[ d e e p P u r . p l e )
The Highway Star


7am and the postman brings a tape copied from a fellow fanatic. First play through and 'Fingers To The Bone' is, for me, the stand out track. The tape though somehow seems to lack sparkle, the vocals and instrumentation not leaping out of the speakers the way you would expect.

10am and one of the people from next door brings round some of my post that had been wrongly delivered to them ! The best thing I ever got from that garden centre ? Definitely.

I feel privileged to hold in my hands a promo CD of Deep Purple's latest studio album (their sixteenth).

Placed in the hi-fi, cranked up, it immediately dispels any initial doubts I'd had on listening to the tape.

'Any Fule Kno That' [4.27] Jon and little Ian get us into something so funky, it just makes you want to dance around. Jon puts in a brief solo on Hammond, Steve solos on the fade out. A killer video and MTV would have to play it and play it. Dropped after a couple of shows last December, I hope it returns for the forthcoming tour.

'Almost Human' [4.23] Again has a groove that makes tapping your feet just not enough. Joint guitar/organ 'cascades' lead into a solo from Steve. Vocals double-tracked. Jon solos on the fade out. Slightly off-beat, but still very commercial.

'Don't Make Me Happy' [4.55] Starts in a mellow vain (point of reference, When A Blind Man Cries) before going into a much heavier chorus before returning to the original mood. Solo from Steve. I would expect this to replace 'Blind Man' in the live show.

'Seventh Heaven' [5.22] Known to everyone who saw their shows in December, January, February and to tape collectors. Solo from Steve. Expect it to be in the forthcoming live set.

'Watching The Sky' [5.22] Staccato riff (a la Battle Rages On) before changing to a lovely quiet passage. The middle section builds to a solo from Steve. The main riff is really 'dirty', perhaps the most 'progressive' track on the album.

'Fingers To The Bone' [4.45] Starts with a gentle acoustic flurry from Steve. Acoustic feel continues over a simple backdrop. Less than half a day, still the best track for me. 'Today's Blue Monday and I should have seen it coming'. Piano solo from Jon over a laid-back arrangement with distant harmonica.

'Jack Ruby' [3.47] Riffy twelve bar (a distant cousin of Maybe I'm A Leo), organ solo from Jon (the first since track two) followed by a solo from Steve.

'She Was' [4.16] Organ faded in, heavy riff. 'She was all that she said she was'. Plenty of Guitar/organ interplay on this one.

'Whatsername' [4.26] Again a heavy riff, bit more up-tempo with a danceable groove. Double tracked vocals on chorus. Solo from Steve leads into organ solo from Jon, back to Steve, back to Jon.

'69' [4.57] Builds into a rocker, fastest track on the album. Sounds like Roger's been dipping back into his old diary again with references to the Marquee, Revolution and Paradiso. Solo from Jon. Ideal opening number for the new tour ?

'Evil Louie' [4.53] Not the easiest track to get a handle on. Slow, riffy, there's a lot going on but there's also plenty of space in it. Solo from Steve.

'Bludsucker' [4.27] Fairly straight remake. If anything, this is very representative of the feel of the album. Heavy but with a certain groove. Royalties for Ritchie as well.

Packaging; in a CD single case, catalogue number CDP 519.965, released by EMI Switzerland. Cover as previously shown on the website, with two more photos along the same lines on the page listing the tracks. The CD image itself differs from CMC's and is another variation on the main photo, a black and white enlargement with the diver's legs across the centre of the disc. CD printed in Holland.

Can't wait for the official release day. I'll be there CD, tape and limited edition vinyl double album.

I can't recommend this CD strongly enough. For those who think there's no Purple without Blackmore, they probably won't enjoy it. However, given the right promotion, this should bring Deep Purple's music to a wider audience and bodes well for the tour that, if it's possible, I'm now looking forward to even more.

I don't envy the problems in choosing what to play or rather what to leave out. Just hope Abandon and Purpendicular are fairly well represented.

Finally, congratulations to Ian, Roger, Jon, Steve and Ian, 'a band on' indeed.

Nigel Young
15th May 1998

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