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Them life-questioning chords

Roger Glover and Steve Morse share a joke; Toronto, Feb 12 2012; photo © Nick Soveiko cc-by-nc-sa

Goldmine magazine has another one of those top-something lists (yep, we can hear the eyes rolling from all the way up in our editorial ivory towers). But it is a list on a topic rarely discussed outside the hardcore fan forums — it’s a top 20 of Morse era tracks, and it’s rather eloquently penned by Martin Popoff. So try it out as food for thought. We are sure each one of you has an opinion on the matter. 😉

20. “The Surprising”

We begin this tour of wonders with a vaulted progressive epic from the band’s second album with Bob Ezrin producing, namely Infinite from 2017. What I love about this one is how busy Ian Paice is on the mellow bits (with Steve playing spaghetti Western), and then how two minutes in, the song explodes into a heroic Middle Eastern-tinged heavy prog, featuring spooky, cool keyboards from Don Airey. Don features prominently in the ethereal cool-down as well, and then there’s even more surprises. “The Surprising” was the fourth single from the album, whatever that means.

Continue reading in Goldmine.

Thanks to Mike Whiteley for the heads-up.

32 Comments to “Them life-questioning chords”:

  1. 1
    Gregster says:


    Not a bad selection of tunes at all, & Martin Popoff has a massive collection of well written & organized books too. And I agree completely with his comments, that will close my post up with nicely…( Pat must be Bananas lol ).

    qt.”(Thanks Pat), and a hugely satisfying exercise this was, because there’s so much wonderful music to enjoy, to the point where Deep Purple have become the first name mentioned by many a Youtube album-ranker type as the top example of a heritage act making arguably their best albums in their vintage years. I say satisfying, but by the end of it, I felt like there were so many songs that could have been picked that, in the end, the tally below might reflect the stylistic preferences of the compiler as much as any objective measure of merit. Nothing from Bananas, oddly, which I like nearly as much as all these other records”.

    Martin Popoff

    Peace !

  2. 2
    mike whiteley says:

    Keeping the list to 20 is tough.
    I’ll swap out One Night In Vegas and Throw My Bones for Birds Of Prey & Time For Bedlam.
    Certainly can’t deny the craftsmanship of Purpendicular. Good to see it so well represented.

  3. 3
    Dave says:

    You don’t have to agree but Blood From A Stone and Fingers To The Bone would be in my top 20 and probably more from Rapture of the Deep which I think is unfairly underrated. Some time ago it was reported that Roger had the masters and was going to do something about the sound quality of that album – is there any news on that?

  4. 4
    Meurig Thomas says:

    She Was ……what a great track

  5. 5
    Per Eidnes Sørensen says:

    Great reminder of how much variety we got over the last decades (!) If they had only played more of the stuff live also. Thanks to Steve again for his contribution.

  6. 6
    Martin says:

    Good to see this appreciation for the Morse era material! The bottom line is, these albums show off the unbelievable versatility of the band over those 28 years.

    I’m young enough to have only experienced the Morse albums as “new” releases and so I go excited every time, which sounds and styles a new release will bring.
    So naturally, I am really into the music Steve wrote with the band, despite loving his take on the classic material.

    But, who would have guessed the number 1 (don’t want to spoil…)? I was sure “Sometimes I feel like screaming” would have this place booked… 😉

    The list could easily be expanded… with the songs Mike suggested or with Hey Cisco, Cascades, Things I Never Said, Wrong Man… almost too many good songs!

  7. 7
    Adel Faragalla says:

    The problem most of the Steve Morse collection of album with DP is the fact that the live time given to some of the news songs on stage is very limited.
    For example only one song from whoosh is played live which is (No Need to Shout’
    That’s not a great statement to the SM era.
    Peace ✌️

  8. 8
    yogiEndlich says:

    A good idea, a “best of” the Steve Morse-Years, although my list would be quite different. For example, I was not so convinced by “Whoosh”, and on the other hand, I like “Bananas” very much. My list:

    10. The Aviator – I like it, when they explore new ground. Lovely folky tune by Steve.
    9. Haunted – it’s a bit of a pop-song, but I like it very much.
    8. Vincent Price – it’s a step away from what they do. Very good instrumental part in the middle!
    7. Time for bedlam – a good rocker.
    6. Contact lost – intense!
    5. All I got is you – hypnothic, and with good humor. The drumming is awful!
    4. House of pain – a good rocker, like in the old days.
    3. Bananas – fast, complicated. Love it.
    2. The Surprising – an epic track, much lovely parts, brilliant!
    1. Sometimes I feel like screaming – ein Meisterwerk, how it builds up. Fantastic.

    It would have been great, if they had played some shows only with Steve-Morse-Material. There are enough songs, that are great in their own right.

  9. 9
    mike whiteley says:

    If a new album is released and another touring cycle happens you have to wonder just how much of the 75-90 minute set will be given to Morse era songs.Maybe it’s time to let go of the
    individual solos and audience participation stretches in favour of 2-3 more songs. ( I know,those solos allow Big Ian to take a breather )

  10. 10
    Uwe Hornung says:

    We need a four CD compilation called “The Morse Code”, I‘ve always said that!

