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Blind Man California

There was a gig in April 1972 when Ritchie fell ill and Randy California was called upon to save the day. A bootleg recording of When a blind man cries from that gig (April 6, 1972 in Quebec City) has been posted on Youtube. The quality is about what you’d expect from an audience recording of that era, so don’t complain.

Setlist for the show was:

  1. Strange kind of woman
  2. Into the fire
  3. Child in time
  4. The mule
  5. Lazy
  6. When a blind man cries
  7. Space truckin’
  8. Lucille

[Update Dec 30]: the rest of the show (sans Lucille) has been posted:

Sadly, at the encore , somebody knocked down one mike and I stopped recording. So… no Lucille. The recording is a bit muddy at times ’cause people who were holding the mikes didn’t keep them horizontal, but upward facing the metal roof…

Thanks to robert lafontaine for posting the clips, and to Andrey Gusenkov and Martin Ashberry for bringing them to your attention.

15 Comments to “Blind Man California”:

  1. 1
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    Wow! That’s kind of like having Superman fly in & save the day…. I guess the guys must have been feeling randy!.
    Nice one. 🎅🎄🎁💜🎸🎹🎤🎵🎶

  2. 2
    MacGregor says:

    All the best to one & all here at THS for another year on planet earth. I have always thought this song would not be a good ‘live’ performance song. A nice song it is, but some songs just don’t work well in a live rock band setting. Randy California, RIP. A fine musician indeed! I did get to see Jon Lord & The Hoochie Coochie Men band perform this song live in 2003. Although that concert was in a seated outdoor setting with unlimited food & wine to match. Jimmy Barnes on vocal & what a relief he didn’t squawk all over it.
    It worked out ok then, with the old blues & other covers etc! Take care. Cheers.

  3. 3
    Adel Faragalla says:

    Wow… Sending shivers down my spine and watery eyes. This is such an amazing find.
    God bless DP and all its current and past members. DP is a musical fire ball institution that has no end. That my humble opinion.

  4. 4
    Rob Prior says:

    Wow, I never expected to hear this!

    I wonder if there are any more recordings of songs from that show.

  5. 5
    Michael says:

    Apparently Ritchie Blackmore never played ‘When a Blind Man Cries’ live because he disliked the song, so the band used the opportunity when Randy California stepped in.

    The second time the song was played live was on 02 December 1993 when Joe Satriani stepped in after Ritchie left the band.

  6. 6
    Leslie S Hedger says:

    Nice version! Now if they only could find a boot of the show where Roger sang because Gillan got ill.

  7. 7
    George Martin says:

    I’m wondering can anyone find the bootleg when Gillan fell ill and Roger did the vocals that night? That’s a show I would like to hear.

  8. 8
    Madrid says:

    Great find! Another mythical one that it would be great to see the light is when Christopher Cross subbed for Ritchie in 1970, although it doesn’t seem to be totally clear if that ever happened or not!

  9. 9
    Bill Hicks says:

    Great find and perfectly audible given the time.
    Interesting date, too. Exactly two years to the day before the California Jam.

  10. 10
    Dr. Bob says:

    Strange seeing a Machinehead era show without Highway Star or Smoke on the Water on the set list. Was this normal for April 1972 or was the set list adjusted for California playing on short notice?

  11. 11
    ivica says:

    Ritchie is a strange character in choosing a setlist. A genius R n R guitar player / electric and acoustic /, author, leader. Three great ballads from the seventies “When a Blind Man Cries”, “Soldier of Fortune and” The Temple Of The King were never on the DP MK2,3 setlist,or , Rainbow of Dio era ,before the dedication of Jimy Hendriks’s “Little Wing a ” Cath The Rainbow “. Also the fourth big ballad from the PS album” Wasted Sunsets “was never on the setlist in Ritchie’s time. Steve played but it was not god.
    “When a Blind Man Cries” played by Steve is a phenomenal moment of the DP concert Classic Deep Purple live song .. outstanding: intro, singing, solos..pure real rock magic ,one of the best moments , highlights of concerts .


  12. 12
    Mats says:

    This can be cleaned up from a lot of background tape noise and low end rumble. If any one has a decent copy I’d be happy to help out. Let me know here.

