Deke called this one yesterday, and didn’t even know it! 😉 Here we go with another Deep Purple record awesomely sent to me by our friendly neighbourhood Mike! The word geek in me loves the play on words in this album title.
The Lebrain Le-Rocks Series, Part 3
Vavoom: Ted The Mechanic starts us right of with guitar wizardry and blasting us into the rock, serving notice we’re here to fuckin’ rock, folks! Woo! What a track! That brilliant bluesy chug, and the guitar going nuts over the top. Ah yes. This is a band much, much happier about making music than they were on The Battle Rages On. Hot damn! Loosen My Strings is a sweet slower groover, love that guitar tone. It might at first come across as a lesser track, but stick with it. This one’s gota ll the right elements in the right places! Soon Forgotten is a creepy little rocker. What a fun track! Perfect for Halloween coming up, actually, just from the music side. Love it.
Sometimes I Feel Like Screaming starts off gentle with acoustic guitars and keys, lovely. But I wasn’t fooled, I knew it was gonna blow up into a full-band thing… and it does! It’s a mid-tempo thing, love the piano support and that soaring guitar on top. And then it full-on rocks out. Is that a cowbell! I think so! This one shifts a whole bunch of times, all of the different sounds solid. It’s the guitar that wins, though. Cascades: I’m Not Your Lover intros us with odd synth and talking stuff, but then we’re straight into a template Purple rocker. Man, this band has a sound, eh? Awesome.
The Aviator brings back the acoustic guitars, and adds that lilting sound and martial snare drum that sounds (to me) like the east coast. When it gets into full swing, it’s a gentle pop rocker that just makes you feel damn good. I did not see this coming, and I really liked it! Rosa’s Cantina builds from pretty synths into an energetic proggy shuffle rocker. Fun times! Love Lord’s keys all over this one. And harmonica! Damn, what a fun track. A Castle Full Of Rascals is a great song title, full stop. Once again we build off spacey synths into a full-on rocker built for stadiums and big light shows. When the guitar latches into that slinky bluesy thing, hells yes. The drums own this one, too.
A Touch Away leads in with acoustics, what a work-out that playing is. Then the synths and band comes in and it’s a solid pop rocker. Hey Cisco rolls in on light guitars and that snare drum pattern, and when it all comes together it’s a fult-tilt boogie that reminded me of Hot For Teacher. Deep Purple does Van Halen? Neat! Of course, Puplre being Purple, there’s a gentle breakdown in the middle, but it doesn’t last long. Hold onto your hat! Somebody Stole My Guitar is full-on blues metal rock awesome. The cowbell’s back! I hear Van Hagar around the 2:00 mark too, don’t ask me why. As if these guys really need to emulate others. But hey, my ear heard it. Nevermind, this is a solid rock track. Yes! And finally it’s The Purpendicular Waltz wails in on harmonica, then the band stutter-rocks its way through a cool rock tune that swings!
Now, I was looking online and this must be the Japanese edition, because there’s a bonus track! After a Hidden Track of 4 seconds, there’s another Hidden Track called Don’t Hold Your Breath that’s a sweet Purple blues jam. Nice one! This should’ve made the album proper, and no doubt!
This album fuckin’ rocked. I liked it way better than the last two, and I really liked those! This is pure Purple rockin’, and it’s hard to find better if you’ve got a jonesing for the good stuff. Right on. THANKS HEAPS, MIKE!
The Lebrain Le-rocks Series, Part 2
Alright so here’s another amazing gift from Mike. With this one, we’ve got Deep Purple in 1993, the follow-up album to Slaves And Masters (see yesterday’s review!). Ian Gillan returns to replace Joe Lynn Turner on vocals. Let’s see what’s up!
The Battle Rages On is a full-on tune of epic proportions, all the parts playing perfectly, and all held together by that monster of a guitar riff. Damn. You know, if this didn’t sound so damn much like Deep Purple already, I could hear Iron Maiden doing this song. Imagine!
For the record (pun intended), Lick It Up is not a KISS cover. Still, it launches us into bluesy guitar riff heaven. I liked the verse parts, but I admit I kept waiting for the bridge and chorus bit so that the guitars would do more of that thing they do! Anya begins with some beautiful acoustic guitar work, but of course that doesn’t last long. We blast into a straight-on rocker with those keys floating throughout. Talk About Love is here to rock you. Great barroom rock by a band that outgrew its barroom days ages ago!
