February 12th 1973

“Arguverge” / “Bort Who Do We Think We Are – Deep Purple – Very Good except 1st Track Woman from Tokyo jumps a lot – Gonna take it back and change it”

I know it’s not every Deep Purple fan’s idea of the band’s best album ever, but for me “Who Do We Think We Are” is head and shoulders above their other recorded output.

I’m not quite sure why this album has rigidly stuck with me over the years, proving to be something which my i-Pod trots out regularly, even in shuffle mode.

Quite frankly, an album that starts with a track as captivating and instant as “Woman from Tokyo” deserves anybody’s attention. This powerhouse track chugs along thanks entirely to another of Richie Blackmore’s trademark riffs and Ian Paice’s drumming. Ian Gillan, to be frank, sounds a little tired upfront, his vocals somewhat strained… conversely though this relative roughness actually adds something to the cut.

Track 2, “Mary Long” was a thinly-veiled dig at British TV’s moral crusader – and staunch anti-porn campaigner – Mary Whitehouse. The line “we didn’t know you’d had it in you” is STILL a joke I trot out to anyone woman tells me they’ve just become pregnant. This track is driven entirely by Paice’s drumming and is the only song I know which includes the word “titties” in the lyrics.

That sturdy drumming is back – once again – for “Super Trouper” (Not to be confused with Abba’s Super Trooper). I always associate this track with the stereo phasing that occurs throughout, whooshing from speaker to speaker (or from ear to ear in headphones). Good stuff.

Smooth Dancer” is pretty traditional Purple, reminding me a little too often of their infinitely more classic “Black Night” in its composition.

THE cut of the album, for me, is “Rat Bat Blue” (another of my ‘shower songs’ in later years). For some reason I find this song incredibly infectious, never failing to smile when I hear it, Jon Lord’s (almost) circus-style keyboards always entertaining.

Place in Line” (no link) is the most disappointing cut on the album, a traditional blues riff with a so-so feel to it.

Our Lady” wraps the album up and I always felt that it was more of a ‘whimper’ than a ‘wow’. Ian Gillan left the band following the release of this album – the band’s seventh studio effort – and I wonder if he was considering this cut to be something of a swansong? Whatever, it doesn’t work 100% for me, proving itself to be a little too maudlin and somewhat plodding in construction.

As my diary entry states, the album I bought jumped on “Woman from Tokyo”. A problem, as I recall, that occurred on all subsequent replacement copies.

I played that cut so much though – WITH the skip – that even now I expect my CD or MP3 version of it to do exactly the same thing. I actually anticipate that skip and often feel disappointed when it is not there!


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