The Highway Star

Deep Purple - Graz 1975

26. Juli 2014 · Audio · andreas · Kein Kommentar

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 In 2001 the Paris show finally got a release in its entirety and another 13 years later the still unpublished songs ”The Gypsy”, “Lady Double Dealer” and “Smoke On The Water” of the Graz show are finally released under the “The Official Deep Purple (Overseas) Live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.

Deep Purple – Copenhagen 1972 DVD

18. August 2013 · Video · andreas · Kein Kommentar

dp-copenhagen1972dvdTwo months after earMUSIC re-released the Copenhagen show on CD, a DVD re-release of the same show is in the pipeline.

The DVD offers the same music content as the CD release, including the three live tracks (“Strange Kind Of Woman” / “Smoke On The Water” / “Space Truckin’”) from Hofstra University 1973 and is basically a re-issue of the “Live in Concert 1972/73” DVD.

The Copenhagen show was filmed by Danmark Radio, Denmark’s national radio and television station in black and white and offers a good picture quality, missing a few details which is fine regarding the age of the recording. It shows a young and energetic Deep Purple that could be visually compaired to the Deep Purple performing on “Doing their thing”, with a long haired Ian Gillan in an incredible sweater (Would be great to see THAT in colour!). During the bands perormance it’s clearly visible that the camera crew wasn’t sure what to expect, showing the “wrong” musicians during several solo spots.

The Hofstra clips are filmed in colour and show an optically changed and grown up band - especially Ian Gillan looks very different with cut hair and beard. The highlight of these bonus tracks is “Smoke On The Water”, the only known video recording of this song performed by the original MK II lineup.

The DVD leaves out the “Live in Concert 1972/73” bonus “Burn” (which would be somehow misplaced on a MK II recording), but adds “Deep Purple & The Music Revolution”, a stunning 11-minute gem as additional bonus: a very serious documentation about pop culture, taken from an unknown source (likely Swiss TV) featuring the young Claude Nobs and some band members of Deep Purple not willing to discuss thoughts like if their music is consumated like Coca Cola. Overall - as Ian Gillan summarizes - “Music is fun”.

Deep Purple - Copenhagen 1972

8. Juli 2013 · Audio · andreas · Kein Kommentar

dp-copenhagen1972“Copenhagen 1972” is the second release of the earMUSIC “The official Deep Purple (overseas) live series”.

While “Paris 1975″ features Deep Purple MKIII in their final days, “Copenhangen 1972” captures the legendard Deep Purple MKII at the peak of their career. Same as the Paris show, Copenhangen isn’t a new release.

The recording is basically the soundtrack to the “Live in Concert 1972/73″ video (better known as “Scandinavian Nights (Live in Denmark 1972)” in Europe) and reintroduces three MKII bonus tracks of the video which were left out on the Sonic Zoom CD release. In addition to these tracks (recorded on May 29, 1973 in New York at Hofstra University, Hempstead, Long Island) a track called “1971 Australian Interview” has been included as additional bonus.

The main show, recorded at the KB Hallen in Copenhagen, Denmark dates to March 01, 1972 and shows Deep Purple right before the release of the “Machine Head” studio album, Ian Gillan introducing the opening number “Highway Star” as “What we got is a new song. It’s one of the next album we got coming up. …”. While a couple of Machine Head songs made the first of their now everlasting appearances, the show also included a rare live version of “Fireball” which had been replaced in the setlist by “Smoke On The Water” about a week later.

Originally recorded as a TV feature, the recording – although remastered – still shows some weaknesses soundwise, especially when compared to more prominent recordings like “Made In Japan”: during the first tracks, guitar and organ are low in the mix while while drums and vocals dominate the scene, but this gets better during the following numbers. Contrary to the sound the band performance shows no compromises.

The bonus tracks, sound better than the Copenhagen show but sadly offer just a small part of Deep Purple 1973. The interview is ok for a one time listen, offering standard topics like the audiences being “really fantastic”.

