Deep Purple

Live and Rare

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Reprising the title of one of the '70s-era Deep Purple's best-loved EP series, New Live & Rare offers up a stunning collection of previously unreleased Mk 2 lineup performances, recorded live between 1969 and 1971 in the U.K. and Europe. And, although a handful are familiar from bootlegs, still it's a veritable treasure trove, with the emphasis firmly on the often-staggering flights of improvisational fancy to which the group was prone. The sound quality can be rough in places, but the sheer power of the performances -- career-best renditions of "Wring That Neck" and "Into the Fire," an extraordinarily well-protracted "Demon's Eye" -- more than compensate. Similarly, the recurrence of titles from so many other Purple live recordings should not deter the casual listener. This was one band, after all, that rarely repeated itself.

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