Time To Kill sounds like exactly that, a rock band with time to kill in the studio. It’s a mid-tempo stomper, sure, but somehow not quite on par with the tracks that came before it. Still, that’s one helluva guitar solo in this one! The tune just goes on too long, we’d have got the point after 2.5 minutes not almost 6 minutes! Ramshackle Man sounds like a song I know already but do you think I can place it? Oh hell, that’s gonna drive me nuts. Anyway, it’s a decent rockin’ tune that (for some reason) makes me think of the southern States. Man, I wish I could think of what it is… Still, here’s Jon Lord’s big solo! Awesome!
A Twist In The Tail is what I’m talking about! Let’s rip out some bluesy rock at 100mph and go go go! Yes please! Haha that was FUN! Except that one line, where he says “I’ve been where the sun never shines…” Uh, dude? Hahaha. It takes a bit of a breather on the outro, but this thing otherwise just keeps on goin’. Up next it’s Nasty Piece Of Work eases us in with some noises, then fuzzes us out completely with a slinky blues riff and a slower pace. I dig it, it’s unlike anything else here. Lots of effects on this one.
Solitaire is an odd duck, that music that sounds like a million other songs, but then the vocals are just odd. Whatever that effect is on them, it sounds like when Axl sings low, sometimes. Weird. The whole thing gives the impression of being underwater, or done when the band was tired. I dunno, it stil rocks. Just an odd track! And finally, it’s the unfortunately-titled One Man’s Meat, yet another huge bluesy riff that Poison would’ve killed for a decade earlier. It’s OK, Purple pulls it off perfectly, and totally makes it sound like themselves.
I dunno, I’ve heard Gillan scream, and he really kept the vocals on the down-low on this one. He sounds… tired, and buried back in the mix. He never achieved lift-off, which is disorienting. Also, there’s not nearly enough Jon Lord pyrotechnics! But it’s still a smokin’ rocker of a record. I really liked it’s easy swagger and huge riffs. Right freaking on! Thanks heaps, Mike!
First off, all apologies. I’d said in my post yesterday, announcing this new series, that I would have this here yesterday afternoon. It didn’t happen. I upgraded my computer and ended up busy with that. So here we are today.
Folks, we need to talk about the amazingness and generosity of our friendly neighbourhood Mike. Our venerable Lebrain. Not only does he continue to rock us on his web site, and remain a true stand-up dude, but he’s given me so much great music, over the years (we’ve known each other since the mid-late 90s) and, as if all of that wasn’t enough, I recently received another box in the mail from Lebrain HQ full of another mind-blowing pile of greatness!
This series is an homage, and huge thanks to Mike for all of these great tunes. It was Christmas In September! Seriously, Dude. THANKS HEAPS!
The Lebrain Le-Rocks Series, Part 1
Here we have Deep Purple in 1990. King Of Dreams starts off with some heavy breathing (haha), and then a driving beat over a sweet 80s action movie soundtrack tune. The pay-off chorus pulls you up with it. Cool. Next it’s The Cut Runs Deep, which begins with some sweet keys before giving over to an absolutely crushing guitar riff and then full band rockfest. Now that’s rock. Love the keyboard solos.
Fire In The Basement’s intro guitar tries to tear into our ear, and then it breaks into a sweet Purple shuffle swing rock beat. Bluesy! Fun! Crazy soloing! This one would sit well on In Rock. Truth Hurts has a stately rock stomp to it, and some truly great guitar work and bluesy vocals hells yes.
Breakfast In Bed has that sweet rock swing to it too, that silky bluesy guitar in the background. Love the chorus bit, it reminds me of Aerosmith. Love Conquers All starts off with strings, just beautiful. It shifts into a huge, glorious uplifting ballad. Again that guitar solo, damn.
Fortuneteller boils into a slinky bluesy tune, packed with elements that all come together to make a cohesive whole. Just like all Purple tunes, that way… Too Much Is Not Enough jams with keyboards and yet another classic-sounding riff. Cowbell! Haha yes. and the middle section, with that run-line and then the soloing… damn. And finally, Wicked Ways teases a bit before getting its feet and taking off at full rockin’ gallop. It takes on an epic quality, by the end, building to a crescendo that’s nigh on classical in its scale. Then back into the rockin’! Hells yes. I think I liked this track as one of the best!
