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Rain all day, and no piano

Butterfly Ball artwork

Louder Sound reprints a Classic Rock feature on Roger Glover’s Butterfly Ball that originally appeared in the magazine in June 2018.

Of all the many Deep Purple offshoots and projects, there’s none more fanciful or just plain quirky than Roger Glover’s The Butterfly Ball And The Grasshopper’s Feast. A poem for children written in 1802 by historian, art collector, botanist, sometime MP and occasional writer William Roscoe, The Butterfly Ball was adapted in 1973 into a then-popular book by author William Plomer and illustrator Alan Aldridge. Plomer died before it was published, but its success prompted Aldridge to conceive of expanding the idea into an album that would go on to soundtrack an animated film.

Initially, Aldridge imagined Pink Floyd as composers of the music to fit the theme of a woodland party for insects and other small animals. When that didn’t pan out, he approached first Jon Lord, who was too busy with Purple, and then the band’s just-departed bass player.

Continue reading in Louder Sound.

16 Comments to “Rain all day, and no piano”:

  1. 1
    Thorsun says:

    For me the best moments of the record are the RJD fronted songs – “Sitting in a Dream” and “Homeward”. They show broadness of Ronnie’s voice. The man who eventually ended as a heavy metal singing Zeus could have been a Broadway crooner with the softness and the melody he could ensure. One of a kind. “Behind the Smile” with murky Coverdale is also a highlight. And Mickey Lee Soule always cracks me up: “Don’t drink the water… It’s bad for you… Can’t drink it anymore”. Just love it. Oh, and “Little Chalk Blue” with John Lawton. What a voice he had set up too. Both Ronnie and John dearly missed.

  2. 2
    Fla76 says:

    I love all of Roger’s little discography, all little masterpieces.

    the Butterfly ball was an explosion of creativity, there was the typical jam air of the 70s and something of the reggae and funky rhythms so dear to our bassist.
    the live concert was probably something indelible for the spectators of the time.
    for the magical atmosphere, for Gillan’s incredible performance, for the 3 Purple singers present…. only they know how much love they made backstage with the girls!

    the images with people dressed as animals look great in my opinion, they convey the right creativity of the work and of the 70s in general

  3. 3
    MacGregor says:

    You are not wrong Thorsun & I have also stated that many times before. Those Dio vocal performances along with John Lawton’s on Little Chalk Blue are sublime indeed. R J Dio being ‘labelled’ a metal vocalist by some over the years is actually rather diminishing to his vocals prowess for me. Cue Rainbow’s song Rainbow Eyes. He was much more than a ‘rock’ vocalist, as were many other rock music vocalists. Cheers.

  4. 4
    Harold Sorensen says:

    Love this album! I wish that he and gillan would make another Gillian and Glover album, I still enjoy the one they made ,still sounds so fresh!

  5. 5
    Thorsun says:


    Fla. I might not be a big afficionado of Roger’s later albums, but I find 1978 “Elements” a splendid work, a truly overlooked masterpiece. The work of Graham Preskett on the violin there and Simon Phillips’ drumming are astounding, but the music itself shows how imaginary as a composer Roger could get if properly inspired. If anyone here doesn’t know this hidden gem yet – go find it, highly recommended, no disappointment guaranteed.

  6. 6
    stoffer says:

    Our kids (3) would sit on our bed and listen to the whole LP while looking at the album art and let their imaginations take over. Wonderful and creative music!

  7. 7
    Fla76 says:

    however if possible I prefer Elements even more to the Butterfly, even if both are almost praiseworthy….the first ring made of clay absolute masterpiece

  8. 8
    Max says:

    Accidentally on Purpose! Finally! Now it’s revealed who bought the other copy… 🙂

    Same here, I really like all of Roger’s work outside DP.

    Snapshot is – IMHO – an all time classic. Even the girl loves it. And everyone I played it to liked it instantly. Excellent songs, great lyrics, Randall Bramblett and Warren Haynes guesting … and then Roger’s daughter Gillian who has a great voice. I bought her albums as well and enjoy listing to them a lot.

  9. 9
    Uwe Hornung says:

    “Accidentally on Purpose! Finally! Now it’s revealed who bought the other copy… 🙂”

    Not so fast, young man, AOP is together with IGB’s CAT and Sabbath’s Born Again my favorite “Gillan outside Purple”-project. I love that album, I wish Telephone Box had become a DP number and whenever I am at an airport I start humming “Via Miami” – the middle part that sounds like the needle got stuck! 😁

    You guys are ALL to blame for not chipping in with the crowd funding Roger started some years ago (I of course did, it wasn’t enough) to get the Live Butterfly Ball released, and if I may add accusingly: Support from this site of sites for this curator’s dream of a project was lukewarm and perfunctory at best, I think you mentioned it once (and when it floundered not even that was deemed worth a mention) – YOU SHOULD HAVE PUT UP A BANNER AND HAMMERED IT INTO PEOPLE’S HEADS TO GET PORPHYROPHILES (term courtesy of the luminous Dr Lao) IN LINE FOR IT!!!

    I needed to get this appalling dereliction of duty off my chest. 😒

    If you all feel guilty enough and promise to make amends, maybe we could get Herr Glover to give it another try? It was professionally recorded at the time, the source material exists. And btw, like Fla76 I didn’t mind the pantomime people cosplaying as animals either, it was 70s artsy. The cartoon to the Love Is All, otoh, was a really piss-poor job, certainly not Disney or Watership Down quality.

  10. 10
    Max says:

    Clear Air Turbulence … unequaled in the history of mankind. No doubt, Uwe. We share a love for the projects that followed the end of the band in 76 it seems to me. Northwinds, Play me out, Malice in Wonderland, White Snake, Private Eyes … sigh. Those were the dayys as they say.

    I’ve got a poor quality bootleg DVD of the Butterfly Ball show and enjoyed it enough to fancy a proper release.

    I even get a ticket for a Springsteen shohoho!

  11. 11
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Max, are you married yet? 😍

  12. 12
    Uwe Hornung says:

    The live performance of BuBa is of great porphyrophile historic value because

    – Roger had forgotten his hat for the performance and the bandana was still a few decades off,

    – it is the return of Big Ian as a singer to the public,

    – John Lawton (once a potential pick for an Ian Gillan successor) is featured,

    – anything featuring Vincent Price ranks at the top of the cült-ö-meter if you ask me, the man never overacted,


    – and Twiggy wasn’t so bad either, so there!


    It’s criminal that after all these decades there is still no CD and Blu-ray release of it.

  13. 13
    Fla76 says:

    #9 Uwe:

    speaking about Roger, what I love about AOP is the connection with The Mask, his 80’s solo sound was fantastic, present in both albums, those synths, all the songs of these two albums could have been in one soundtrack of any detective film by Bruce Willis, Clint Eastwood, Eddie Murphy, etc….(apart from obviously Lonely Avenue which was in Rain man)

  14. 14
    Uwe Hornung says:

    Roger’s Mask sounded more like Duran Duran than Deep Purple in places, but what the hell I loved Duran Duran!


    Of all the bands to come out of the New Romantic movement, they had the most attitude.

  15. 15
    Albania says:

    I love Accidentally on Purpose. All great songs. In fact, I play it especially often mid April-mid October on my way to and from work. That is the time when the roof, doors, etc. come off the Wrangler, and AOP is usually in constant rotation on the mighty Alpine system 😉

  16. 16
    Max says:

    @11 As close as I could get …I may have hesitated to finally tie the knot because something was missing I couldn’t really put my finger on… a bit more interest for the rockfield mixes on her side maybe?

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