As far as a band’s latter-day material goes, Deep Purple’s 19th studio album NOW What?! is not a bad album. Now comes NOW What?! the Gold Edition, which will obviously make it all the more satisfying.

Displayed in a gold cover, this 2CD special edition includes two decent bonus songs on its first disc: a cover of a Jerry Lee Lewis tune, “It’ll Be Me,” and “First Sign Of Madness” (previously only available digitally and on the CD single “Vincent Price”). But it is the second disc, 70 minutes of live material known as “The NOW What?! Live Tapes” that makes the set the most appealing. Even though the sound mix isn’t exactly perfect, the band is at the top of their game with “Perfect Strangers,” “Lazy,” and “Smoke on the Water.” “Lazy” being the real treat here.

It is the spirited keyboards of Don Airey, the everlasting power vocals of Ian Gillan, and, of course, the electrically brilliant guitar work ala Steve Morse that make it all special in the studio and on-stage. This period of Deep Purple is as sharp and improvisational live as their other formations.

Eagle Rock Entertainment