Tag Archives: Deep Purple

Unearthed from deep in the office

You’d think winter in Wisconsin would be a good time to hole up in the office and rip vinyl like mad. But no. In the last five months, I’ve ripped exactly five LPs. Not exactly a breathtaking pace.

One of those records was one I’ve loved since getting it almost 40 years ago. Needing an album side for my other blog, The Midnight Tracker, I ripped Deep Purple’s “Who Do We Think We Are” a few weeks ago.

It was released in January 1973, during my sophomore year in high school. At that time, I didn’t have a lot of records, so I played it a lot. Though I hadn’t listened to it in years, I still knew almost every note and line when I ripped it.

In the latter part of 1972, a worn-out Deep Purple was hurled into studios in Rome and Frankfurt after a year and a half of touring. They slammed out this record, which has only seven cuts and wasn’t well regarded by the critics. “Woman From Tokyo” was the single, but this might be the best cut.

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“Rat Bat Blue,” Deep Purple, from “Who Do We Think We Are,” 1973. (The buy link is to a remastered 2002 CD release with extra tracks. Two more versions of “Rat Bat Blue,” one from the writing sessions and a 1999 remix, are on that CD. It also is available digitally.)

Ritchie Blackmore’s chugging guitar licks drive this one, as you’d expect. That is, until the late, great Jon Lord wrests control halfway through with a gleefully mad prog organ solo. Then you have Ian Gillan’s classic rock-star vocals, sometimes snarled, sometimes screamed.

It all makes for a wonderful trip back in time.

Please visit our other blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.

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Filed under February 2013, Sounds

Some records I used to have

One of our local concert venues announced the other day that Hot Tuna will be playing an acoustic show in February. Which got me to thinking about records I used to have. I used to have a couple of Hot Tuna records.

This one, their debut LP from 1970.

And this one, another live LP from 1971.

I remember nothing about either record, other than they were full of meandering folk-rock-blues tunes, which I apparently once fancied. My friend Scott suggested this: “Back then you were probably smokin’ the same stuff they were.”

That’s entirely possible. It seems the kind of music you’d put on and zone out.

While record digging in my friend Jim’s basement last weekend, another guy had this record on the top of his stack.

I used to have that one, too. That was a double live LP from 1976. I remember nothing about it, other than it also was full of meandering folk-rock-blues tunes.

There might be a couple hundred records I used to have. Lots of them went out in The Great Record Purge of 1989, when we took a bunch to our friends’ garage sale. It was mostly stuff I’d bought in my teens and 20s that I wasn’t listening to in my early 30s.

Any and all Ted Nugent records? Gone. Any Styx record released after 1974? Gone. Those Starcastle records? Gone. Even a Rolling Stones record considered to be one of their best? Gone.

This is another record I used to have. This one, I’d like to find again. When keyboard player Jon Lord died this summer, it reminded me of how often I’d listened to — and enjoyed — Deep Purple when I was in high school in the early ’70s. I still have three other Deep Purple LPs, but not this one from 1974.

I suspect I won’t dig the whole thing as much now as I did then, but hearing it again likely will summon a rush of memories. That’s something to look forward to. Until then, this cut — grabbed some years ago from a music blog that has since gone dark — will have to do.

“Sail Away,” Deep Purple, from “Burn,” 1974.

Please visit our other blog, The Midnight Tracker, for more vintage vinyl, one side at a time.

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Filed under November 2012, Sounds

Getting in the swim

There always has been music at the pool.

There certainly was in the summer of 1976.

We hung out at the pool where our friend Herb worked. The ladies loved Herb, so it was good to be his pal. Hello, Valerie. Hello, Pam. Herb dated Pam. We also hung out at the other pool in town, the one where plenty of good-looking girls worked. Hello. Laurie. Hello, Lisa. My brother married Lisa.

Our local FM rock station usually was blasting from the speakers at the pools. When I think of the pool where Herb worked, I think of Peter Frampton. When I think of the pool where the good-looking girls worked, I think of John Miles.

I’m back at the pool these days, working out rather than hanging out. The FM radio is still playing at the pool. Problem is, it’s loud enough to keep the lifeguard company, but not summer of 1976 loud. So you hear only bits and pieces of the tunes while doing laps.

There clearly was a soundtrack for those summer days wasted at the pool. But is there a soundtrack for working out at the pool?

“All Right Now” by Free came on the radio at the pool today. Always a good tune but played nowhere loud enough. It was followed by Journey and then by Paul Simon. Buzzkill, even with the volume low.

Guess I’ll have to keep a soundtrack in my head, starting with …

“Underwater Chase,” Al Caiola, from “Sounds For Spies and Private Eyes,” 1965. It’s out of print.

Spy music from one of the great instrumental guitarists of the day.

“Hold Back The Water,” Bachman-Turner Overdrive, from “Bachman-Turner Overdrive,” 1973. The LP is out of print, but the song is available digitally.

The going gets good at 2:25, when a long guitar instrumental bridge kicks in. There’s a variety of styles, including some nice wah-wah guitar at 3:40. This was the flip side to BTO’s fine first single, “Blue Collar.”

Smoke on the Water,” Deep Purple, from “Made In Japan,” 1972.

Live LPs usually aren’t my thing, but this cut is smoking. My friend JB explains, in one of the finest comments ever left here, after I wrote about this tune a couple of years ago:

“The difference between the studio version of ‘Smoke on the Water’ and the live version from ‘Made in Japan’ is the difference between somebody telling you about the famous fire at Montreaux and actually finding yourself in the middle of it while it’s happening.”

So, any other suggestions for a soundtrack for swimming laps? All of these tunes have “water” in the title, but don’t feel obligated to have them in yours.

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Filed under October 2010, Sounds

Alternate universe

Imagine believing for 35 years that you have a certain song in your collection, only to find that for 35 years, you’ve been wrong. So it is with “Smoke on the Water.”

I was certain I’d had it on vinyl since I was in high school. But as I was digging through our albums a while back, I realized I don’t have Deep Purple’s “Machine Head.” Never have.

Yet when I went to a record show a couple of weeks ago in beautiful suburban New Brighton, Minnesota, I passed on several chances to pick up “Machine Head.” Didn’t really need it. I already have an album that has — for me, at least — the definitive version of “Smoke on the Water.”

“Smoke on the Water,” Deep Purple, from “24 Carat Purple,” a best-of album from 1975. (It’s taken from “Made in Japan,” their 1972 live album. It was recorded 36 years ago this month, on Aug. 15, 1972, in Osaka, Japan.)

It took me exactly 20 seconds to be sold on this version. That’s how long Ritchie Blackmore’s heavy false start lasts before he kicks into the tune as you know it. It’s worth it for that alone.

That this version also has spectacular solos by Blackmore and keyboard player Jon Lord — and some fierce lick-trading between them at the end — is just icing on the cake.

It also was a hit at the only party we ever had at my house. But that’s another story for another day.

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Filed under August 2008, Sounds