Tag Archives: Deep Purple

I’m A Freak, Baby…

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Just over a year ago I discovered the rather super folk music compilation “Dust On The Nettles : A Journey Through The British Underground Folk Scene 1967-72”, a three-disc set from the Grapefruit label. That, I subsequently discovered, was the second release in a series that started with 2013’s triple-disc “Love, Poetry And Revolution : A Journey Through The British Psychedelic And Underground Scenes 1966-1972”.

Deep Purple

Now I have stumbled across Grapefruit’s latest “a journey through” offering, released during the summer of 2016, is “I’m A Freak, Baby… : A Journey Through The British Heavy Psych And Hard Rock Underground Scene 1968-72”. Now, granted the use of the word “underground” doesn’t apply to all the music contained in this latest triple set, any more than it really did with the prior two, as there are a number of very well-known acts featured in each. However, I do think that the majority of the material presented for us to immerse ourselves in is likely to be unfamiliar to many, if not most, listeners.

Uriah Heep

First, though, let’s look at the more familiar fare. Disc one brings us “Do It” by The Pink Fairies and “Cherry Red” by The Groundhogs, the second disc contains Deep Purple’s “Fireball” along with tracks from the Edgar Broughton Band and the Move, whilst the final disc bears “Gypsy” from Uriah Heep, Fleetwood Mac’s “The Green Manalishi (With The Two Pronged Crown)” as well as tracks from Taste and The Yardbirds. All great tracks and, to be honest, the easy recognition of these numbers helps to balance against the unknown songs spread across the rest of the three discs.

Stray

Amongst the acts that are less well-known are a number that can already be found nestled within my music library. These include the opening nine-plus minute “All In Your Mind” by Stray, which was covered by heavy metal legends Iron Maiden on the b-side of their 1990 hit “Holy Smoke”. Others I was already at least partly familiar with include Chicken Shack’s “Going Down”, “Heart Without A Home” by Blonde On Blonde, The Gun’s “Race With The Devil” and “Escalator” from Sam Gopal featuring future Motörhead leader Lemmy on vocals and guitar.

Skid Row

Moving on to the new-to-me artists, I particularly enjoyed the offerings from The Iron Maiden (“Falling”) (not to be confused with the above-mentioned metal band, Dark (“Zero Time”), The Kult (“Occult”), Jerusalem (“Primitive Man”), Barnabus (“Apocalypse”), Egor (“Street”), Cycle (“Father Of Time”) and Irish band Skid Row (“Go, I’m Never Gonna Let You)”) – the latter being the late guitar ace Gary Moore’s first professional band.

Hawkwind

I should also make mention of “Sweet Mistress Of Pain”, a track credited to Hawkwind Zoo. Also known under the alternate title of “Kiss Of The Velvet Whip”, this was recorded in late 1969 by the newly-formed band just prior to their name change, dropping the “Zoo” to become simply Hawkwind – a band synonymous with psychedelic music if ever there was one.

Sam Gopal

Oddly, although I would consider myself more of a rock fan than folk fan, I think on balance that I’ll likely listen to the “Dust On The Nettles” set more often than this one.

Fleetwood Mac

As with the folk anthology the sound quality varies a little, but this is a small price to pay for having some real rarities present. Whilst the former set included a massive sixty-three songs, “I’m A Freak…” contains just forty-eight. However, with a running time of just a few minutes shy of four hours there’s not much to complain about. Well worth digging into…

“I’m A Freak, Baby… : A Journey Through The British Heavy Psych And Hard Rock Underground Scene 1968-72” tracklist:

Disc One:

1. All In Your Mind / 2. Cast A Spell / 3. Hot Smoke And Sassafras / 4. My Son’s Alive / 5. Going Down / 6. Father Of Time / 7. I’m Coming Home / 8. Do It / 9. Time Machine / 10. Cherry Red / 11. I’m A Freak / 12. Rock My Soul / 13. Sweet Mistress Of Pain / 14. Nightmare / 15. Falling / 16. Apocalypse

1. Stray / 2. The Open Mind / 3. The Moochie / 4. Crushed Butler / 5. Chicken Shack / 6. Cycle / 7. The Deviants / 8. The Pink Fairies / 9. Factory / 10. The Groundhogs / 11. Wicked Lady / 12. Charge / 13. Hawkwind Zoo / 14. Stonehouse / 15. The Iron Maiden / 16. Barnabus

Disc Two:

1. Bogeyman / 2. Fireball / 3. Primitive Man / 4. Love In The Rain / 5. Trust / 6. Rhubarb! / 7. Dream / 8. Skullcrusher / 9. Zero Time / 10. Jehovah / 11. Brontosaurus / 12. Bring It To Jerome / 13. Mr. Make Believe / 14. Flash / 15. Street Walking Woman / 16. Go, I’m Never Gonna Let You

