Friday, May 06, 2011

FDF Volume 3: Issue 224 - Deep Purple - Made in Japan

By: March

Album – Made in Japan
Artist – Deep Purple
Key Players – Richie Blackmore – lead guitar, Ian Paice – drums and percussion, Roger Glover - bass, Ian Gillan – vocals, harmonica, percussion, Jon Lord – organ, keyboards and electric piano
Produced By – Deep Purple

Release Date – April 1973

What caused me to blow off the dust? - Just in the mood for some real heavy 70's rock. This scratched that itch until I was bleeding.

Overview – Originally a double live album from UK heavy metal, progressive rock band Deep Purple recorded on their first tour of Japan in 1972. The album was recorded over three nights and various locations. The band, who were not fans of live albums, agreed to record it (for $3,000) and only planned to release it in Japan. Upon completion the bands label in the US (Warner Brothers) initially passed on it, then released it, where it went platinum (1 million sold) in less than a month.

FDF Comments (aka the songs) – The first two tracks were recorded in Osaka on August 16th. A slow drone and then Lord rolling up the keyboards as it sounds like the band takes the stage. Paice works the fans in to a frenzy and “Highway Star” begins. For a live album it is mixed very well. You hear the thump of the bass drum. Glover has a strong bass line that is high in the mix and Gillan is in fine form. Lord and Blackmore are not to be outdone and the two share a sequence together after the first verse with the band coming in around them. This my friends is metal. It is that simple. Heavy, clean, tight...just some booming stuff. “Child in Time” starts off quiet with Lord and Paice playing off one another with Glover putting in a few bass lines here and there. Gillan is laid back for a bit, but don't let that fool you. As soon as you think it will be a quiet song he howls over the top in loud and long operatic like screams. The band grows around him and it changes to a marching band tempo with Lord leading the charge with a great organ solo. Blackmore then gets to show off his chops on a great blues influenced solo. Glover and Paice really keep this together though. The rumble of Paice on the drums will have you turning up the volume, and taping your feet all the harder. Lord tosses in some quick bursts on keyboards as Blackmore continues to solo. The band returns to vocals and Gillan does another operatic run before the band swallows him up once more. It ends just as chaotic as you'd expect. Arguably the bands most well known song “Smoke on the Water” follows. This version was taken from August 15th (still in Osaka). Gillan introduces the song and then Blackmore teases that famous guitar intro. The audience claps along and by the time Paice does the hi-hat beat the audience is eating it up. Each member slowly joins and Gillan takes off. Upon this listen I really noticed how much Lord works out on the organ. Sure the guitar is well known, but if you really listen to what else is going on, it is really far more than you ever may have realized. It is more pronounced as the song goes on, but at the start it stands out. As big as that riff is, the band is in top form on this track. The next track is “The Mule”. This was taken from the Tokyo show on August 17th. The best line is uttered right at the start “Everything louder than everything else”. The band starts out with a tight jam before the vocals come in. The vocals are short and the bulk of this track (6+minutes) is a Paice drum solo. This is/was a big thing for 70's metal bands so we have to remember the time. Not a slag to his playing but it is a drum solo, and those have never translated well on a live record for me personally. Again, not that it is not good, but the band was true to keeping the track available “as is” so I applaud them for that. We jump back to Osaka on the 16th for “Strange Kind of Woman”. Lord once more has a heavy hand on the keyboards and the drone of the organ shakes your bones. Blackmore has a short solo but this is really a full band effort. No one player is the go to guy so its a great track for that. Glover and Blackmore play off one another for the first time it seems though. Glover does some swirling bass parts and the band breaks it down for an audience clap along. After a jam Gillan holds an operatic note for what feels like minutes. He then signals it to end and the bands wraps it up. We had back to Tokyo on the 17th for “Lazy”. The band starts a slow jam at the start and teases “Louie Louie” it feels like the band is trying to find the right step off point. They goof around with some organ and drum tandems. Once it gets rolling it is a heavy jam. If you put this on at a cookout heads would turn around and start to bob. It hits a deep and heavy groove. Clocking in over 10 minutes it is vocal free for the first 5 minutes. When Gillan comes in he is quick and focused with the band locked in. He plays the harmonica on this track and we fall back to a 12 bar blues jam. They tease this over and over and still keep a Deep Purple feel to it. The original album wrapped up with the 19:41 “Space Truckin”. This was taken from Osaka on the 16th. The audience claps along as Lord drops these HUGE deep organ tones. Paice hammers out the 4/4 time and the band all comes in. After the usual verse the band does “space” out some. Longer drum portions, with hushed bass guitar then organ fills. We make our way around the stage it seems with each player getting some time. Part of it is wanky, but at the same time you marvel at the engineering that was done. Every instrument can be heard. From the maraca shake to the floor tom and over to the guitar. When it happened I am sure it was something to witness. The final three tracks are called “encores”. “Black Night” was taken from the 17th in Tokyo and appears in full form, vs the edited version that had appeared on a b-side. Lord is the one that sets the tone and then Paice gets it really rolling as Blackmore feeds off his intro. Gillan asks if the audience is ready and they hammer down. “Speed King” is also from the same evening and Gillan says it is a song “designed to raise a little of perspiration”. The audience is wild with the announcement and the Paice drums are just thunderous. Gillan soars over the music but Blackmore, Glover and Lord are locked in and the song is just one sonic avalanche. This is some heavy stuff kids. The encore section wraps up with a cover of “Lucille”. This was from Osaka on the 16th. The band swaps some instruments around and gets ready to get rolling. After about 3 minutes they get underway and Lord rumbles the organ with Paice hammering the floor toms and bass drum. Little Richard would approve...he'd just have to because even if he yelled at them to stop, they'd never hear him.

Where are they now? - The band is still active today. Their last studio album was in 2005. Lord and Blackmore have left the band. In 2002 Lord left the band to concentrate on other music. In 2008 he released a classical album. Blackmore was a member of the band “Rainbow” for many years and since 1999 he has worked with his wife on various projects, one being “Blackmore's Night”.

FDF Personal Comments (aka the Live experience) – I have not seen the band live.

FDF Overall Take – Lets get this out of the way...they are not just a band that gave us “Smoke On the Water”. As a band with 18 studio albums there are a lot of gems for a new fan to track down. This album was really an introduction to the band for me personally. The sound on this record is just mammoth. I mean HUGE. The band is made up of very talented guys. Put “Smoke” on the side for a bit and open your mind. You'll probably really dig em.


Official Band page here.
myspace page
One of the better fan sites here.

Curious? Check out some MUSIC!

This is an audio only You Tube for Highway Star

Also, check out Strange Kind of Woman.

A great You Tube Doc that sings the praise of the record here
As well as part 2 here.


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