  13. 13
    Ron says:

    If you ever wonder why Purple is ranked third in the unholy trilogy – Zep, Sabbath, Purple – even though they were at least as prolific is this kind of stuff. As interesting it is to hear this, can you imagine LZ doing a show without Page? Purple’s management had no vision or concept of what they had. They just saw the money. That’s all. Ride the gravy train until it died.

  14. 14
    Vincent Brightling says:

    In response to Ron. The timing is everything here. Purple were just building (or re-building) their profile in the US at this point, and had already had to cancel a tour due to Ian Gillan’s bout of hepatitis. They were just getting back on their feet with a new tour when Blackmore fell ill with the same thing. They weren’t the huge outfit they would become in just a few months at this point, and the financial imperative to try to carry on was born out of desperation more than anything else. Cancelling their second US tour in just a few short months when they were effectively going out as headliners for the first time was tantamount to disaster, hence the attempt to play without RB. I think in the end common sense prevailed, but no one could have foreseen just how huge they were on the verge of becoming at this point.

  15. 15
    Ron says:

    @14, my comments are directed at Purple’s management. Compare their MGT to LZ. The fact that they were unaware how huge Purple were becoming even after Machine Head is amazing. There was no strategic vision at all. It was tour and record until you beat that horse to death. The Rolling Stones had strategic vision in spades even as a club act. So did The Who, LZ and Sabbath. Blackmore speaks very negatively9 about “management.” It’s absolutely insane that they thought they could replace Blackmore on a major US tour. It really shows the mindset. ‘Show me the money” was the focus. Look, they weren’t total incompetents obviously as the band was ultimately very successful globally. However, management made a lot of mistakes and as much as I like Randy California it’s good that lasted 1 show….should have been zero. Also, Jon Lord stated that he would have found a way to keep MK2 together implying Mgt fell short. How many bands get new and unknown frontmen on the year they are the biggest band in the world? It’s also hard to imagine if Zeppelin headlined CALJAM instead of Purple if that timing fiasco would have happened. Can anyone imagine Jimmy Page being screamed at, forced, or being told they are done in the USA if they don’t go out right now by some numbskull at ABC Television. I really think Zeppelin’s management would have figured it out early in the day the show was running 2 hours early and would have said very clearly to the promoters to slow down or be prepared to wait for the headliner until nightfall. Purple was handed a bad situation. Lastly, the Come Taste the Band Tour was a total flop outside of arguably a few good US shows. Bolin could not play the MK2 songs and Hughes was out of control . It was obvious. You suddenly saw Robert Plant at MK4 Purple shows….gloating no doubt. How Purple’s management allowed the Tokyo show to be filmed and released is more amazing. Not as amazing as the fact that there is very little high quality pro shot color footage of MK2 live – where is the concert footage of Mk2’s last show? Gillan gave months notice. Zeppelin did Songs Remain the Same at MSG in NYC. How cool would a Purple film commemorating MK2s last show in Tokyo have been? Total morons! Film a drugged up Bolin and Hughes and not film Gillan’s last show? Management allowed Purple, after the disaster of Mk4 in Indonesia and Japan to tour their home UK market resulting in another disaster. Certainly, after Bolin’s performance in Japan the UK tour should have been cancelled. Management from the time Gillan decided to leave, to when Blackmore decided to leave, to the disaster our MK world tour really on made decisions focused on the here and now and failed to see the big picture.

    I could go on and on. Purple’s management often dropped the ball at key moments. Purple is not the only band with internal issues. In fact Purple’s issues were minor compared to the very insane things that went on in other bands including the aforementioned Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones and The Who. In fact, to this day, the comments from all parties, including Ritchie and Big Ian are muted. The nastiest and most bitter stuff on film said about Ritchie is by far said by Ronnie James Dio not Ian Gillan.

    To my original question, can anyone imagine Zeppelin trying to replace Jimmy Page with a stand-in before a major US tour?

    Btw, I first heard “Made in Japan’ when I was 10 years old I knew right away that Purple was something very special. I never heard that combination of talent before especially Gillan. Blackmore and Lord. Wow!

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