Monday, December 17, 2012

Purple Image - Purple Image (1970 us, strong blend of soul funk and psych rock, Radioactive edition)

Though African-American and raised in the predominantly Black 105th Superior area of Cleveland, Purple Image played rock -- psychedelic, mind-bending, pass-the-bong, strobe-light, posters-on-the-wall head music. 

This obscure album recorded on Map Records has risen to the status of cult because of its scarcity and the musical orientation of Warren Adams (vocals, piano, organ), Kenneth Roberts (vocals, rhythm), William Adams (vocals, conga), Frank Smith (lead guitar), Del Moran (bass), Richard Payne (drums), and lone female Diane Dunlap (vocals); Edward Snodgrass, a non-member, augmented P.I. on sax. 

Purple Image wrote everything except the LP's masterpiece, the 15-minute, 24-second rendition of Bob Craig's "Marching to a Different Drummer." As with all six selections, Purple Image sounds better when the volume is cranked. "Drummer" is an energetic, powerful blend of acid rock and fusion; Snodgrass blows a frantic Coltrane-ish sax, and Dunlap wails like she slammed her hand in a door. 

"We Got to Pull Together" is an airy, charming, socially significant ballad that urges us to become color-blind, forget the past, and get along. Snodgrass plays a tender horn while a male does a convincing lead wallpapered by some arresting, swooping harmonies. On "Living In the Ghetto," they sing about the woes of poverty; if you like heavy metal, this and "Why" will tickle your fancy. "Lady" features Dunlap and a male on an upbeat rock-blues number. 

The back cover pictures P.I. posing under the now-defunct Liberty Theater marquee in mod-type clothing. The front cover features a slim, pretty, Afro-wearing Black woman with three arms holding three globes surrounded by clouds. 
1. Living In The Ghetto - 6:32
2. Why - 4:37
3. Lady - 3:37
4. We Got To Pull Together (Frank Smith) - 3:35
5. Whey You Do To Me - 3:32
6. Marching To A Different Drummer - 15:24
All songs by Purple Image unless as else written.

Purple Image
*Del Moran - Bass
*Diane Dunlap - Vocals
*Frank Smith - Guitar
*Kenneth Roberts - Vocals
*Richard Payne - Drums
*Warren Adams - Organ, Piano, Vocals
*William Adams - Conga, Vocals

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  1. Thanks a lot, Marios, for this great rare gem. I love funky rock from this period and this is a really great example of it!

  2. I'm not really into soul & funk but I'm just curious about the psychedelic bit...
    Many thanks!

  3. This album is an outstanding example of psychedelic rock and funk fusion that shouldn't be missed. Unfortunately, this was the only album that Purple Image ever released.

    Originally released on Map City Records in 1970, this is a 2004 re-release from Radioactive Records, an interesting label that specializes in reissuing innovative but rare music from the 60s and 70s.

    It kicks off with Livin’ In The Ghetto, a blistering amalgam of rock, soul, and funk that sets the tone for most of the rest of the album. There is also some slower, more R&B-style music in the middle with vocal harmonies reminiscent of The Persuasions. It ends with a 15 minute extended rock funk jam featuring flanged drums, space guitar, wah-wah guitar, face-melting guitar, and even a harmonica. Bass is mixed high throughout, which pleases me.
    The lyrics are upbeat and positive as you might expect in songs with titles like We Got To Pull Together. Female and male vocals with the male vocals sometimes trading off a la The Temptations.
    Thx Marios.

  4. The link is dead, could you reupload this gem please?