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Deep Purple - Made In Japan CD (album) cover

MADE IN JAPAN

Deep Purple

 

Proto-Prog

4.50 | 517 ratings

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Chicapah
Prog Reviewer
3 stars Long before there was metal (much less prog metal) there was Deep Purple. Back in the early 70s there were millions of rock music fans (myself included) who had a "need for speed" but weren't getting it on a consistent basis from the heavy hitters of the day like Led Zeppelin (who would slip in a ballad or laid back tune on every album). We didn't always want our headbanging to be interrupted and that's why we cherished both "In Rock" and "Machine Head" studio albums. What DP delivered was high-torque rock and roll, one song after another, without any pretense of being sensitive or soft and sometimes that was the only music that would satisfy the tiger in our tanks.

I must confess that I haven't listened to this record (yes, it's a vinyl copy) in decades but I got a bit nostalgic and grabbed it off the shelf recently. Before I even pulled the LPs from the sleeve the photo on the cover got my attention. I saw them in concert in the early 70s and that picture brought back vivid memories. Arena rock shows were still in their infant stage for the most part and a no-frills approach was all you expected and what you got. No props, no fancy lights, and no lasers. There's not even a drum riser! One lonely vocal monitor in the frame, no bank of effects for the guitarist, and a battered organ with its insides exposed. It was totally up to the band to create all the fireworks and that's what these guys did. Starting with the supercharged organ and guitar leads on "Highway Star" you can tell that they weren't trying to just recreate their studio version. This was LIVE, baby! And nobody was shredding any better than Ritchie Blackmore on his Stratocaster in that era. "Child in Time" showcases Ian Gillian's incredible vocal range despite the primitive conditions. Other than a little reverb there's nothing to aid him and he shines brilliantly, hitting every high note spot on. "Smoke on the Water" wasn't yet the worldwide hit that it would eventually become but I think they knew they had a winner with the tune and they play it straight until the end when Jon Lord (organ) and Blackmore trade a few licks to add some drama. "The Mule" is just a vehicle for Ian Paice's drum solo and it adequately showcases his considerable skills. "Strange Kind of Woman" is a rockin' shuffle that features Blackmore's most controlled solo on the album and a call/answer segment at the end between him and Gillian that ends with a spine-tingling scream you have to hear to believe. "Lazy" has a lot of wild organ feedback and grandstanding from Lord before they storm into the blazing tempo of the song. "Space Truckin'" is over 20 minutes of a typical concert- ender of that epoch in that it's basically time for the band to showboat and take things over the top. Even Roger Glover on bass gets a moment of his own. These guys knew they were at the apex of their game and that no other band on the planet could keep up with them on stage so they gave their rabid audience exactly what they came for. It's a feedback crazy, noise-indulgent and take-no-prisoners exhausting ride to the finish.

There's an ambient "room" sound to these recordings that you don't get on modern concert albums that adds additional authenticity, as well. No overdubs or studio do- overs to correct incidental goofs that occurred in the heat of battle here, just a snapshot in rock and roll history that captured the way things were in 1972. Nothing particularly "prog" to be found, just a lot of tear-your-head-off rock and roll. Drink it in.

Chicapah | 3/5 |

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