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We listen to the new album, part 3 =1

The fine folks at earMUSIC have kindly allowed The Highway Star to review Deep Purple’s new album =1 ahead of its July 19 release date. We’re looking at a couple of songs per segment, and this time we’re opening with a full blown ballad replete with strings and painful lyrical conflict.

6 – If I Were You – opens calmly with a melody line from Simon McBride underpined by Glover’s signature choice of barely there yet superbly supportive bass notes.

Then we drift into a smooth and laidback ballad. At the forefront sits Ian Gillan’s sentimental voice with possibly the album’s greatest and most gripping vocals yet. Sounding both gentle and tormented in the here whispered there yelled delivery, Gillan’s voice is very much on the ball yet also displays the patina texture of 60+ years of experience. There’s a sturdy fragility here that carresses your ears in much the same way a beautifully aged and smoothly planed plank of oak receives the touch of your fingertips. Delicate, grained and strong.

Ian sings over a relaxed backing with Airey’s swelling Hammond chords creating a blissful atmosphere, and by the second verse we’re joined by the soothing sounds of a string section.

McBride turns in his best Steve Morse likeness on a melodic and gentle solo that slowly ascends to a beautiful climax. The tight band provide very classy backing while still letting a few fun details slip through – but always only so much as to support the song.

Towards the end, the’re an instrumental theme section with only backing vocals adding a lovely touch, then building up to a masterful crescendo ending.

The lyrics are worth a study. Your guess is as good as mine. I guess.

You hit me where it hurt
Left me face down in the dirt
You hit me with a cheap shot
Took me down, never gave it a thought

I never saw it coming, especially from you
Right out of the blue
If I were you
If I were you

And now you wanna make up
Put aside this little shake up
I don’t know what else there is to say
It all belongs to yesterday

Love and betrayal
Are not the best of friends
Getting back with you is the last thing on my mind
Without that feeling that goes against the grain
It can never be the same again

If I were you
If I were you
Why think of something when my blood runs cool?


Love and betrayal
Are not the best of friends
Getting back with you is the last thing on my mind
Without that feeling it goes against the grain
Can never be the same again

If I were you
If I were you
I’ll think of something when my blood runs cool
If I were you …

7 – Pictures of You – was the deceptively catchy second single off =1. You will all have heard it by now, and it offers an entirely different slant on McBride’s Purple with its super melodic delivery and tight backing. At first, confusing, then developing into a slow grower that by now just rests easy on the ears.

It chugs along quite nicely before getting a little bit busier and slighty funky during the bridge, ending in a manic laugh from Gillan as McBride and Airey take it upon themselves to embellish the riff even more.

Then, after another chorus, the mood suddenly intensifies and we drift off into a classically inspired, quiet, emotive and moody ending. Very beautiful – and it could have gone on for much longer (perhaps live?) – but suddenly we’re taken right into the next track.

8 – I’m Saying Nothin’ – Gillan exclaims the title, and we’re into a mid tempo groove with a thick and relaxed swagger. The songs is heavy with intent, sports a smartish delivery with colourful synth effects and layered vocals, all to pleasing effect.

The song feels loose, the band feels live and we’re together with them in the same room.

The bridge sees a subtle change of feel, then a break and go off into a wringing, dirty guitar solo from McBride who trades licks with Airey’s airborne fingers in a manner which really reaches out and grabs our attention.

A couple of interesting chord changes finish the solo, and we’re back with Ian Gillan. In terrific form for the final verse, he gets bitchy on the words, spits them out with disdain while claiming to not be saying a word, his lips are sealed – before the song comes to a boomy, sudden ending.

Possibly the least excellent track on the album yet, but the band’s effortless efforts still display an incredibly high standard.

Did you catch the brand new promo video for track 9, Lazy Sod? Someone at EarMUSIC let it out, and we found it on YouTube – yet it seems to only appear at infrequent intervals. Keep looking.

Read also: Part Two. Part One.

