OK, I know this is a bit belated, but I wanted to listen to MH 25 several times before I did this.
Once, I had the original MH LP in my possession; fold out sleeve with the photo mosaic and all. Really liked the album, but couldn't keep it (wasn't mine) and couldn't buy it (didn't have any money). For some unknown reason, I haven't bought it, although I have bought tons of DP CDs the last few years.
My all-time favorite has always been "Made in Japan", and since a lot of material on MiJ comes from MH, I seem to put the MiJ versions up as my references. Over the last years I have bought a lot of different live recordings, many of them with the songs who originated on MH. So I have become well acquainted with the songs, but haven't listened to the originals on MH for ... more years than I like to recall.
So I had some nerves when MH 25 was coming up. Would it be dull to me? Would I miss the point? Would it show that I didn't have the reference?
I told myself I would listen to the original (remastered) several times
before putting on the remixes by Roger.
I know HS, the first cut well, but it still took me by surprise. I had forgotten that MH was without the IP drum build, and started right on! And that groove! Gee, this is *real* rock and roll! And it's getting better and better.
I have listened to it several times now, and have eventually listened to the 1997 remixes, and here are a few of my comments:
First; it just so good it can't be explained. The splendid songs, the tightness of the band, the honesty in the playing, the surprisingly good sound. I like it very much.
Pictures of Home and Maybe I'm a Leo stand out for me now. They seem to be fresh to me. Many of the other songs I still seem to cling to some live versions, especially "Lazy" (which I read was designed as a live solo number, so it makes sense).
I also like the remastered quad mixes. Although this is stereo, the extra solos seem to stand out on my stereo set, almost like leaping out physically of the speakers. The real quad version must have been stunning. Do/did they ever do quad live?
Since I haven't had MH for years, the "new" solos doesn't bother or surprise me. But comparing the remaster with the quad mixes and the remixes, I do see the point.
Now, this is probably blasphemy, but I think the opening riff of SOTW sounds thin, both on the remaster and on the remix. I do understand that TMIB was going for a dry, staccato style, but the sound seem to be hidden in a corner; it doesn't crank out, as it did later on the live shows. But then, SOTW was the last tune on MH to be included in the live set, and not the first single, so... It's still very nice to hear it so dry and direct, BTW, as it turned out pretty loose on some live shows later on (not to mention what happened to it during Mk III).
The remixes is just the difference between night and day. Yes, I agree
with Roger that most of the times it's subtle. But it is definitely
there. Just having the songs unedited show us that already in the making
of the songs, the development into live songs was already there.
And what Rog and his team did with WaBMC... Brilliant!
Why is it that all the so-called heavy rockers was able to put out moody, heart-touching ballads? Without making any comparisons, both DP, Nazareth, Uriah Heep and Led Zeppelin comes to mind as bands with superb ballads. Must be the greatness of musical craft.
At last, I wanted to compare the MH song as performed on MH with the
performances on LATO. What? Unfair? No!
The songs are great on both albums! Some have changed over the years, but some have not. Steve said somewhere that he wanted to stick to TMIBs original versions from MH, and he really does. Remember that I heard LATO before I heard MH 25, so that I could only compare LATO with MiJ. LATO seemed fresh to me, like MiJ. And I enjoyed to have a lot of "new" songs in the set. Listening to MH 25 and LATO, I am surprised to listen to some songs, as they have remained the same, but maintained the freshness, the dynamic and the intensity. Hey! If I'm able to do whatever I am doing now with the same feel and intensity after 25 years, I will not only be surprised - I will be very proud.
And that's what Deep Purple should be. Or us, the fans. Proud and happy, for having all this brilliant music, performed so well, both now and 25 years ago.
Oh, yes; to all you Americans; I have the EMI 100 deluxe case; slimcase inside a box, together with the EMI 100 history inside another box. Nice! (Thanks, Anders).
Isn't it just great to have DP live and well, coming up with completely
new songs, shows and records, while recalling old days afresh?
At least I am reliving my youth while growing mature. Or just old.