Deep Purple – In Rock




Dear KMA Community,

What better way to celebrate April 1 than by pulling a Great Switcheroo?  Today, I am taking over the KMA programming!  For your enjoyment, Aaron will be bludgeoned into submission by DEEP PURPLE – In Rock, and live to tell the tale!

We both hope you enjoy today’s Switcheroo event.  What does he have in store for me?


LeBrain (


Alright, now it’s Aaron here, folks. If you wanna know what I have in store for Mike today, head on over to his site and read up about his reaction to one of my all-time favourite artists, Mr. Robert Pollard, and one of my guitar heros, Doug Gillard. I’m making Mike stretch his legs a bit with this one! 🙂

As for the project which lays before me, I have to ask: in his intro, Mike says I will live to tell the tale… will I? Let’s find out!!

Now, I don’t have nearly the perspective on this band that Mike does, so I had to look up this record for some context. Probably, most of you already know all this stuff, but I’m including it here just in case. It is Deep Purple’s 4th album, released in 1970. This is called the “classic Mk II” line-up, as “Rod Evans (vocals) and Nick Simper (bass) had been fired in June 1969 and were replaced by Ian Gillan and Roger Glover, respectively.” (wiki). There was also a song called Black Night released as a single at the time, but it wasn’t included on the album. Of course, later remastered/expanded editions picked it up, amongst even more stuff. I’m sure that when Mike does his eventual, epic review of the super-expensive 18 CD Japanese import misprint collectible* 107 bonus track version of this album, he’ll know all about the differences between everything. For today, I am listening to the plain old regular CD, which I believe I got at HMV brand new for $5.

*surely that’s the version he has.

So, the album’s players are like so:

Ritchie Blackmore – guitar
Jon Lord – keyboards, organ
Ian Paice – drums, percussion
Ian Gillan – lead vocals
Roger Glover – bass

Looking at that list now, we know that’s really a dream bunch of musicians. Let’s see what they got up to in 1970!

One other note: I played this, at high volume through the good headphones, because is there any other way? I also just took notes as I listened, so you’re getting this written as I listened in real time.

Alright, let’s get into it…

Speed King starts us off hitting hard. Damn, there’s something deep and heavy in that slippery riff. Pure classic rock. But then Lord’s organ playing takes over with the guitar and together they playfully noodle us through a beautiful conversation.  Gillan’s vocals soar over the top, and when he starts laughing I knew this for what it was: a band fully in touch with its powers and having a blast. What a track!

Bloodsucker brings the bluesy metal rock, and how. Another killer riff. And holy shit, what a howl on those vocals. There are sections where he’s trying to jam a whole lotta words into each line (and succeeding) but then he screams and whoa! The trade-off between Blackmore’s guitar and Lord’s organ solos are absolutely great. Paice’s drums swing and are right in the pocket. This song is built to destroy. And it does!

Child In Time, at 10:20, is a true long bomber. The organ plinks us through the intro, and the echoey vocals, with incredible dynamics and control, draw us in. As the song builds via growing drums and lots of screams (his throat must be shredded!), you just know the big drop is coming and… there it is. Staccato snares matched by the organ and right back into a space blues guitar solo. Holy crap, these guys are incredible. That guitar tone! But wait, now we’re at double time and the guitar is trying to tear my head off… I’m gonna let it… What an instrumental section! Things drop back down to the intro line again, complete with the screaming and the building of tension and power, like the whole song is starting over. This could explain why it’s ten minutes long, it’s a five minute song played twice… I’ve solved the mystery! We rock out to another great instrumental section as the song ends, Gillan doing his best Robert Plant moaning thing. Buckle up for a crash bang boom ending. They really, really went for it. Damn, that must’ve been really something, in concert…

Flight Of The Rat, another long-ish track at 7:58, is more straight-up classic rock riffing, pounding away at 100 mph. I think it’s the drums that are the clear star of this track, what a groove, and those fills… Oh my yes. Glover’s bass also lays down a line that’s far more than the glue of the track, it is its own animal. By the time we get to the solo sections, you know these guys are only getting started with us. Lord again on the organ, playing a zillion notes and making spaceship noises holy hell. Then Blackmore steps up and lets his solo section build from fairly simple to a string-bending vibrato whirlwind. Love the wah section, I didn’t see that coming. There’s a pause, and then we’re off and running again. Time for another drum break (with chunky muted guitar chugs)! The whole carnival comes crashing to a close with another Robert Plant-ish vocal bit before the drums spend the last minute blowing my mind. Holy shit!!!!