36 Comments to “We listen to the new album, part 3 =1”:

  1. 1
    Uwe Hornung says:

    How I have erred in my wavering faith, St Rasmus!


    The lyrics to If I Were You could very well (also) apply to a certain banjo player we all know. They sure indicate that Big Ian really isn’t the forgiving type.

  2. 2
    David Black says:

    Uwe, I’m not sure it is about the banjo player.

    And now you wanna make up
    Put aside this little shake up
    I don’t know what else there is to say
    It all belongs to yesterday

    Don’t think the banjo player “wanna make up”!

  3. 3
    Gregster says:


    2 & 2/7 weeks to go yo !

    Peace !

  4. 4
    Peter J says:

    Thanks Rasmus !

    Can’t wait to hear the ballad, Gillan is always incredible on that type of songs, I wish they/he record more of them.

    And I can’t see the connexion with RB neither.

  5. 5
    Wiktor says:

    My attension this time is not so much on another song from the coming album I´ll wait for the release of the album. No my attension is on the picture of Gillan and Glover..two old men with glasses talking about the songs lyrics..and then I look at my wall where there is a picture of Deep Purple from 1971..two young men at that time..but after all these years they are still at it!!

  6. 6
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I think Ritchie has been wanting to make up – in his own slightly underhand and not always immediately recognizable way – for a long time, he’s been sending signals (that regularly shatter at Big Ian’s post-hurt-fortifications). One thing you can say about Blackmore is that he doesn’t bear grudges all that long (that is IG’s department), to him his DP days are now a distant memory bathed in a warm nostalgic light and all past strife has become hazy. He’s done well and so have DP.

    And that is why, lieber David, exactly the lyric snippet you quoted let me to think of TMIB. I thought “that sounds so like Ritchie!” But who knows, I don’t profess to be the High Priest of Exegesis in Big Ian’s cavernous temple of lyrical might.

  7. 7
    Gregster says:


    Who the heck is this guy Ritchie ???…And why are we discussing him ???…

    Are we talking about some fellow who lives in a castle dressed like a gnome ???…

    Spinal Tap indeed LOL !

    @6 said…( regarding DP’s now Hobbit / Orc )

    qt.”His DP days are now a distant memory bathed in a warm nostalgic light and all past strife has become hazy. He’s done well and so have DP”…


    Peace !

  8. 8
    MacGregor says:

    I am not sure why some think the lyrics are autobiographical? Could be talking about anyone. Cheers

  9. 9
    Svante Axbacke says:

    @8: Beacause with all artists, people seem to think everything they write has to come from their personal experience. If this was true, Dio would have had some really interesting experiences in his life. Also, DP fans like to squeeze in the IG/RB dispute into every little thing that concerns the band. I think these things take up way more time and space in the minds of the fans than it does among the ones actually involved. 🙂

  10. 10
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Svante, you don’t actually mean to say that Dio did NOT have a pet dragon, did NOT do forced labor on a tower building site in Babylon, did NOT liberate green-sleeved damsels in distress, NEVER drowned a priest, FAILED to join an assassination squad against royalty and NEVER climbed that silver mountain? What a friggin’ fraud.

    But Lady Starstruck did exist, she was a Ritchie stalker, you can’t take that away from me too!

    And don’t you dare doubt the existence of Mitzi Dupree! It gets personal then. There is organic life between ping and pong.

  11. 11
    David Black says:

    Mitzi Dupree is 100% real. I’ve got a newspaper clipping of her being prosecuted somewhere in Canada.

  12. 12
    Stathis says:

    Got my first couple of listens to the full LP. In a word… WOW!

  13. 13
    Al says:

    @ 10

    Well Uwe, The art of painting is the most abstract form out there, but Gillan/ Glover lyrics has gone above and beyond in the recent years. I mean take “ Loosen my Strings “ From the interview Of , Who would’ve thought that this song lyrics is done from the perspective of the guitar talking?! As much as Would like to Fantasize and draw conclusions Some of the songs are literally the story of their lives: Smoke on the water, Ted the mechanics

  14. 14
    MacGregor says:

    Uwe those ping pong balls you seem to be obsessed with are obscuring your ‘vision’ it seems. Freud would have good a client there me thinks. Cheers.

