Posts Tagged ‘deep purple’

“Made In Japan” by Deep Purple (1973)

Somewhere in the pantheon of great rock groups, Deep Purple has become an afterthought.

Consider that it was one of the pioneers of heavy metal, successfully making the transition from psychedelic music to a much harder style.

Consider that the band still is an active unit, albeit one with that took a hiatus at a critical time and has a sole original member in the current lineup, for 44 years.

And consider that the riff for “Smoke On the Water” is perhaps the most recognizable in the history of rock.

“Smoke On the Water” first appeared on “Machine Head,” the third album by Deep Purple’s so-called Mark II lineup, documenting what happened during recording sessions in Montreux, Switzerland, in late 1971: Yes, “some stupid with a flare gun burned the place to the ground,” during a concert by Frank Zappa and the Mothers. (It happens during the band’s rendition of “King Kong”; when people start yelling, “Fire!”, singer Mark Volman makes a reference to Arthur Brown, whose hit single … oh, never mind.)

Anyway, the American single version of “Smoke On the Water” was taken from the live “Made In Japan,” a two-LP set capturing the best of Deep Purple’s three-night stand at the Kosei Nenkin Kaikan in Osaka and the Budokan in Tokyo.

My initial interest in “Made In Japan” came, of course, by way of the big hit, which you couldn’t escape hearing on the radio circa 1974. But a closer examination of the album, itself, showed a mere seven songs spanning those two LPs. For a kid with an inclination toward long jams, that was just what the doctor ordered.

Four of the seven songs on the live album originally appeared on “Machine Head.” Sort of. The LP’s fourth side simply is noted as “Space Truckin’,” clocking in at around 20 minutes, but the track contains elements of several Deep Purple standards, most notable “Mandrake Root” from the debut “Shades of Deep Purple.”

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The “Made In Japan” opener, as on “Machine Head,” is “Highway Star,” which almost is on par with “Smoke On the Water” as far as hard-rock standards go. The song showcases what Mark II was all about: Ian Gillan’s high-octane vocals propelled by strong instrumentation from keyboard player Jon Lord, drummer Ian Paice, bassist Roger Glover and guitarist Richie Blackmore, whose Stratocaster solo is the key component to carrying the song into legendary status.

“Child In Time,” from the Mark II debut “In Rock,” is many listeners’ favorite on the album, if not in the entire Deep Purple discography. The tune starts quietly, as Gillan sings of an innocent discovering the evils of the world, before he launches into vocal-cord-shredding screaming that changes the dynamics into as heavy as music got in 1972. The song’s interlude features some of Blackmore’s most lauded guitar playing, as his diatonic-scale licks culminate in a rapid-fire delivery that leaves the audience amazed before proceedings return to a quieter mood.

“Smoke On the Water” starts with Gillan’s brief narration about the song’s genesis, and Blackmore throws in a few extra chords before the song starts in earnest, with the guitarist managing to replicate his classic studio solo with impressive accuracy.

Paice takes the reins on “The Mule,” from Mark II’s second album, “Fireball.” As far as drum solos go, he’s not quite Bonham or Baker, but he doesn’t overdo it.

Perhaps anyone but Gillan would be accused of doing so during an extended workout of “Strange Kind of Woman,” a hit single for the band in its native U.K. He chirps along to Blackmore’s guitar licks, showing off his near-superhuman vocal range.

Lord kicks off “Lazy,” another “Machine Head” tune, with an extended organ solo that might have drawn inspiration from Keith Emerson (or vice versa). The band shows it has the chops to play a creditable blues, including Gillan’s harp playing.

The first five minutes of “Space Truckin'” remans faithful to the “Machine Head” version before the band tears into a series of musical themes. Along the way, Blackmore manipulates his volume knob to produce a cello-like effect, as first heard on “Fools” from “Fireball.” Then comes the finale: three minutes of intense jamming, with Blackmore getting maximum mileage from his tremolo bar, until Lord wraps things up with what sounds like a dive bomb.

The audiences in Osaka and Tokyo must’ve been blown away, as listeners still are nearly 40 years later by one of rock’s great live albums, by one of rock’s great bands. And one, incidentally, that still is outside looking in when it comes to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

I can’t admit to listening to a lot of what eventually became known as classic rock when I actually was alive during the ’60s. I wasn’t that old when the decade ended, and I certainly didn’t hear any of that type of music through my parents. My dad still is pretty much convinced that anything recorded after World War II is “noise.”

Through a convergence of circumstances, by roughy 1976 I was exploring the music of the previous decade, while my classmates were listening to disco and the like. I remember the stares I got when I brought “The Worst of Jefferson Airplane” to listen to in typing class. Even the teacher, Mr. Wolf, felt compelled to comment.

No matter. They call it classic rock, not classic disco.

At any rate, my music collection from the past 35 years or so is widely varied, but a lot of it does lean toward a certain genre from a certain era. And I think the final year of the ’60s leads the way.

