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Machine Head documentary
The Highway Star

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Chris Clark
Jonathan Cornick
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Iain Harnish
Joel Hammerman
Philippe Josep
Ian Linn
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Wolf Schneider
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Mark Zutkoff

TV edition reviews:
Martin Cook

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Shorter TV version also brilliant

This is not a review of the DVD, but of the broadcast version aired on ITV1 in England on Nov 27 2002.

Straight into the guys talking about the albums leading up to Machine Head, and Jon's labour of love, i.e. the Concerto, with Ritchie saying "if it works I'll play with orchestras for the rest of my life," and gentle comments from the others.

Then the intro proper to Machine Head and the "this is how we write a song" bit re the coach ride to Portsmouth, plus footage of an early performance of Highway Star. Roger and The Wasp aka Martin Birch play the original tapes, cutting and adding instruments showing how simple each layer appears, especially Ritchie's lead lines in three of the featured tracks, HS, SOTW and POH.

The syncronicity of certain individual reminiscences, e.g., the recognisabilty of Beethoven and the cracks about RB's short-wave radio in his hat, and Ritchie's acknowledgement of stealing the riff for POH from Bulgarian radio, make me wonder if clips were shown to each member during the filming.

But it was good to see and hopefully believe that there is real respect for each other despite what has happened between various members through the years.

Best bit for me in the editing was the description of getting from the room where the band recorded to the studio truck for playbacks. Each step being related by a different band member.

All in all a brilliant insight into the making of a classic album, which in its original black vinyl form went on my turntable this morning for a long awaited re-listen. If the amiabilty sensed in this programme is a true and deep felt thing between the Mark 2 members then perhaps Jon Lord's dream of getting a massive every-line-up gig by DP off the ground, might be more than a pipe dream, and I would love to be there.

Martin Cook

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