  15. 15
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I don’t know about Freud, but that post just popped out with me.

    Ooh, have another drink …

    BTW, Sigmund is the only psychologist who makes sense to me.

  16. 16
    Kidpurple says:

    These songs all sound great -can we just get the album !?
    Gillan could be talking about MaryLong or is he talking to himself as in -The First Sign of Madness!

  17. 17
    Uwe Hornung says:

    “Mitzi Dupree is 100% real. I’ve got a newspaper clipping of her being prosecuted somewhere in Canada.”

    I detest it when life-affirming sports activities are suppressed.

  18. 18
    David Black says:

    OCT. 3, 1981
    Mitzi, the Los Angeles exotic dancer who wowed the…
    KAMLOOPS, B.C. — Mitzi, the Los Angeles exotic dancer who wowed the crowds at a local pub with her innovative use of ping pong balls, a flute and cigarettes, will stand trial Jan. 12 on a charge of committing an indecent act.
    Michelle Pradia, 22, who dances under the name of Mitzi Dupree, pleaded not guilty during a brief appearance in Kamloops Provincial Court Friday.
    The charge was laid Wednesday after RCMP officers watched what patrons have called an ‘incredible’ act at the Bar-K tavern.
    Bar-K owner Ronald Thompson hired the stripper two week ago to boost business during the slack daytime hours. She certainly did that.
    Patrons packed the house daily to see Ms. Pradia — utilizing parts of her anatomy other than her mouth or hands — perform stunts such as play the flute, smoke a cigarette and pop ping pong balls into the audience.
    She continued to perform after she was charged, but stopped using ‘props,’ said Thompson. Her two-week contract expired Friday.
    Thompson said Ms. Pradia was upset with all the publicity about her act and with the charge laid against her.
    ‘She’s not a drinker, she doesn’t do drugs,’ he said. ‘All she does is dance and shoot ping pong balls and send half her money home to her mother who has cerebral palsy.’
    Kate Lynch, owner of the Choice Entertainment booking agency in Vancouver which handles Ms. Pradia’s engagements, agreed there had been an apparent miscarriage of justice.
    ‘She’s straight as a string,’ she said. ‘She’s like a nun herself, but her show is something different.’

    When the first ping-pong ball sailed across his bar, nobody was more astounded than Ron Thompson, proprietor of Kamloops’ soon-to-be infamous Bar-K tavern.

    Sure, admits Thompson, he knew the act he’d booked was an exotic dancer from Los Angeles, California, and there was bound to be some R-rated entertainment in his bar that night, but this … this …

    “I’d dealt with exotic dancers back in Manitoba, but nothing prepared me for that. It wasn’t quite what I had in mind, not at all,” laughs Thompson, who remains a resident of Kamloops, long after the old tavern closed.

    Some 35-years after the fact, the name Mitzi Dupree still resonates with many in Western Canada.

    Back then, in a decidedly-risque novelty act that left jaws hanging and the local constabularies rushing over en masse to “investigate,” Dupree went from little-known stripper to scandalous celebrity sensation in a cross-province tour that had to been seen to believed.

    And according to the owner of the bar where it all started, they saw — everybody saw.

    “There were tables full of lawyers, bank managers, businessmen, suits and so many women. Anybody and everybody you can think of was there, watching,” he says.

    As the newspapers put it back in 1981, “patrons packed the house daily to see (Dupree) — utilizing parts of her anatomy other than her mouth or hands — perform stunts such as play the flute, smoke a cigarette and popping pong balls into the audience.”

    Yes, Mitzi Dupree, forever after known as the “Queen of Ping-Pong” had somehow mastered her own domain, so to speak, and it’s said she could fire a volley of ping-pong balls from the stage into patrons’ pints of beer with remarkable, if slightly cringe-worthy, accuracy.

