From Record Collector October 1996
"Deep Purple" Fireball 25 Anniversary Edition
Following on the heels of the 25th anniversary release of In Rock, last year, EMI have given similar treatment to this album. It was recorded by the classic Mark II lineup with vocalist Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover, who had the difficult task of following the phenomenal success of their previous extravaganza of hard-hitting progressive rock.
It therefore came as a surprise that this release was a far mellower offering than "In Rock", with the result that it was greeted with some caution by fans and media alike. In hindsight, Purple followers have come to regard Fireball as the group's most adventurous work, with the band experimenting with different musical influences - for example, check "Anyone's Daughter", which had its roots more in country music than in heavy rock.
The original album has now been remastered by Glover, who has produced a punchier and clearer sound. But as with any Deep Purple Appreciation Society release, it is the 40 minutes' worth of bonus material which will be of most interest to fans. The previously unheard "Slow Train" is included, for instance, having been considered unsuitable for the original release, probably because of its unusual tempo. It showcases the kind of guitar-organ interplay in the middle section which was the highlight of Purple's live shows.
The band also recorded "Freedom" for use as a single, but this too was shelved, so its inclusion here is welcome, alongside its intended B-side, "I'm Alone". The latter surfaced on the band's Strange Kind of Woman single, which has definitely benefitted from the remix afforded it on this release. The song was originally meant for inclusion on "Fireball", incidentally, but because of the quantity of material available to the band, it was only used on the US release.
The follow-up 45 back in 1971 was this album's title track, the only song which sounded as if it owed its roots to the In Rock set. (The unusual noise at the start of the track is the studio air conditioning being switched on!) An early instrumental version of Fireball is also included on this CD.
Besides the standard versions, there are also remixes of No One Came and the slightly funky Demon's Eye, and it's interesting to note the impact which modern technology has on these songs. It's a shame that there was insufficient space on this CD to include an early, lengthy take of "Fools", which features a superbly atmospheric guitar solo from Blackmore, using volume control only.
The CD also boasts some humorous in-studio doodling, and the package is rounded off by a lavish 36-page booklet detailing the album's history, complete with rare photographs.