Here’s a sampling of what fans were lucky enough to hear when it came out new in 1969:

  • “The Allman Brothers Band” by the Allman Brothers Band
  • “Phallus Dei” by Amon Duul II
  • “Andromeda” by Andromeda
  • “Argent” by Argent
  • “Arzachel” by Arzachel
  • “The Band” by The Band
  • “Yellow Submarine” by the Beatles
  • “Abbey Road” by the Beatles
  • “Beck-Ola” by the Jeff Beck Group
  • “Blind Faith” by Blind Faith
  • “It’s Not Killing Me” by Michael Bloomfield
  • “Live at Bill Graham’s Fillmore West: 1969” by Michael Bloomfield
  • “New! Improved!” by Blue Cheer
  • “Wasa Wasa” by the Edgar Broughton Band
  • “Ballad of Easy Rider” by the Byrds
  • “Monster Movie” by Can
  • “Trout Mask Replica” by Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band
  • “The Charlatans” by the Charlatans
  • “Chicago Transit Authority” by Chicago Transit Authority
  • “Penitentiary Blues” by David Allan Coe
  • “Valentyne Suite” by Colosseum
  • “Bayou Country” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • “Green River” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • “Willy & the Poor Boys” by Creedence Clearwater Revival
  • “Crosby, Stills & Nash” by Crosby, Stills & Nash
  • “In a Silent Way” by Miles Davis
  • “The Book of Taliesyn” by Deep Purple
  • “Deep Purple” by Deep Purple
  • “Concerto for Group and Orchestra” by Deep Purple
  • “On Tour With Eric Clapton” by Delaney & Bonnie & Friends
  • “Through the Morning, Through the Night” by Dillard & Clark
  • “The Great American Eagle Tragedy” by Earth Opera
  • “How Can You Be in Two Places at Once When You’re Not Anywhere at All” by the Firesign Theatre
  • “Then Play On” by Fleetwood Mac
  • “The Gilded Palace of Sin” by the Flying Burrito Bros.
  • “Free” by Free
  • “Aoxomoxoa” by the Grateful Dead
  • “Live/Dead” by the Grateful Dead
  • “My Labors” by Nick Gravenites
  • “Blues Obituary” by the Groundhogs
  • “Canned Wheat” by the Guess Who
  • “Halfbreed” by the Keef Hartley Band
  • “Sea Shanties” by High Tide
  • “Two Bugs and a Roach” by Earl Hooker
  • “Yer Album” by the James Gang
  • “Bless Its Pointed Little Head” by Jefferson Airplane
  • “Volunteers” by Jefferson Airplane
  • “Stand Up” by Jethro Tull
  • “I Got Dem Ol’ Kozmic Blues Again Mama!” by Janis Joplin
  • “In the Court of the Crimson King” by King Crimson
  • “Led Zeppelin” by Led Zeppelin
  • “Led Zeppelin II” by Led Zeppelin
  • “Four Sail” by Love
  • “Forms and Feelings” by Love Sculpture
  • “Paradise Bar & Grill” by Mad River
  • “Revelation” by Man
  • “2 Ozs. Of Plastic with a Hole in the Middle” by Man
  • “The Turning Point” by John Mayall
  • “Kick Out the Jams” by the MC5
  • “Brave New World” by the Steve Miller Band
  • “Your Saving Grace” by the Steve Miller Band
  • “On the Threshold of a Dream” by the Moody Blues
  • “Astral Weeks” by Van Morrison
  • “Uncle Meat” by the Mothers of Invention
  • “Mott the Hoople” by Mott the Hoople
  • “Sunshine” by Sunny Murray
  • “An Even Break (Never Give a Sucker)” by Sunny Murray
  • “Nazz Nazz” by the Nazz
  • “Accent on the Blues” by John Patton
  • “Soundtrack from the Film ‘More'” by Pink Floyd
  • “Ummagumma” by Pink Floyd
  • “A Salty Dog” by Procol Harum
  • “Happy Trails” by Quicksilver Messenger Service
  • “Shady Grove” by Quicksilver Messenger Service
  • “Get Ready” by Rare Earth
  • “Renaissance” by Renaissance
  • “Let It Bleed” by the Rolling Stones
  • “Karma” by Pharaoh Sanders
  • “Santana” by Santana
  • “Mendocino” by the Sir Douglas Quintet
  • “Loosen Up Naturally” by Sons of Champlin
  • “Oar” by Alexander Spence
  • “The Family That Plays Together” by Spirit
  • “Spooky Two” by Spooky Tooth
  • “Red Weather” by Leigh Stephens
  • “Monster” by Steppenwolf
  • “The Stooges” by the Stooges
  • “Atlantis” by Sun Ra
  • “Hollywood Dream” by Thunderclap Newman
  • “The Aerosol Grey Machine” by Van der Graaf Generator
  • “The Velvet Underground” by the Velvet Underground
  • “Tommy” by The Who
  • “Emergency!” by Tony Williams’ Lifetime
  • “The Progressive Blues Experiment” by Johnny Winter
  • “Johnny Winter” by Johnny Winter
  • “Second Winter” by Johnny Winter
  • “Yes” by Yes
  • “Hot Rats” by Frank Zappa

Associated listening: “The Stooges” by the Stooges