    Thompson admits he was taken aback.

    “I’d booked through a talent agent in Vancouver, and I told that agent what I was looking for, and she just said, ‘I’ve got just the act for you.’” he remembers. “I booked Mitzi unseen. I had no idea. My bar manager was in hysterics.”

    Perhaps it was the era, but Mitzi Dupree became an overnight sensation.

    Western Canada in the early 1980s was a lot like Western Canada now, burdened with a sputtering economy and a lot of long faces to go with the doom, gloom and daily unemployment statistics.

    That may explain why something so hilarious, pointless and vulgar captured the popular imagination of the time so completely: There was nothing serious about Mitzi Dupree, and love the act or hate it, she offered a distraction and something to talk about that could only leave people blushing and laughing.

    Unless you were the Kamloops RCMP of course, in which case, ping-pong balls were suddenly very serious business.

    In October 1981, after a local newspaper reporter broke the story of the ping-pong ball sensation at the Bar-K, police filed charges against Dupree under her real name (Michelle Pradia), claiming the 22-year-old American dancer had violated local obscenity laws.

    Of course, a phalanx of cops had been forced to watch the entire show in Thompson’s sold-out bar to reach this conclusion, and so on Jan. 12, Dupree went to trial to explain herself and her unusual talents to a judge.

    Thompson himself was a character witness: “She’s not a drinker, she doesn’t do drugs. All she does is dance and shoot ping pong balls and send half her money home to her mother who has cerebral palsy,” he told the court.

    Perhaps he was a fan of table tennis, or just considered the RCMP painfully prudish, but the judge acquitted Dupree.

    The dancer reportedly thanked the journalist who’d tipped the cops afterwards, saying his story had increased her booking fee from $500 a week to $5,000.

    For the next couple of years, Dupree performed for sold-out bars across the country, including major centres like Calgary, and her fame spread far and wide, to the point that the band Deep Purple even penned a song about her.

    But one place Dupree never popped a ping-pong ball again was the Bar-K.

    “I ended the show after a week — it just wasn’t where I wanted to go as a bar. I just wasn’t prepared for that kind of notoriety,” says Thompson. “It was just too much for me.”

    June 12, 2017 at 12:48 AM
    Sandy Lawson said…
    I met Michelle at the Playboy Club where she was performing in Prince George, BC c. 1981 while my band played the adjoining bar, The Generator. We dated on and off for about three months, so far as our respective tours would allow. She was a very “normal” woman in person and a joy to spend time with. Her onstage persona was just that: a performance. It’s my understanding she was killed in Seattle a few years later; a bystander of a street shooting outside a club.

  19. 19
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Thanks David, I knew some of this, but not that in depth (no pun intended).

    What I loved about Ian’s lyrics was that they weren’t just salacious, he gave Mitzi/Michelle an identity and you could tell from the song that she had natural charm as Big Ian was smitten with her. It was a cute story.

    She was a pretty girl too.


    Sad to hear that she fell victim to a shooting, I was somehow hoping she was now a content grandmother with a bunch of grandchildren hopping around her and her kids working as investment bankers and medical doctors.

    I’ve worked in the red light business as a young man. You meet all kinds of people there – good and bad ones – like in any job. Mitzi from her description reminds me of some people I got to know there.

    Rest in a flurry of ping pongs, Michelle.


    And if I’d ever form a Deep Purple tribute band it would be called Mitzi Dupree, promise!

  20. 20
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Oh wow, this gets better and better! The ‘Sandy Lawson’ David mentions at the end of his post @18 as having dated Mitzi/Michelle? You can see him here, he’s one of the guitarists (I can’t say which one for sure, but I have a hunch he’s the mustached lead guitarist on the right playing the Gibson Flying V) of Sentinel, a Canadian hard rock band of the time.


    They usually did their own material.




    Not a bad band actually, very Canadian sounding, reminds me of April Wine.

  21. 21
    Attila says:

    Lucky. So?

  22. 22
    MacGregor says:

    A flute? Now I am much more interested, very musical indeed. Cheers.

