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Deep Purple - Live in California 1976: On the Wings of a Russian Foxbat CD (album) cover


Deep Purple



3.61 | 30 ratings

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3 stars Another Mk. 4 live album, with all of the weaknesses that were so prominently displayed on This Time Around: David being the most obnoxious person he can be, the band combining tracks in absurd manners (the "I Need Love/Soldier of Fortune" monstrosity isn't here, but the "Smoke on the Water"/"Georgia on My Mind" terror is), Glenn having no idea that he's not Stevie Wonder, etc. All that said, this has one advantage over This Time Around that guarantees this a grade two notches higher than its predecessor; Tommy Bolin is not only functional here, he's freaking GREAT. Seriously, he manages to make the band, as flawed as it might be at this point, sound (at times) like a funky hard rock beast. "Love Child" and "Gettin' Tighter" (all fourteen minutes of it), both performed very well on This Time, are probably even better here, and both "Burn" and "Stormbringer" are given the great renditions we'd expect.

Heck, even the lengthy, wanky Bolin guitar solo, as self-indulgent it may be, is a lot of fun. Bolin is clearly enjoying himself immensely, going from funk to country to blues to fusion freakouts to whatever, and while some of the stop-starts near the beginning get a little irritating, the entirety of it is awfully entertaining. Maybe it stops the momentum of the show a bit, but it's a heck of a lot more fun to listen to a guitarist at the top of his game than when he's missing the use of a hand ...

Yes, the album has a lot of problems. Yes, Dave sings "She's got big fat tits" during "Highway Star" (though the way the band splices in Buddy Holly's "Not Fade Away" during the second half kinda makes up for it) again. Yes, Glenn sounds like a pompous ass in "This Time Around." Yes, there's another stupid drum solo in "Lazy" (you know, for a drummer that I otherwise like a lot, Ian manages to piss me off quite a bit with his love of drum solos). But you know, I generally enjoyed listening to this album despite all these usual negatives. It's really too bad Tommy couldn't have been paired with a better vocalist and a less idiotic bassist ...

tarkus1980 | 3/5 |


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