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DVDs

Deep Purple – California Jam 1974

DEEP PURPLEs „California Jam“ appearance, filmed on April 06, 1974 has been available on DVD since 2005. ear music now offers a new cut of the video as 2016 DVD and Blu-ray release.

While the DVD, issued in a standard DVD case, features the new version and a digitized Super 8 crew recording, the Blu-ray also offers the original video edit as bonus and is published in a nice Digipak. Prior to editing, the material had been processed to improve its quality which results in a brighter and sharper image compared to the unprocessed original cut.

Sadly, Stephan Liehr (who did the additional editing) did not only choose different and maybe better angles for some scenes, but played around with side-by-side pictures and faded overlays. Especially during sequences like Ritchie Blackmore’s guitar solo in „Mistreated“, where the front camera has been faded over the back camera the whole time, the new edit is just annoying and less enjoyable than the original cut which changes the camera from time to time.

As the audio and video quality didn’t improve drastically and the new edit doesn’t add more than some playing around with video editing software, there’s no need to buy the DVD or Blu-ray if you already own „California Jam“ on DVD.

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CDs

Jon Lord – Gemini Suite

jl-gsBack in 1969, the lineup of DEEP PURPLE had seen a drastic change: Jon Lord, Ritchie Blackmore and Ian Paice split up with singer Rod Evans and bass player Nick Simper and hired the former EPISODE SIX musicians Ian Gillan and Roger Glover to complete the lineup.

One of the first shows to feature the new lineup was the live performance of Jon Lord’s „Concerto For Group and Orchestra“, an ambitious work to unite the different worlds of a rock band and a full orchestra which lay the foundation for Jon Lords career as composer / writer and solo artist. About a year later, the follow-up of the „Concerto“ faced the light of day during a live performance at the Royal Festival Hall, again featuring his DEEP PURPLE bandmates and conductor Malcolm Arnold.

Contrary to the „Concerto“, which took more than 40 years to be recorded in a studio, Jon Lord went to the studio in 1971 to record „Gemini Suite“ as a studio project. At that time, the rock career of DEEP PURPLE was in full flight and Ian Gillan and Ritchie Blackmore showed no interest in participating in the recording and were replaced by guitar player Albert Lee , multi talented Tony Ashton and singer Yvonne Elliman.

While the „Concerto“ had its focus on band and orchestra as a whole, „Gemini Suite“ did focus on the different instruments, dedicating a track to guitar, piano, drums, vocals bass guitar and organ respectively.

The first CD release was a straight release in 1987 on Line Records in Germany being the only official (and now long deleted) version until the remastered release on Purple Records more than 20 years later. The 2016 release is not based on any of those previous versions and features new artwork and a new remaster by Rob Cass, based on the original stereo mixes of the album.

Not owning the 2008 remaster, a comparison with the 1987 release shows quite some improvement in sound quality with more details being audible than on the original CD release. Luckily, the remaster doesn’t follow the popular trend of brick-walling every track and preserves the dynamics and overall feel of the original recording. The booklet gives no explaination why the original artwork has been dropped and was replaced by completely new design, but the new foreword by Roger Glover adds some enjoyable pages to the booklet.

Only thing to criticize is the record company did not use a proper Digipak for the release and decided to go with some LP-like fold-out papersleeve instead, resulting in your CD getting the first fingerprints and scratches before even being played.

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CDs

Deep Purple „In Rock anniversary edition“ zerstört sich selbst

Leider ist wohl nicht nur die „Live In Japan“ betroffen – auch bei meiner Deep Purple “In Rock anniversary edition“ sind inzwischen fast die gleichen Symptome festzustellen:

dp-ir-cracks

Von der Mitte ausgehend ist das Plastik mit Sprüngen und Kratzern durchbrochen während ein Großteil der Disc mit kleinen Punkten und einem ölig aussehenden Film überzogen ist.

Der Innenring der betroffenen CD hat die Prägung “EMI UDEN 8340192″ und “4-1-2-NL” während eine CD mit der Prägung “EMI UDEN 8340192 @12″ und “6-1-4-NL” keine der beschriebenen Symptome aufweist.

Zu dem Thema gibt es auch einen Beitrag auf „The Highway Star“ mit größtenteils nicht sehr sachdienlichen Kommentaren.