  23. 23
    MacGregor says:

    @ 19 – Thanks Uwe for ruining my table tennis for me. A sport I have played a lot of & I also owned my own table for many years. That enduring image of waiting for the serve from the opposing player & all of a sudden there are two ping pong balls to deal with at the same time. Impeccable timing is crucial as we know in many things in life & no doubt Mitzi Dupree would have been experienced enough to deliver a cracking serve. Glad I didn’t ever think of Mitzi when I last played competition during 2018. I would have lost that point for sure, every time. All this talk of cricket & table tennis, who to blame, Ian Gillan of course & Uwe for his fascination with Mitzi. RIP Mitzi. Cheers.

  24. 24
    David says:

    @stathis How did you get to hear the whole album (just curious)? Glad to hear it’s a wow!

  25. 25
    Uwe Hornung says:

    There is nothing Mitzi ever did that could “ruin” anything for me. What a ping pong prude you are, Herr McGregor!

    I had my first fringe-sexual encounter on a skiing trip of my school when I was 15, but the experience was sufficient to establish for me beyond the slightest doubt that sex beats sports activities by a mile. The others went skiing while we explored new worlds.

    You just continue with your table tennis, Herr McGregor, that’s alright.

  26. 26
    Dr. Lao says:

    Uwe, MacGregor, and curious others….

    I am aware of such performances in the exotic Far East. In the deepest, darkest recesses of a place called Bangkok in fact. Beyond the Mitzi Dupree ping pong spectacle, other flying objects have also been observed…..


    Now, could it be that our intrepid adventurer Big Ian witnessed similar and was inspired to name an album after same?

    A mystery to ponder!!

  27. 27
    MacGregor says:

    @ 25 – too hard on the knees Uwe, you know what it is like as you get older ole son! Snooker is my other favourite sport & I am being serious here. As tempting as that may be for a few ‘double entendre’ comments. So it is cricket, table tennis & snooker for me. Cricket I have long given up, table tennis I could still play & I still have my bat (racket) just in case. Snooker & it is a matter of finding a full size table somewhere that isn’t surrounded by people drinking alcohol etc. We retire gracefully Uwe. Cheers.

  28. 28
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Dr Lao, that mysterious Far Eastern spring fountain of eternal wisdom defying gravity …. oops, there is another banana being launched!

  29. 29
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Snooker? I’m happy you still have that same ole thrust with the balls, Herr McGregor, you propulsive little possum!


  30. 30
    Dr. Lao says:

    Grasshopper Uwe,

    The Far East holds many mysteries for those who dare explore its dark corridors.

    Now behold a tale of many circumstances which in themselves become a confluence of oddities.

    In the year 1970 there was a young man of long hair named Ian Gillan who took on the guise of the heroic Jesus Christ Superstar.

    And in that same year, on the same stage, there was another man named Murray Head who wore the cloak of the villainous Judas.

    Thus begat a tale of intrigue and treachery which ended tragically with the sacrifice of the hero.

    But just as there were Three Wise Men and there is a Holy Trinity; there was on the Third Day, a Resurrection of the hero.

    And lo, the hero went on an epic adventure, singing great tidings of Kings of Speed, Nights of Blackness, Dances at the Borealis, and many other rousing tales.

    As the herald of a band of royal purple minstrels, the hero was handsomely rewarded with a king’s ransom of riches and treasures.

    So smitten were the masses with this bard and his virtuosi companions, they became with two other bands of the land, The Unholy Trinity.

    But a price must be paid when one visits the worlds of opposites, the Yin and the Yang, the East and the West, the Holy and the Unholy.

    Once again the number three appeared.

    Just as there are three wishes and there are three dimensions, three years had passed.

    That fateful year 1973 saw our western hero and his minstrels part sorrowfully in of all places, the Far East.

    But the tale does not end there, for we shall now revisit the year 1970 when the hero after his resurrection, faced a fork in the road.