    Good choice of tracks, I might not agree with all of them, but that is not he point, I always like to hear what other people‘s favorite tracks are.

    There is no denying that Steve introduced more adventurous chord changes and sophisticated harmonies into the Purple universe. Ritchie was a riffmeister and played interesting scales, but he‘s no harmony/chord change wonder, in his typical songwriting he eschews elaborate or strange chords and he‘s no alternative tunings enthusiast (unlike Jimny Page) either.

  11. 11
    Nino says:

    I agree completely, all the songs are favorites for me. Although, I would add a few more songs. I always enjoy reading or listening to Martin talk about Deep Purple.

  12. 12
    Adel Faragalla says:

    To be honest guys there are lots of great DP songs from the SM era but the ones which always going to the stand out are the ones who made it live on stage and had a life.
    I was at the Astoria in London when DP started promoting Rapture of the Deep and played four songs from the album but only ROTD which made it on the set list and the rest were dropped.
    Sadly the majority of DP songs from SM era was not successful live or dropped to create more space for the MK2 songs.
    Only ‘No Need to Shout’ had a life played live from the Whoosh album.
    That is not a crime and there is no shame in that but I saw DP playing the whole of Machine Head live in 2004 and it was amazing.
    That’s why DP MK2 is heavily played because of its success live on stage.
    But that not taking away anything from the SM time with Purple because all albums had great songs to enjoy.
    Peace 👍

  13. 13
    Uwe Hornung says:

    I always found songs like Ted the Mechanic, Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming or Vincent Price going down well live. I’ve seen a whole hall in Hanau swaying to Rosa’s Cantina or hushed attention when Big Ian sang Haunted. But somehow, over the years, Mark VIII (and before that Mark VII) turned a little lazy and Machine Head/MIJ became their default mode. I thought that unnecessary and I don’t think Purple’s audience appreciation with even casual fans would suffer if they played five to six newish songs in their set. It doesn’t have to be the same ones every night either.

    Ted the Mechanic perhaps died a death because Steve found it increasingly hard to play, that riff with that percussive sound isn’t easy for any guitarist.

  14. 14
    Frater Amorifer says:

    Can’t take away from the time on CDs, we already have those, but they can and do take from theGreat SM. Live. On one early occasion, a “fan” from about 5 rows back kept spitting into Morse’s mouth and not hiding the fact that he was quilty. Naturally, Morse tried to strangle him between songs, but his road Crew got him off of the bastard.

  15. 15
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Anywhere on Earth, lieber FA @14, among any people, there is always at least one idiot. I remember the interview too where Steve admitted that his fuse blew with that particular fan. But at the 30-40 (or even more?) Purple gigs with Steve I have witnessed, his reception with the audience has always been overwhelmingly warm and welcoming. Everyone knew that he wasn’t a moody badass like Blackers with moments of baffling improvisational ingenuity and a high voyeuristic “let’s watch a possible car crash tonight”-entertainment appeal, but ‘just’ an exquisite musician devoted to his craft.

    Us Purple fans knew too that Ritchie was in ‘Dynasty’ terms Alexis who had given Blake Carrington some of his best blissful moments in sex, but that to keep the family together and raise the kids, Krystle, his second wife, was the anchor of stability. Or does anyone believe that Ritchie in 1993 would have been good for another 28 years in an unchanged Mk II line-up (save for Jon’s passing and Don’s entry into the band)? Even the idea seems preposterous to me. The only element of continuity in Ritchie’s life is Candice (and I’m happy for him about her).

  16. 16
    Fernando Azevedo says:

    I think it’s a “crime” that the band never played a show based on songs from the Morse era. OK, the ending could be with Smoke on the Water, Black Night and Hush. But Steve Morse recorded great albums for an entire set. My list, in no particular order, is:

    * House of Pain
    * Sun Goes Down
    * Never a Word

    * Vavoom: The the Mechanic
    * Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming
    * The Aviator
    * Losen My Strings

    * Seventh Heaven
    * Any Fule Kno That

    * Wrong Man
    * Rapture of the Deep
    * Clearly Quiet Absurd

    * Body Line
    * Vincent Price

    * Time For Bedland
    * The Surprising
    * Birds of Prey

    * Nothing at All
    * Step by Step
    * Man Alive

  17. 17
    Rock Voorne says:

    @ 15

    What if……questions…..I know them painfully well.
    But we will never know.

    First association was I d choose authenticity, danger, adventure, drama, exitement …..quality over quantities that were mainly depressing.

    Sometimes I do understand the “appreciation” of the Morse era but still….. espescially live……

    Its confusing… I know I ve been the one suggesting a 4 CD box with mainly Morse era live tracks, incl the MK2 ones Ritchie did not or hardly play live.

    They wont and there must be a reason for that. Or do you think they re mistaken and missing out on something big like they almost had before releasing Made In Japan?

  18. 18
    Uwe Hornung says:

    It would be a nice move if they let Steve curate the box and remaster it as well, perhaps letting him add a few demos of his original song ideas in the process plus having him comment each and every track. That is the way how to do something like that so that nerds like me are in bliss.

