Hell Preachers Inc. - Supreme Psychedelic Underground (1969)
Mason Records MR 56430 (2004 CD rip)
Tracker - Phoenix
Regardless of who plays on this, if you like Mk 1 Deep Purple this is worth having!!
In normal circumstance this album would probably be considered another of a seemingly endless stream of exploito albums that were churned out by small labels and faceless sessions players interested in a quick buck off of clueless consumers. What makes "Supreme Psychedelic Underground" different is the long standing and occasionally heated debate as to whether this was an early incarnation of Deep Purple, or at least couple of band members freelancing to pay bills.
So what's the truth? Beats me. As far as I know Deep Purple have always denied any connection to Hell Preachers Inc. or this album. There are no writing, performance, or production credits on the album so that's a dead end. By the same token, there are a couple of selections that could easily pass for early Purple. As an example, the guitar and organ on the lead off instrumental 'Time Race 1' sure sound like Richie Blackmore and Rod Evans circa 'Wring That Neck'. On the other hand, while I don't have a conclusive answer, I can at tell you what the album sounds like. The Deep Purple comparison isn't that far off on stuff like 'Shalom' and 'Spy In Space' though those tracks are more psych-ish than Purple's hard rock moves. The isolated vocal performances aren't nearly as good ('Let Me Shoot You' and 'Nirwava'). The fact the anonymous singer has a fairly heavy accent also lends credence to the argument that this was the product of German sessions players. That said, the results are quite good - the collection sound great on a pair of quality headphones. Absent definitive proof of a Purple connection, I'm going to side with the folks who say this was a sessions player offering. One of the better period exploito albums. In the UK the album was released by the Marble Arch label, but in Germany it was released by Europa Records.
1 - Time Race 1 (instrumental) - 2:25
2 - Shalom (instrumental) - 6:05
3 - Let Me Shoot You - 3:30
4 - Nirwana - 2:25
5 - Courante - 2:50
6 - Preacher Man - 3:00
7 - We Like the White Man - 1:30
8 - Turn Turn - 3:16
9 - Spy In Space - 6:15
10 - Time Race 2 - 2:45