"Mandrake Root" was the first song ever recorded by Deep Purple, and although they ended their first show (in Denmark) with "Hey Joe
," it would soon become their closing number, and remained so for the next three years. Like the rest of their debut album it was recorded at Pye's Marble Arch studios over a weekend in May 1968, after their Danish tour, and produced by Derek Lawrence.
The original recording ran to 6 minutes 9 seconds, although like the instrumental "Wring That Neck
" from their second album, it was often stretched out to half an hour or more in concert.
In view of the extraordinary success of the fledgeling band, it was not surprising that word soon got back to Parkinson, and just as unsurprisingly he was not happy with regard to (what he saw as) the rip off of "Mandrake Root," and turned up on Simper's doorstep to complain. By this time, Simper had left the band, Parkinson threatened court action, he said, and Simper agreed with some reluctance to testify for him, but "...I never saw Bill again. Apparently they paid him off with about £600."
In December 2008, Bill Parkinson confirmed the above facts in a telephone interview with this website, as far as he recalled he'd settled for £500. He could have got more, but money was tight in those days. This sort of thing was and still is rife in the music business, he said, citing the case of "The Lion Sleeps Tonight
." He added that the notation of 'Lost Soul' is exactly the same as 'Smoke On The Water
' with slightly different timing, but pursuing a claim for "Smoke On The Water" would open up a whole new can of worms!
Parkinson said too that when at last he'd run into Blackmore some time later, his fellow axeman had complimented him on "Lost Soul" and asked "Have you got any more like that?" Needless to say, he was not amused.
Although Blackmore did undoubtedly rip off "Mandrake Root" from "Lost Soul," it remains to be seen to what extent the two tracks can be considered the same piece of music; there are only so many ways an eight note scale can be played, intervals, sharps and flats considered!
Alexander Baron - London, England, for above 2