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Paice Ashton Lord – “Malice In Wonderland”

When DEEP PURPLE disbanded in 1976, Jon Lord and Ian Paice decided to start a new band, not trying to recreate what they already had with DEEP PURPLE but to explore new musical directions.

As frontman they recruited singer and keyboard player Tony Ashton. Jon Lord had already collaborated with Tony Ashton composing the soundtrack for “The Last Rebel” (published 1971 as “Musical score composed by Tony Ashon & Jon Lord, performed by Ashton, Gardner & Dyke”) and on “First Of The Big Bands” (published 1974 as “Tony Ashton & Jon Lord”), an album which could be seen as some sort of blueprint for “Malice in Wonderland”.

The lineup was completed with Paul Martinez on bass and Bernie Marsden on guitar, a brass section fronted by Howie Casey and two female background singers, Sheila McKinley and Jeanette McKinley.

The recordings took place in Munich in autumn 1976 in basement studio of the Arabella hotel (inspiration for the song “Arabella”) and the album was released in early 1977, surprising many DEEP PURPLE fans with a mix of Rock, Blues, Funk and Jazz.

To promote the album, a tour covering major European cities had been planned, but as tickets didn’t sell as expected, most dates were dropped from the oncoming tour, leaving just five British dates to be performed.

As time went by, Tony Ashton felt more and more uncomfortable with his role as frontman of PAL and it also turned out the fans needed more time to adjust to the sound of Paice Ashton Lord as expected. By the end of 1977, the band started the recordings for a second album, but as the momentum was gone the album was never finished and the band called it quits in 1978.

“Malice In Wonderland”  will be reissued on May 17 2019 by earMUSIC, using the 2001 remaster by Nick Watson for the tracks of the original album. The release will also include eight bonus tracks from the never finished second album, remastered in 2019 by Eike Freese. The booket contains previously unpublished photographs by Alan Messer and detailed liner notes by Simon Robinson.

Sadly the reissue misses the opportunity to include the “Sight & Sound In Concert” live recording, which would have been a perfect addition to this otherwise fine release of an impressive album.



30 Comments to “Paice Ashton Lord – “Malice In Wonderland””:

  1. 1
    Philippe Pomiès says:

    A superb album..! On the road again !

  2. 2
    Francesco Adriani says:

    strange album, not necessary!

  3. 3
    Andy Coulibaly Thompson says:

    Superb news not available legally streaming wise👀

  4. 4
    Andy Coulibaly Thompson says:

    Thanks for the heads up 😎

  5. 5
    Sergio Chiorino says:


  6. 6
    Rune Busk says:

    I still have the album. A ghost story and the funny Silas and Jerome.

  7. 7
    Serge Aubert says:

    Rune Busk me too!

  8. 8
    Ano says:

    Still have the original, bought in 1977.

  9. 9
    Ron Schroen says:

    Fantastic! One of my favourite Purple side-projects and what a great album…
    To be re-released in a few weeks! 👌🏻😎

  10. 10
    Paul Kingham says:

    Saw the first concert in Birmingham and love the album

  11. 11
    Molly Hogan says:

    what a storyteller, great Tony Ashton. One of these gems. A step from purple to the unexpected

  12. 12
    Rikk Desgres says:

    Fantastic record.

  13. 13
    telboy says:

    I am sorry if this offends any fans but is this why punk happened ?

  14. 14
    Jet Auto Jerry says:

    When I first read about this re-release a few weeks back I had to dig out my original copy that I bought used around 1980/81 for $1.99 from Music Market in Costa Mesa, California (shedding a tear for the long gone store). I had not listened to it in years. I remembered a few of the songs very well and there were a couple that just slipped my memories but it is a fine grab bag of stuff and one might think they are listening to an old Blood Sweat & Tears album with those horns on a couple of tracks. My vinyl is tits but I will be getting this new CD for the bonus material. It looks like I will have to order from Amazon UK however because I have yet to find it listed here in the states.

