact, the only attempt at extra info is that round black sticker on the front hyping the single. That’s it.
Machine Head has a fascinating story behind it, and as it is Deep Purple’s most popular album, you’d think including the booklet in some form would have been worth EMI’s while here.
Oh yes, the black vinyl has been remastered in 2012. While that might seem attractive, please don’t expect any kind of revelatory aural experience. The 1997 remastered reissue (also with the far superior Glover remix) serves all purposes as far as sound quality goes.
Deep Purple’s followers have always been spoiled with exquisitely packaged and well researched reissues overseen by the capable Simon Robinson and company at the DPAS. Sadly, EMI decided they knew better this time, so they released the LP in a discount packaging very unlike previous anniversary reissues.
Whatever their excuses will be, there’s been an expense cut here which only benefits EMI. You still pay full price for the LP, and we do not recommend it.
Inspect closely the L in Purple on this cover and you realize that whoever did the sleeve has simply scanned an old 1972 sleeve – but forgot to remove the remnants of an old price tag and its glue. Cheap!