Purple Deep Purple In Rock
Firstly, due kudos to Simon Robinson, Roger Glover and the rest for doing this anniversary re-issue. It's a complete stunner.

Secondly, this is a completely rambling semi-review of life, Deep Purple and everything. I make no apologies.

I'd bought the Feb '85 picture disk version (for the record, in W.H Smiths in Watford for a fiver along with the piccy versions of Fireball and Machine Head) so I suppose I'd been starved of decent playable versions of the studio albums for a long time. Possibly explains my continuing preference for live stuff of Mks two through four.


Apart for from being a well spent fifteen quid for the embossed CD case, Simon's loving 24 page history of the album from the shafting of Evans and Simper[1] to the addendum telling the story of this version, and a full half hour of added Stuff(TM) what you get is a set of songs, riffs and sheer absolute musicianship that would put most modern bands to complete shame.

/ One of the comments from the Made in Japan album that sticks in my mind is "We want everything louder than everything else!" (who said that?), and to quote Roger on the mixing of In Rock: "The sound was saturating the tape. If I had to pick one image that sums up In Rock, it would be the VU meters on the consoles bent hard over to the right, always in the red, always pumping..."

This is the essence of Deep Purple. Pushing to the edge. It goes for most of the later lineups one way or another too[2], but it was in MkII where the core achieved meltdown.

Speed King: The song that Ritchie wanted written as an opener was somewhat of an embarrassment for me once. I was locked away at a boarding school and weekends were a time for getting into mufti, sneaking out for a cigarette and listening to loud music. That was around time of Saxon, Iron Maiden, Motorhead and so on. However, Speed King was harder and bluesier than any of those so this would be cranked up to eleven as a mood setter for a nihilistic adolescent Saturday night. To have the lyrics on the tip of yer tongue whilst trying to chat up a bird. But then I guess, that's what the song's all about.

Bloodsucker: What a riff! Just play this to anyone who thinks "Smoke" is the be-all and end-all.

[ Trond notes: Re: Bloodsucker: Roger mentions this (in the DPiR Anniversary ed. interview) as one of the few occasions where Ritchie and him went into a hotel room with acoustic guitars to write riffs together! Hardly ever happened before or after, with anyone! ]

Child in Time: Having come from the live albums, complete with long extemporisation, it seemed to me that there was a bridge missing between the initial vocal G-G-Am section and the "bah-da-la-dah" lead in to the solos. The studio version comletes the picture with the lyrical guitar solo before Richie launches into a machine gun of runs and virtuoso madness.

I was a touch shocked at Gillan's comment: "There was a racket going on and I just yelled, that's all it was to me." Given the IGB named an album after it and it's stayed around so long, I'm sure it must have grown on him a bit. Simon comments "So Joe Lynn was right all along". Hmmmmm...

Living Wreck: Paicey describes the "nasty" sounds of the drums. Roger descibes the fact that it only just made it onto the album. For me it paints a picture from Big Ian's autobiography where he describes going from a gig somewhere in the far East somewhere with the "most amazingly beautiful Chinese women" and waking up the next morning on a squalid rooftop with a mouthful of rice, opening his eyes to the most hideous toothless crones he'd ever seen. Life imitating art perhaps?

If Living Wreck only just made it, how many songs that other bands would give their eye teeth for got left by the wayside?

Black Night: One night I was lying in front of the box watching Top of the Pops (in glorious Black and White, well more like blue and sepia but you know...) and this band came on, sullenly miming to a song, which registered a bit at the time. I distinctly remember my old man saying "those are funny lookin' fellas'...". One up on some glam bands to follow, where the comment was "Those are funny lookin' birds...". So, that night was clearly burned into my subconcious for later recognition when I heard MiJ and went out and bought In Concert instead. Just one of those formative experiences. Thought you'd like to know.

Speed King the piano version: Beautiful, just beautiful. One good reason on its own for getting this CD.

As a final comment before the footnotes (designed to avoid heavy parenthesis which non-programmers probably couldn't sort out), I'd like to assert that the key to Deep Purple is not Ritchie's ego since Hughes' must have been on a par nor his playing since Bolin, Satch and Morse are/have been as able, not Jon's organ sound, not Gillan's vocals since Evans, Hughes and Coverdale between them have covered as much territory and not Roger's bass since Simper and Hughes have contributed much in different ways.

No, the pillar running through the Deep Purple edifice is Ian Paice's drumming. This was brought home to me on the Foxbat CDs where the looseness (not necessarily sloppiness!) of Coverdale, Hughes and Bolin required a drummer who could listen as well as lay down a beat. This added to a man who never appeared to give less than 110% in any performance and one with both talent and application is what gave Purple its bedrock and the ability to turn to any genre at the whim of whoever was in charge at the time.

Here's to Ian Paice! Now, where's that solo album?

[1] The similarly stiffed Episode Six were lucky to pick up Jon Gustavson to sing _and_ play bass. He was subsequently to perform with Ian Gillan on Jesus Christ Superstar and then join the Ian Gillan Band for their "Fusion" phase.

[2] To have been forced to buy In Rock so soon after the release of the Foxbat recordings must surely be some kind of punishment. Certainly my wife thought so.