The discs are packaged into a slim digipak with one disc sitting right above the other which means disc juggling and some unavoidable scratches are going to happen every now and then.

"Concerto" talk with Paul Mann

14. Oktober 2012 · Verschiedenes · andreas · Kein Kommentar

On October 1st, 2012 “The Highway Star” had the opportunity to do an interview with Paul Mann. Being the conductor of the 1999 “Concerto For Group And Orchestra” performance and the subsequent Deep Purple world tour, Paul became a close friend to Jon Lord. Being also heavily involved in the making of the brand new studio recording, he shares some insight on various topics.

… choosing the musicians

Right from the start my feeling was – and it was one Jon shared – that we should try to make this new recording about the piece itself, as a composition of Jon’s - to try and cast the net wider than Deep Purple. Which is not to take anything away from them - they made it so much their own through the original performance and the thirty or so performances we did between 1999 and 2001. But for some people it became regarded as Deep Purple’s rather than Jon’s Concerto for Group and Orchestra.

Jon Lord and Paul MannI wanted to try to make a recording that came as close to what I understood as his intention and certainly my own feelings about the piece, and to bring it as close to the ideal as we possibly could. The idea was to try to choose people that would be suited to each particular part rather than to use a single band. We would sort of handpick the guitarists, and what we ended up with was a very interesting cross-section of people:

Darin Vasilev, this Bulgarian guitarist who Jon had played live with a few times and had really loved his playing. I didn’t conduct any of those performances, but he told me about this amazing guy and said “I think we really should have him on the recording.“ He’s been the real discovery of this project for me - really outstanding. Joe [Bonamassa] of course is such a great blues guitarist that he’s perfect for the second movement.

When it came to the third movement, all sorts of names were being mentioned and finally I said to Jon: “Look, everyone that we’re thinking of, I would end up saying to them: go and listen to what Steve Morse did back in 1999 and do something like that!” And if you’ve got a great star name, you can’t start telling them to play like someone else, so in the end I just said to Jon “Why don’t we just ask Steve to do it?” So I called him, and he was in the middle of writing sessions for the new album in Germany and as usual was massively busy, but he dropped everything and said “Yes of course, anything for Jon. I’ll do it tonight." A couple of days later I got some e-mails with three completely different takes of the whole movement. It was incredibly difficult to choose one. I wanted to release them all as extras so everyone could hear how great they were. Maybe we will one day. Thirtieth anniversary remaster…

But in the end it was good to have Steve alongside Jon to represent the quintessential spirit of Deep Purple and also still have a way to acknowledge everything the band did for the piece. It’s a good way of having the best of both worlds in that sense.


Steve Morse & Sarah Spencer - Angelfire

10. August 2010 · Audio · andreas · Kein Kommentar

While the next Deep Purple album still seems to be far, far away, a new Purple-related side-project faces the light of day: Steve Morse joined forces with 22 year old Sarah Spencer to release a vocal album under the “Angelfire”-banner.

Accompanied by STEVE MORSE BAND musicians Dave LaRue on bass guitar and Van Romaine on percussion, the music featured on “Angelfire” has only little to do with Steves work with Deep Purple.

The primary focus is on Sarah Spencers voice with the guitar staying in the background most of the time, accompaning and accenting the vocal lines. Within this kind of clear and natural setup, it is hard to understand why Sarahs vocals have been altered on most songs by several effects, especially reverbs, instead of leaving the voice “the way it is”.

The majority of the songs on the album are of calm nature, trying to impress with the beauty of little details instead of surprising with breaks or unexpected moments. This makes it hard to distinguish between the particular songs during the first few listens, but after a while songs like the Enya-like “Omnis Morse Aequat” begin to stand out.

However, I’m still wondering about the targeted audience: for Steve Morse fans there are way too few moments of the guitar taking the lead - for vocal fans the album has to compete with way too many albums following the “girl & guitar”-concept to have a real chance to be successful.