The recording sessions were interspersed with gigs and lasted from January to March; most of the songs ended up in their eponymous album, which would be released by Tetragrammaton in the US only in June 1969. It was at this time that Blackmore and Lord decided to change Deep Purple's musical style, veering towards straight hard rock, which led to Evans and Simper's dismissal in July.
and "Anthem", whose complex arrangements could not be easily reproduced in a live setting. II formation performed "Kentucky Woman" in their first shows, but dropped it from the set list together with the few other songs from the first three albums, in favour of new material.
" with producer Derek Lawrence and sound engineer Brian Aintsworth, who had both worked on their previous album.
Tetragrammaton's advance of 0,000 had been used to book two weeks in the studio, a time which covered songwriting, rehearsals and recording sessions.
Perception of the album changed in modern times, when it received more favourable reviews.
Deep Purple were booked for a long tour in the United States, starting in October 1968, as a result of the unexpected success gathered in North America by their debut album Shades of Deep Purple, fronted by the hit single "Hush".
"Anthem" is perhaps the band's deepest venture into classical music on a regular studio album, with its baroque style interlude reminiscent of a Bach fugue written by Lord and performed using Mellotron and string quartet.
while "River Deep, Mountain High" is introduced by the notes of "Also sprach Zarathustra", written in 1896 by Richard Strauss and very popular after its inclusion in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey, screened earlier in 1968.
Besides the original issues, the most significant version of the album is the Remastered CD edition of 2000 by EMI, which contains previously unreleased recordings taken from the sessions of August and December 1968 and from TV shows appearances as bonus tracks.
Under pressure, the musicians eventually came up with four lengthy original compositions, but to fill up the new album they reworked and expanded three cover songs, following again the example of the American band Vanilla Fudge, The second cover was "River Deep – Mountain High", a single released by Ike & Tina Turner in 1966.
Finally, the 1965 Beatles song "We Can Work It Out" was chosen after Paul Mc Cartney himself had reportedly expressed appreciation for Deep Purple's version of "Help!
The Book of Taliesyn was the only record cover John Vernon Lord ever designed and, according to the artist's recent retrospective book Drawing upon Drawing, the original artwork was never returned.
The agent gave me the title saying that the art director wanted a 'fantasy Arthurian touch' and to include hand lettering for the title and the musicians' names.
In an interview, Simper tried to justify their lack of success in their home country, saying that the British audience was more interested in a fancy presentation than music and that blues rock "was becoming very big" at the time in England.