    The fork tine leading to Gotham’s broad ways, or the tine leading to the big rock candy mountain.

    The hero chose the purple rock, but as I have told you, it did not last.

    And just as there are seven planets, and there are seven heavens; seven years passed into 1977.

    In that year the hero sang a song of Scarabus, a tale of black magic.

    The hero’s incantation “I’m the king of sorcery if you care to serve me true I’ll make some gold for you”

    But beware the dark arts say I, Dr. Lao, man of Seven Faces.

    For as there are seven seas, and there are seven wonders of the world, seven more years passed into 1984.

    And in that year, the nemesis Murray Head sang a song of One Night in Bangkok, a tale of debauchery and deceit.

    The nemesis crooned “One night in Bangkok and the world’s your oyster, the bars are temples but their pearls ain’t free”

    And just as there are three strikes and there are three guesses, another three years passed into 1987.

    In that fateful year the hero told a tale of an astounding spectacle.

    He spoke of a fair maiden who possessed a multitude of small white spheres and who could propel them through the air at great velocity

    And whereof did he speak of such a fable?

    The hero stated “…I’d seen her act before in a room behind a kitchen in Bangkok”

    My dear Grasshopper…..the numbers all add up. The coincidences too numerous to discount.

    Beyond the hero and the nemesis, there is a third party in this tale

    And that person number three…….Mademoiselle Mitzi Dupree!

    So now I will close this chronicle and let you ponder how such fantastic coincidences can unfold.

  31. 31
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Dr Lao, I have to digest this avalanche of mysticism and numerology first …


    But you knew lyrics from IGB, that makes you a (valued) minority here!

    But didn’t you forget Rod Evans’ outpourings in ‘Listen, Learn, Read On’? 😎

    “So listen,
    so learn,
    so read on
    You gotta turn the page, read the Book of Taliesyn …

    “Three times I have been born
    I know this from meditation…”

    The bird he flies the distance
    From pages two to six
    Past minstrels in their boxes
    To the waters of the Styx”

    I think I’ll stick with ping pong artistry!!! 🤣

  32. 32
    Dr. Lao says:

    Grasshopper Uwe,

    I see that you have visited the Scarabus wizard’s lair and have been touched by the orb.

    The orb can unlock wondrous secrets, but take heed, to the Hard Road it can lead.

    Lo…River Deep, Mountain High

    There can be great heights, but there too can be bottomless depths

    Beware when the siren sings a song of ping pong

    Like Ulysses, lash yourself tightly to the mast until the danger’s past

    For as our Purple hero of erstwhile long hair once wrote of temptation…..

    “put the evil in my mind…

    “I used to sing and say my prayers, lived my life without a care….

    “Now I have become a fool, because I listened to The Mule”

    So my young Grasshopper, I thee implore

    The scholar’s cap must ye don….Listen, Learn and Read On.

    For ’tis better to “smoke the pipe of a sweet and better life…..

    “And trust in the strength of The Shield”.

  33. 33
    Auntie Purplette says:

    Nice young man Uwe @ 29. Where on earth did you find that old photograph of me? I haven’t seen that one in years!

  34. 34
    Thorsun says:

    McGregor! I love snooker too, I’m avid fan both of the sport and players BUT also I endorse the commentators from Eurosport – Dave Hendon, Phil Studd and Joe Johnson. I learned a fair bit of English since 1996 thanks to them, I love listening to their voices and how they guide the viewers through the game!

  35. 35
    MacGregor says:

    @ 34- Thorsun I am a little out of touch with the later era snooker broadcasts here in Oz. I do remember the BBC snooker series on our ABC tv from the 70’s & into the 80’s. The commentators were usually good & it is nice to hear they still are. I haven’t played for a while though. Maybe it is time to head out & find a venue with a table or two. A nice & relaxing game to play even if by ones self & practising etc. Cheers.
    @ 29- Uwe as you would be aware it is all about the timing & the placement etc & planning the next move. Cheers.

  36. 36
    David Black says:

    C’mon Rasmus..Part 4 please

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