1. Writing On The Wall / 2. Deep Purple / 3. Jerusalem / 4. Edgar Broughton Band / 5. Hellmet / 6. Second Hand / 7. Little Free Rock / 8. Iron Claw / 9. Dark / 10. The Velvet Frogs / 11. The Move / 12. Stack Waddy / 13. Samuel Prody / 14. Bare Sole / 15. The Phoenix / 16. Skid Row

Disc Three:

1. Race With The Devil / 2. Heart Without A Home / 3. Ascension Day / 4. Street / 5. Escalator / 6. Gypsy / 7. Garden Of My Mind / 8. Think About It / 9. Trying To Find My Way Back Home / 10. Yellow Cave Woman / 11. Too Old / 12. The Green Manalishi (With The Two Pronged Crown) / 13. Twisted Trip Woman / 14. Occult / 15. Born On The Wrong Side Of Time / 16. Hollis Brown

1. The Gun / 2. Blonde On Blonde / 3. Third World War / 4. Egor / 5. Sam Gopal / 6. Uriah Heep / 7. The Mickey Finn / 8. The Yardbirds / 9. Morning After / 10. Velvett Fogg / 11. Andromeda / 12. Fleetwood Mac / 13. Sweet Slag / 14. The Kult / 15. Taste / 16. Fusion Farm

From The Setting Sun… To The Rising Sun

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Deep Purple - Machine Head
Deep Purple – Machine Head

The live album is a format that was particularly popular in the 1970s, and from that era, although obviously a subjective matter, are a number of live albums that are generally considered to be classics. Thin Lizzy’s “Live And Dangerous”, The Who’s “Live At Leeds”, Rainbow’s “On Stage”,  UFO’s “Strangers In The Night”, Cheap Trick’s “At Budokan” to name but a few. Another classic that would be found on that list is “Made In Japan” from hard rock legends Deep Purple.

Deep Purple In 1974 (With David Coverdale, Centre)
Deep Purple In 1974

When a veteran band releases a live recording it’s not always an easy listen, as recent live albums from Van Halen and Whitesnake testify, as the vocalist struggles for the range that they enjoyed in their youth and, in the case of Whitesnake man David Coverdale (a former Deep Purple singer himself), rely heavily on their bandmates and the audience for vocal support. There are, of course, still decent live albums from some older bands, such as Iron Maiden’s “En Vivo!” and Rush’s “Clockwork Angels Tour” releases.

Deep Purple In 2014
Deep Purple In 2014

In fact, some of these older bands (such as Rush, Whitesnake and Iron Maiden) release nearly as many live albums as new studio works these days. Deep Purple also fall into this camp, having released no fewer than (I think) fourteen new and archive in concert releases in the time that they have released their last two studio albums.

Deep Purple Live At Wacken Open Air In 2013
Deep Purple Live At Wacken Open Air In 2013

The latest two of these, arriving simultaneously, are this year’s “From The Setting Sun… – In Wacken” and “…To The Rising Sun – In Tokyo”. The first of these was recorded at the Wacken Open Air festival in Germany on 1 August 2013, whilst the second comes from the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo on 12 April 2014, both shows taking place during the band’s still ongoing world tour to promote their most recent studio album “Now What?!”, which kicked off in February 2013.

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Deep Purple In 1984
Deep Purple In 1984

For many the classic Deep Purple line-up is that commonly referred to as Mk. II and was made up of vocalist Ian Gillan, guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, drummer Ian Paice, bassist Roger Glover and keyboardist Jon Lord.

Deep Purple In 2013
Deep Purple In 2013

The line-up featured here, Gillan, Paice, Glover, Morse and keyboardist Don Airey have been together since 2002 and are very well-drilled in what they do, so how does it stack up against their not inconsiderable live back catalogue?

Deep Purple - Live At Montreux
Deep Purple – Live At Montreux

Well, firstly let’s look at the vocal department. I had felt that Gillan was struggling on “Live At Montreux”, the band’s 2011 appearance at the famous Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland where the band were augmented by the Neue Philharmonic Orchestra from Frankfurt.

Ian Gillan
Ian Gillan

I’m pleased to report that, although sounding a little rough at the start of each show, once Gillan’s pipes warm up he sounds pretty good for a man now seventy years of age. Of course he doesn’t have the range that he had forty-odd years ago on the seminal “Made In Japan” but he’s a damn sight closer than many of his contemporaries.