  15. 15
    Lovely Lady Cakes says:

    I love it! Brilliant

  16. 16
    Bengan says:

    Great album. The bonus tracks was also included on the 2001 release. So nothing previously unreleased material on this new release, then. Disappointing!

  17. 17
    stoffer says:

    Remember The Good Times is one my all time favorite tunes!

  18. 18
    Micke says:

    One of the best albums out of the Purple family! Always a pleasure to listen to! Have both original vinyl and remastered cd.

  19. 19
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    For your listening pleasure…

  20. 20
    Andreas Thul says:

    Hey Bengan @16, while the original album uses the 2001 remaster, all bonus tracks have been remastered in 2019.

  21. 21
    uwe hornung says:

    Telboy @13: Doubtful. PAL had a healthy pub rock injection via Tony Ashton’s influence and the punks never had issues with pub rock or they wouldn’t have flocked at Dr Feelgood gigs.

    The arena grandeur and fantasy lyrics of Rainbow Rising were probably more anathema to the punk movement than anything PAL ever did or did not do. Ironically, PAL disbanded because they were NOT really an arena rock offering (which is what people expected from anything with the “ex-Dee Purple”-tag).

  22. 22
    Ritchie says:

    My all time favorite Album! The band, the Music, the groove. The musicians loved the Album. It’s Music from the bottom of the heart and a absolute masterpiece of three pals: Paicey, Ted (Tony) & Jed (Jon). Love it.

  23. 23
    James says:

    I not only still have the vinyl but the T shirt as well – I saw them at The Rainbow. Signed by Jon too, though as I was wearing it at the time it’s barely recognisable as a signature, let alone his. The title track is the stand-out for me, that and Ian’s playing. Ghost Story and I’m Gonna Stop Drinking are my other faves, but I liked Arabella more before I realised it was about a hotel… Don’t get your hopes up re the second album if you’ve not heard it before, but it’s definitely worth having the first one.

  24. 24
    Ivica says:

    For me, among three best albums of ex DP / 1976-1984 / together with Rainbow “Rising” and “Gillan” Mr Universe “

  25. 25
    LeonR2Z says:

    Hopefully this will also be available in the US. Really looking forward to this. Shame about the Sight & Sound gig as I’ve watched it a few times on YouTube and it really is good.

    Glad to see Simon is doing the notes etc as he really is excellent at this.

    Please say Hi to him for me!

  26. 26
    Michiel says:

    Was just listening to [former PAL bassist Paul Martinez’ former band] Stretch and bumped into a familiar riff at the beginning of the song ‘Miss Dizzy’.

  27. 27
    Blackwood Richmore says:

    @ 26 Michiel… just for you:

  28. 28
    Jet Auto Jerry says:

    NOW AVAILABLE ON AMAZON USA BUT………. I ended up pre-ordering this from Amazon UK and it is on its way (even though I was not supposed to be able to per the page since I am in the States). It only cost me $16 total American (after the exchange rate) which was cheaper than what it was supposed to be. For whatever reason the priced dropped from British 9.99 to 8.67 or something in the cart so no complaints here. After I received the “Out for delivery” email I checked Amazon USA and they now show it available on 5/24 at $23/CD and $40/Vinyl. Unless you need it right away try Amazon UK or just wait for it to be sold by one of the British stores in the marketplace. I have ordered a few things that were cheaper to get from a British/European seller then they were to get from Amazon US proper.

  29. 29
    Brian Jackson says:

    The Sight and Sound concert has been issued on CD and DVD already (more than once, looking at my shelves). The missed opportunity is on a rare version of Malice [1995, Repertoire Records] which had three extra live tracks, Ghost Story from Birmingham (26 Mar) and Steamroller Blues and Ballad of Mr Giver from London (not S&S, but The Rainbow 1 Apr 77) which suggests that both concerts were recorded but other than these three tracks have never been issued.

  30. 30
    Mike Hannon says:

    Brilliant album and brilliant band. Wish they had done more. It was the first gig I ever went to. And the Sight & Sound DVD brings it all back to me

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