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CDs

Deep Purple – Graz 1975

dp-graz1975Back in 1975 DEEP PURPLE MK III were playing their final shows, with the majority of the band and the audience not even knowing. Ritchie Blackmore, unsatisfied with most tracks on the latest DEEP PURPLE album “Stormbringer” collaborated with singer Ronnie James Dio to record a solo single (which grew to an entire album) and finally took the decision to leave DEEP PURPLE and form a new band called RAINBOW. During a short touring break before the last of the planned dates, Blackmore informed the management about his decision to leave and the management took the opportinity to bring in the Rolling Stones mobile recording studio to capture the MKIII final shows taking place in Graz, Saarbrücken and Paris.

As the band didn’t break up after Ritchie Blackmore left and the rest of the band continued with Tommy Bolin, the live recordings weren’t published as intended and it took until October 1976 for at least some of the material (the majority taken from the Saarbrücken show) to be released on an heavily edited live album called “Made In Europe”. Another 20 years later, “MK III The Final Concerts” was released, using mostly recordings from Paris with additional five tracks from Graz. In 2001 the Paris show finally got a release in its entirety and another 13 years later the still unpublished songs ”The Gypsy”, “Lady Double Dealer” and “Smoke On The Water” of the Graz show are finally released under the “The Official Deep Purple (Overseas) Live Series” banner.

While the disc starts with quite straight performances of “Burn” (DC: that was the title of the album “Burn”), “Stormbringer” (DC: this is the title of the last album), “The Gypsy” (GH: this one’s called “The Gypsy”) and “Lady Double Dealer” (GH: this is called “Lady double dealer”) the show changes from “Mistreated” (GH: it’s a blues song called “Mistreated”) on with the inclusion of less or more extensive and inspired solo parts. While most of the original MK III stuff is fun to listen to, especially “Smoke On The Water” (DC: this is a song from the album “Made In Japan”) with Glenn Hughes and David Coverdale singing against each other sounds horrible and the inclusion of “Georgia On My Mind” and “With A Little Help From My Friends” during the end of the song sounds misplaced.

It is also audible that Ritchie Blackmore sounds closer to the soon-to-follow RAINBOW-days than to the Mark II era, even including bits and pieces of the soon-to-be-released “Still I’m Sad” during the intro to ”You Fool No One” (DC: a song called “You fool no one”). The album concludes with “Space Truckin’” (GH: a song which has been with us quite a while), another MK II tune which sounds mistreated by the MK III vocalists and some strange instrumental parts.

Although it’s good to see at least some new stuff being released from the vaults instead of a record company publishing the same things over and over again, it’s annoying this release of the Graz show is still incomplete and lacks the encores. Hopefully the final product will clarify the reason as the press info doesn’t even mention the show being incomplete.

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CDs

Album-Highlights 2013

album_highlights_2013

Meine Album-Highlights des Jahres 2013 in alphabetischer Reihenfolge:

Deep Purple: Now What?!

Mit dem richtigen Produzenten klingt Ian Gillan endlich wieder nach Ian Gillan und auch der Rest der Band versprüht auf „Now What?!“ wieder die Spielfreude aus „Purpendicular“-Zeiten.

Fish: A Feast Of Consequences

Waren „Field Of Crows“ und „13th Star“ bereits hervorragende Alben, so übertrifft Fish mit „A Feast Of Consequences“ diese mühelos und beeindruckt besonders mit der „The Highwood Suite“.

Iron Maiden: Maiden England ’88

Damals leider die Tour verpasst und IRON MAIDEN erst auf der alles andere als berauschenden „No Prayer For The Dying“-Tour zum ersten Mal gesehen. Einziger Minuspunkt aus heutiger Sicht ist das fehlende „Fear Of The Dark“, das 1988 aber noch nicht geschrieben war.

Alan Parsons: LiveSpan

Los geht’s mit „I Robot“, mittendrin das komplette „Turn of a friendly Card“ und am Ende gibt’s „Games People Play“ – eigentlich nur schade, daß Alan Parsons seine Solo-Alben so gar nicht würdigt.

Steve Wilson: The Raven That Refused To Sing

Begeisterndes Solo-Album des Porcupine Tree-Frontmanns, das an mancher Stelle in King Chrimson-Erinnerungen schwelgen lässt.

Maßgebend war das Anschaffungs-, nicht das Erscheinungsdatum.