Roger Glover & Steve Morse
Roger Glover & Steve Morse

Although I must confess a preference for Blackmore’s guitar style of old, finding Morse a little too smooth at times, the guitar playing here is undeniably good throughout, as is the underlying bass from Glover.

Ian Paice
Ian Paice

Paice is still an inspirational powerhouse behind the kit, responsible for some memorable fills and it’s always a pleasure to listen to his performances on “The Mule” (contained only on the Tokyo album).

Don Airey
Don Airey

Airey, meanwhile, fills the space left by the departed Lord (who has sadly since passed away)  expertly and contributes totally appropriate soloing himself. Overall, the interplay between these seasoned musicians, particularly noticeable during some of the extended instrumental sections, is nothing short of top drawer.

Deep Purple - Now What?!
Deep Purple – Now What?!

Material-wise, the two gigs aren’t much different, although the Tokyo show has a couple more “Now What?!” songs than the Wacken one. The vast bulk of the songs come from the Mk. II line-up’s classic releases between 1970 and 1972, with only three numbers apart from the “Now What?!” material coming from outside of that period, including the excellent Mk. II comeback number “Perfect Strangers”. That’s not unusual for a band of Deep Purple’s vintage, and in fact it’s nice to hear so much new stuff included, and whilst not as instantly recognisable to the casual listener it fits in with the older songs very well indeed.

Of the two, I would pick the Tokyo set above the Wacken one simply as it’s longer (1 hr 48 mins to Wacken’s 1 hr 31 mins), but both are excellent recordings of a legendary band that fully deserves it’s status as such…

deep-purple-live-albums“From The Setting Sun… – In Wacken” tracklist:

1. Highway Star / 2. Into The Fire / 3. Hard Lovin’ Man / 4. Vincent Price / 5. Strange Kind Of Woman / 6. Contact Lost / 7. The Well-Dressed Guitar / 8. Hell To Pay / 9. Lazy / 10. Above And Beyond / 11. No One Came / 12. Keyboard Solo / 13. Perfect Strangers / 14. Space Truckin’ / 15. Smoke On The Water / 16. a. Green Onions / b. Hush / 17. Black Night

1,9, 14 and 15 originally from “Machine Head” (1972) / 2 and 3 originally from “In Rock” (1970) / 4, 8 and 10 originally from “Now What?!” / 5 originally a single release (1971) / 6 originally from “Bananas” (2003) / 11 originally from “Fireball” (1971) / 13 originally from “Perfect Strangers” (1984) / 16b originally from “Shades Of Deep Purple” (1968) / 17 originally a single release (1970)

“…To The Rising Sun – In Tokyo” tracklist:

1. Aprés Vous / 2. Into The Fire / 3. Hard Lovin’ Man / 4. Strange Kind Of Woman / 5. Vincent Price / 6. Contact Lost / 7. Uncommon Man / 8. The Well-Dressed Guitar / 9. The Mule / 10. Above And Beyond / 11. Lazy / 12. Hell To Pay / 13. Keyboard Solo / 14. Perfect Strangers / 15. Space Truckin’ / 16. Smoke On The Water / 17. a. Green Onions / b. Hush / 18. Black Night

1, 5, 7, 10 and 12 originally from “Now What?!” (2013) / 2 and 3 originally from “In Rock” (1970) / 4 originally a single release (1971) / 6 originally from “Bananas” (2003) / 9, 11, 15 and 16 originally from “Machine Head” (1972) / 14 originally from “Perfect Strangers” (1984) / 17b originally from “Shades Of Deep Purple” (1968) / 18 originally a single release (1971)

Wheddon Cross

First post in a while as my wife and I got back yesterday from a week’s holiday away on Exmoor, with the kids and the puppy.

So, with lots of washing etc. to get through there’s not much time to spare for my blog straight away, so just a quick update today, really…

The Travellers Rest
The Travellers Rest

Despite some rather variable weather we spent a great week at The Travellers Rest just outside the small village of Wheddon Cross.

The house was very lovely and clean and we were provided with a fantastic homemade victoria sponge upon arrival. There were two bedrooms plus a pull-out sofa bed in the dining area, and a first floor lounge area with superb views out over the valley behind the house, plus two bathrooms (one with a bath and the other with a walk-in shower). It’s safe to say that we were all very comfortable and enjoyed the facilities very much.

Places that we visited during our stay included Saunton Sands near Barnstaple, Dulverton, Tarr Steps, Dunkery Beacon and Dunster.

The View From The Back
The View From The Back

I managed a MTB ride based on a route taken from MBUK magazine from Winsford whilst the rest of the family visited the Exmoor Pony Centre too. So plenty to catch up on.