This is a fantastic record. It’s definitely of its time, I can hear the 80s all through it. But there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s a solid rock album, no doubt.
Wiki tells me this is the only Purple record to feature former Rainbow vocalist Joe Lynn Turner, and I have to say I think he did a fantastic job. I was shocked to read that this one had underwhelming sales and response. I mean, there was this:
Following its release, Slaves and Masters has been met with mixed reception from critics. Allmusic’s Alex Henderson gave the album two stars out of a possible five, saying “The songwriting is weak and pedestrian, and most of the time, the once-mighty Purple (who were at least 16 years past their prime) sound like a generic Foreigner wannabe”. Jon Lord himself, more than his mates (Glover and Paice), never recognized this record as a Deep Purple album.
Ouch! Hey Alex Henderson, I liked it a whole lot better than that! It’s a time capsule, sure, but it’s still a rockin’ good time. Thanks heaps, Mike!
ATTENTION ALL PLANETS OF THE SOLAR FEDERATION! ATTENTION ALL PLANETS OF THE SOLAR FEDERATION! ATTENTION ALL PLANETS OF THE SOLAR FEDERATION! We have assumed control. We have assumed control. We have assumed control….
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?
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!
Mike sent me this one. He’s a hugely knowledgeable Deep Purple fan, so it’s an honour to receive a record he admires.
It’s also cool because it’s recorded live at the 40th anniversary of the Montreux Festival, and of course if you remember your Smoke On The Water lyrics, there’s a lot of resonance there…
So. To the record…
Pictures Of Home is a strong opener, with a real driving beat. There are solos all over this one, by way of introduction. The guitar and keys get at least two each. But there’s no rest for them, as they blast straight into the faster pace of Things I Never Said, another great rock song that bashes along happily. There’s another huge guitar solo, and that riff could (at times) almost be ZZ Top… or is ZZ Top (at times) almost Deep Purple? Hmm… Great tune, regardless.
Strange Kind Of Woman is a thumping barroom blues… and that’s what all this is, isn’t it? Boil it all down, these guys are the world’s greatest roadhouse band who elevated to a stratosphere untouched by others. And this record is a document of a band that never left that peak (or if you argue they did, it can’t have been for long, surely). It’s all still rock and roll in its heart, though. Songs like this prove it. Rapture Of The Deep saunters along bluesily. There’s almost a middle eastern feel to it, at times, too. There’s a really superb instrumental chunk through the center of this track.
Wrong Man is truly heavy, the sound is huge. It never quite achives the lift off the other songs have, but maybe that’s the point. Let the riff hang there and the rest will be as it is. This is, after all, a band that got huge on one of the simplest riffs ever. Of course, simple doesn’t mean unworthy. There’s power and clarity in simplicity. Anyway, all deference to the man but this song is actually better when he stops singing and lets the band play on.
Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye has a fun Not Fade Away beat that they rock up, off and on. The environmental message is good, but I don’t think anyone can sing that stuff without sounding strident. I idly wonder how many natural resources they used up for the show… When A Blind Man Cries is kind of a silly title (I mean, what, it looks the same as when anyone else cries?), but it’s a blues no matter what he says in his intro of it. And it is a lovely one, at that. Slow, soaring, very smooth. As with all the tracks here, there’s a lovely guitar sound. Oh yeah, I could play that one again, no trouble.
And now, as if all of that wasn’t enough, here is where (I believe) the record really takes off. I could just write OMG THAT WAS AWESOME for all of the next five tracks, but that would get pretty boring. But these five together feel like a concert within a concert, self-contained. As though those other great tracks were a warm-up (haha yeesh) and now we’re to the meat of it. Holy crap this was amazing. I’m just going to leave the last five titles here, you’ll understand why that’s ’nuff said…
Smoke on The Water
Yessir, that was huge. The vocals were a bit forced, in Highway Star especially, but who cares? I loved the jazzy version intro to Smoke. And so on and so forth.
In sum: All I can say is wow! Totally rockin’, playful, creative, the lot. It’s the sound of a great band in full flight.
Just go get this. Seriously. There is more than enough in this single disc to keep anyone busy for ages. Great work, excellent sound quality, everything. Oh baby.
Thanks heaps, Mike!