    They still might do it … though the fact that nearly 50 years have passed and there still isn’t a single Mark III/IV compilation on the market should discourage you from holding your breath!

    Steve’s (co-)compositions were lovely and thoughtful, but they often need a second or third listen and have none of the wham-bam-in-your-face-immediacy and infectiousness of Blackmore’s trademark riff-o-rama nuggets.

  19. 19
    Gregster says:

    @17…Agreed, a Morse-era boxed-set of CD’s is well warranted. Perhaps there’s ownership rights & distributorship rights that are an expensive legal hassle between differing labels etc etc that outweigh any profits to be made by such a venture.

    Something will pop-up one day, as we do have the “Original Classic Albums” etc releases that contain 5-CD’s per box already in circulation with countless artists, but you’ll find that the bulk of the recordings have reached the 40-year + age. That said, Joe Satriani, John Scofield, Steve Vai & others have these boxed-sets with far younger recordings…

    EarMusic has a section where you can write & discuss matters with them, perhaps they’ll do something if enough people write.

    Also, DiscJapan may have a few live recordings available for you where you can scratch your itch for rare live out-takes.

    Peace !

  20. 20
    Gregster says:

    @18…Perhaps because we have the “Cal Jam” & “Pheonix Rising” in DVD format kills-off any other Mk-III & Mk-IV offerings together.

    But these do appear in any 1970’s era boxed-sets available. Infact you can grab a WB’s 10-CD boxed set that starts with the Concerto, has all the studio albums, & contains MiJ & MiE. The sound is superb, & MiJ is featured with the original mix of L to R panning, or what I call “the stage perspective mix”.


    Peace !

  21. 21
    Peter Mair says:

    great feature and list, must revisit some of these. uncommon man must be a favourite of many, certainly one of mine. Off hand, the others i’d have included would be Clearly quite absurd, fingers to the bone and She was.

  22. 22
    Rascal says:

    It would be great if SM could take some of these tracks on the road. Id like to think it would work.

    SM’s contribution to the Purple Machine is outstanding

  23. 23
    mike whiteley says:

    @21- Peter. Clearly Quite Absurd is buried treasure on ROTD. Lovely, sensitive lyrics, plaintive vocals,Great music & instrumentation ,especially Steve’s use of baritone guitar. As well,Don’s solo on the fade out. Sublime,really.

  24. 24
    Uwe Hornung says:


  25. 25
    Kevin S says:

    Not a bad list but there is a massive gaping error… No Birds of Prey!!! And if it’s Morse era, then the solo here is the defining one all the way past the fade.

    Also, what’s their problem with Turning To Crime. Brilliant covers album and given the circumstances that it was recorded under deserves attention and praise.

  26. 26
    sidroman says:

    If I could pick 3 Morse tracks to permanently be in Purple’s set- The Aviator, Haunted, and Silver Tongue. Peace…..

  27. 27
    Adel Faragalla says:

    I was in New York The Beacon theatre in 2004 and they done two shows the first night opened with ‘House of Pain’ and the second night they opened with ‘Silver Tongue’
    They both sounded great.
    I think it’s very frustrating that DP SM songs didn’t get enough time to grow live.
    For me ‘Rapture Of the Deep ‘ and ‘Sometimes feel like screaming’ were also amazing played live.
    Peace ✌️

  28. 28
    sidroman says:

    Hey Adel,
    My wife and I were at the Beacon theatre show in 2004, we got backstage passes and met the band. The first time I saw Purple was in 96 at the Beacon theatre, it would have been in Chicago in 91 on the Slaves and Masters tour but they cancelled. I believe that Beacon theatre show was in February of 2004, because we saw them again in August 2004 in Englewood, NJ. Was Thin Lizzy fronted by John Sykes the opening band?

  29. 29
    Adel Faragalla says:

    Hi Sidroman
    The two show in 2004 at the Beacon, they played the whole of Machine Head which was an amazing experience and it’s was not a big strain on the set list because ‘Maybe I am a leo’ and ‘never before’ is the only two track that rarely sung from Machine Head.
    I can’t really recall if they played Bananas or hunted or the sun goes down but I remember The House of pain and Silver tongue as they kicked if the two shows with them.
    Peace ✌️

  30. 30
    Chris says:

    I would have no abandon, and a little bit less of the Ezrin Stuff. Somebody Stole my Guitar was a favourite. However you have to rate Birds of Prey above everything for that closing solo, which is just amazing. Every time I saw Steve live he was blisteringly good.

  31. 31
    Some Random Poster says:

    Here’s a chronological Morse era take. Maybe call it Re-Morse.

    Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming
    The Aviator
    Somebody Stole My Guitar
    Any Fule Kno That
    Watching The Sky
    House Of Pain
    Never A Word
    Doing It Tonight
    Rapture Of The Deep
    Before Time Began
    Vincent Price
    All The Time In The World
    Time For Bedlam
    The Surprising
    Johnny’s Band
    Nothing At All
    White Room

  32. 32
    Uwe Hornung says:

    “Maybe call it Re-Morse.”


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