Added to that are a number of new music releases that I will be wanting to digest and talk about over the coming days and weeks, including albums from Ahab, Bon Jovi, Butcher Babies, Deep Purple, Grace Potter, Iron Maiden, Motörhead, Nile and Spock’s Beard, as well as more movies and books, so stay tuned…

The Purple Album

Whitesnake - The Purple Album

Since their massive success in the late 1980s, legendary British hard rock band Whitesnake have released just three studio albums of new material. In 1997 an album originally slated to be a solo album from vocalist David Coverdale, “Restless Heart”, was released under the moniker David Coverdale & Whitesnake following record label pressure.

David Coverdale
David Coverdale

Further albums under the Whitesnake banner came to fruition with the excellent “Good To Be Bad” in 2008, followed by 2011’s equally good “Forevermore”. The release of a new Whitesnake studio record is now imminent, but rather than another set of cracking new hard rock tunes the band have instead chosen to follow the well-travelled “covers album” route.

“The Purple Album” is, however, a covers album with a difference. Rather than a collection of songs by a number of different artists, or a set of back catalogue songs re-recorded by the current line-up, Coverdale and his band have produced a record comprised entirely of songs from the Deep Purple back catalogue, specifically from the period when Coverdale himself was a member of that band.

Whitesnake
Whitesnake

Now, as a long time music fan myself I am aware that certain songs and albums will hold a special place in your heart and anyone’s attempt at re-inventing them is generally not very welcome, which is at least partially due to the nostalgia and emotional connection you feel for the original material.

Fans of a band as celebrated as Deep Purple are thus likely to approach an album such as this, even though it’s presented by a former lead singer, with great suspicion and reluctance – and I can understand that completely. In fact, before I heard this record I had read the review in Classic Rock magazine that gave the album 2 out of 10 and called it a “travesty” and a “stinker”. Fortunately, I did not let such an incredibly negative review put me off giving the album a chance myself.

Deep Purple In 1973
Deep Purple In 1973

The album apparently came about after a proposed project involving Coverdale and his old Deep Purple bandmate Ritchie Blackmore failed to gel. This, in addition to the death, in 2012, of former Deep Purple / Whitesnake keyboardist Jon Lord, gave Coverdale the impetus to embark on what would become “The Purple Album”. Coverdale himself has stated that “there was absolutely no intention to compete, or compare with the original recordings. We just wanted to play these songs the best we could and this is how we wanted to play them”, and it’s clear to me that this is exactly what they have achieved.

Coverdale has a solid, tight band supporting him on this album – guitarists Reb Beach and Joel Hoekstra, veteran drummer Tommy Aldridge, bassist Michael Devin and keyboardist Brian Ruedy. None of these replicate the original parts of Blackmore, Tommy Bolin, Ian Paice, Glenn Hughes or Lord – but that’s clearly the point. This is not a recreation of the Coverdale era of Deep Purple, it’s a tribute, and very much in the style of latter-day Whitesnake.

David Coverdale
David Coverdale

The record begins with the classic “Burn” and instantly I loved what I heard. Clearly Coverdale’s voice has changed over the years, and in the live arena it is clear that he struggles these days. But then, at the age of 63 there aren’t likely to be many rock singers with the range and strength that they possessed some forty years previously. In the studio it’s still possible to get a powerful performance from the great man, and this album is full of such performances.

“Sail Away” sees the band in much more introspective mood, with some beautiful acoustic guitar work and harmony vocals.

Whitesnake
Whitesnake

“Stormbringer”, the first track released from the album is a truly epic tour de force, and probably the closest to the fare that we are used to hearing from Whitesnake. Other highlights here include the mighty “Mistreated”, “Lay Down Stay Down” and the always welcome “Soldier Of Fortune”.

This is most certainly not your typical covers album. If you are a huge fan of the Deep Purple originals this album may take some getting used to, but for the casual fan this could really be an all-new Whitesnake album. That said, I hope the band do get back into the studio and make at least one more original record before Coverdale decides to finally call it a day, but for the moment this is a worthy addition to the excellent Whitesnake legacy…

Def_Ws_ad_hr“The Purple Album” tracklist:

1. Burn / 2. You Fool No One / 3. Love Child / 4. Sail Away / 5. The Gypsy / 6. Lady Double Dealer / 7. Mistreated / 8. Holy Man / 9. Might Just Take Your Life / 10. You Keep On Moving / 11. Soldier Of Fortune / 12. Lay Down Stay Down / 13. Stormbringer

1, 2, 4, 7, 9 and 12 originally from “Burn” (1973) / 5, 6, 8, 11 and 13 originally from “Stormbringer” (1974) / 3 and 10 originally from “Come Taste The Band” (1975)