Into The Fire is a bluesy metal rawk stomper. What fun! This track swaggers with a pair of cajones the size of Texas. The guitar solo drips blues, the whole thing is straight up fun, surely covered later by a zillion bands who never came close to capturing this magic.

Living Wreck swings in and blues-rocks us with great organ keyslide stabs and drum fills. This one feels like a jam session keeper, I love it. Seriously, I can hear them in a practice room somewhere, building off a riff and turning it into a song. The sustain-filled guitar solo slices through beautifully, the organ solo is a noodler’s dream, the bass throbs underneath, the drums roll off the snare like crazy, and the whole thing just has this great pulse.

Hard Lovin’ Man, at 7:11, fits the rawk groove of the overall record perfectly. Double-chug guitars, metronomic drums, bass gluing it all together while the organ goes for an extendo-section solo, then the guitar is in for a solo that is almost behind the beat for a while but still there, before blasting of into a great run. Gillan must’ve been great at dancing on stage or something, ‘cos this band sure takes long instrumental excursions! But when he does sing, there’s a howl/growl that’s perfect. I keep saying Plant, and I hear it for sure, but I must be very clear that he also his own thing that surely is unique to him. Another guitar solo  as the band fades out and Blackmore just goes fuckin’ nuts. The band crashes back in and the song lands in a beautiful heap as the guitar slides back and forth between speakers like a razor blade on the strings…

And that’s the album. Holy shit, that was some really incredible stuff…

I see why it’s a classic. Thanks heaps for the recommend, Mike!

31 thoughts on “Deep Purple – In Rock

    1. keepsmealive says:

      Thanks Deke! This one was a real pleasure to review. Mike’s pic cracks me up. Indiana Mike!

      Sadly, I don’t own a wealth of Purple. At the time of this reply, I only own 4 albums, 2 of which came to me from Mike!


  1. mikeladano says:

    I would rate this and Fireball higher than Machine Head — but that’s not a knock on Machine Head! Just a comment on how great this band was for three albums straight!


  2. jhubner73 says:

    I just recently listened to this for the first time. I don’t think anything will stand up to ‘Machine Head’, at least to my ears, but this is a damn fine record. Blackmore and Gillan, no better combination.


    1. keepsmealive says:

      Cheers, and thanks for reading! It was fun to give each other something to try and see what happened. It was pretty much a shoe-in that I was gonna love the Purple, of course, but it was up in the air whether Mike was gonna like the Pollard/Gillard disc. And then he did! A 4.5/5 says it all!

      We were even going to try to write in each others’ styles. I told Mike his job was easy – just put in a WAHOO! and a GIVE ‘ER! and a COMMUNITY! every once in a while and no one would know the difference! But for me, trying to write intelligently about Deep Purple like Mike does? Hahahahahaha no. So I’m happy with the way we did this. April fools? 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. mikeladano says:

    Gillan didn’t dance on stage a lot, but he did leave and get “mouth hugs” during the solos quite often, according to his book!

    Glad you dug it dude. And yeah, the drum sound on this album is MASSIVE. Just awesome. A lot of people consider this their best and you can hear why!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. keepsmealive says:

      Hahaha mouth hugs. He’s either a quickshot artist or those were some damn long organ (koff koff) solos! I really dug this, I thank you heartily for the recommend. I’ve had this here for a while but this is the first time I’ve sat down and actually listened to it closely. So much on here that impresses me! And yup, I loved the drums. I can only imagine the whole thing sounds even more impressive on vinyl, somehow… If this is their best, according to a lot of people, then Deep Purple knocked out one helluva record! Awesome and mighty. Yes!


  4. J. says:

    Smashin’ stuff. I’ve only streamed this online, but definitely liked what I heard. Probably about time I picked up some more Deep Purple …

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Tangled Up In Music (by Ovidiu Boar) says:

    I love how Gillan references all the rock ‘n’ roll classics in Speed King. It’s a “this is how it used to be, and this is how it is now” type of thing. Same with London Calling’s cover art mimicking Elvis’ debut. It makes the connection more clear.

    Liked by 1 person

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