||This Time Around||
Simmering under the Soup of Confusion
By Gord Jantzen
"Burn" - Bolin is a no show
For Tommy it wasn't a great gig, although his guitar tone and
sound is really cool. He had a problem with his arm from a bad fix and also
sleeping on the arm the night of the bad fix. (Bolin talked about this with
a DJ in LA shortly after the Japan tour was over.) Hightlights for "This
Time Around" have to be "Wild Dogs", "Gettin' Tighter",
"Lady Luck", "I Need Love", "Drifter" and "Love
Child". Generally, Bolin's guitar work on the "Come Taste The Band"
tunes work just fine
On the whole, Bolin is a no show on "Burn", "Highway Star" and "Lazy". He's passable on "Smoke On The Water". "Stormbringer" cooks as a unit and Bolin's touch adds to the heavy sound. "Lazy" is just really short of the mark and his playing is aweful on this tune. (Frankly I was surprised because he played this song really well just two weeks earlier in Australia.) Conversely the gig about two weeks before Japan in Melbourne, Australia was just so much better. Bolin really cooked on most of the songs. However, "This Time Around" does show four-fifths of the band simmering under the soup of confusion - great energy - it's too bad Bolin had problems on the Japan tour. "Gettin' Tighter" and "Wild Dogs" show Bolin playing well. What great sound and tone on the guitar! A bitter taste? Yes. I, too, felt the same way after listening to it.
The better recorded live gigs with Deep Purple are Melbourne, New York, Maimi, and lastly, Long Beach. The "Foxbat"/"King Biscuit" recording from Long Beach is probably the best Deep Purple gig with Bolin where he plays his guitar masterfully. In stark contrast to "This Time Around", on "King Biscuit" the respective songs really work much better. "Lazy", "Burn", "Smoke On The Water", "Stormbringer" and "Highway Star" all brew on hybrid octane. His guitar work on "Lazy" is just stunning - different to Blackmore but a neat approach.
The best live version of "Stormbringer" that I've heard, whether it's Mark 3 or Mark 4, is on the "Foxbat"/"King Biscuit" CD. Also, on "King Biscuit", Bolin plays the proper chords to "Highway Star" but is a little short on the solo. One of my favorite songs on "King Biscuit" has to be Bolin's deft subtle treatment of "Burn" - great guitar work and in stark contrast to his no show on "This Time Around".
In retrospect, with "This Time Around" we get a full ensemble of "Come Taste The Band" tunes, played by a band simmering underneath all the confusion. It's really for collectors only - the hardcore Mark 4 fans. It's not Bolin at his best. It's evidence of a guitarist struggling through the evening but still managing some brilliant moments despite his injured arm. He cheated himself out of a great opportunity to achieve so much more.
Briefly, although this wasn't a great gig for Bolin - the rest of the band played to form on this night. Furthermore, let's not overlook some hard work that went in putting this great package together; Deep Purple Appreciation Society and Tommy Bolin Archives must take kudos for a fine product delivered. The "Special Edition" from DPAS is just tops. The booklet is very well researched and explains the whole spectrum of problems Mark 4 had during this period.
The package also comes with a tour promotion poster, a sleeve with some extra pictures on the back, tickets to the show and some drink coasters. A great deal of pride put into a wonderful release. In short, they did a grand job on the booklet and should be commended for excellent work! I'm glad I purchased a copy despite the shortcomings of the Japanese tour.