EPISODE SIX 'Love, Hate, Revenge'|
Castle/Sanctuary CMEDD894 (2005)
Many will know Episode 6, if at all, as the band from which Ritchie Blackmore poached Ian Gillan and Roger Glover to Deep Purple. But they are also collected by those with no interest in Deep Purple, and quite rightly so.
With their roots in the early 60s, it was during the mid and late 60s that the band, centred around keyboard player Sheila Carter, recorded some great (and some not so great) singles for Pye. Mixing rock with 60s pop, and touches of psyche, west coast and progressive.
Disc One here compiles all of their singles As and Bs, and a few are new to CD despite all the previous compilations. There are some beautiful 60s tunes here, showing why the band are so revered and itís amazing when you think how unsuccessful the band were. On the evidence here they should have been huge.
Ianís vocals, at the pop end of his range, is great, powerful, the ultimate frontman if a little embryonic.
Highlights include 'I Hear Trumpets Blow' (a fine vocal performance), 'Morning Dew', 'Mighty Morris Ten' (the vocal harmonies giving a hint of that surf sound) and 'Mr Universe', a Gillan/Glover number that would lend its name to a Gillan album some 10 years on.
'Mozart Verses The Rest' is one of the heavier and progressive tracks, with some explosive guitar work from Tony Lander.
Some of the later work was bolstered by drummer Mick Underwood, whoíd previously played with Blackmore in the Outlaws and would later turn up in Quatermas, Strapps and Gillan (if you think the history is complex, Iíve barely scratched the surface, go read the excellent sleevenotes).
There are some post Gillan/Glover singles included, but by then the numbers were up for the band, as Iím sure Sheila Carter would have been the first to admit.
Disc Two features 22 tracks, largely previously unreleased, comprising demos, alternate versions and live tracks. Like their singles, the stage set mixed originals and covers, and here 'A Crazy Shade Of Winter' is really worth checking out.
For what it is and when it dates, coupled with the great packaging, it really is worth your money.
Review by Joe Geesin