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Deep Purple - Fireball CD (album) cover

FIREBALL

Deep Purple

 

Proto-Prog

3.77 | 823 ratings

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Easy Livin
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
4 stars "Your music is really HOT"

After their breakthrough "In rock" album, Deep Purple consolidated their new found popularity with a remarkably confident and competent follow up. "Fireball" has all the consistency which was lacking in the brash rawness of "In rock", making for a much more satisfying album as a whole.

The title track opens the album in blistering fashion, a phonetic representation of the track name indeed. A sort of cross between their own "Black night" Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant song", and Uriah Heep's "Easy Livin", it packs more into three minutes than most albums manage in forty. Classic stuff indeed!

The following two tracks sit well together. "No no no" is a powerful more structured song, with aggressive lyrics and a fine guitar solo by Ritchie Blackmore, while "Demon's eye" is a rather funky mid-paced number with an infectious melody.

Ian Gillan is in fine vocal form throughout the album, but he clearly enjoys himself on "Anyone's daughter". This is quite the quirkiest song Deep Purple have ever recorded. It has a country flavour supporting comedic lyrics which tell the tale of Gillan's various conquests. A superbly outrageous piece, to which Blackmore adds some subtly lilting slide guitar, and Jon Lord contributes some wonderfully dirty piano.

The second side of the original LP was marginally the weaker, but still contains three excellent longer pieces. "The mule" is a rather understated piece, with one of those riffs which sounds instantly familiar. Lord has fun letting loose of the Hammond towards the end here. "Fools" has a deceptively soft intro with Gillan gently crooning "I'm crying" as to a melodic background shuffle, but when Ritchie Blackmore brings in the main riff Gillan bursts forth with the most aggressive vocal performance of the album. Lyrically too this is most acidic track, Blackmore's superbly atmospheric guitar break only serving to increase the tension as we build towards the return of the main theme.

The closing "no one came" has the mildly amusing lyrics of "Anyone's daughter", but with a more orthodox Deep Purple riff.

The 25th Anniversary remaster has no fewer than nine additional tracks. The first of these is a remix of the superb non-album single "Strange kind of woman" (originally titled "prostitute"!), a wonderfully progressive track with a soft centre. The song was recorded during the sessions for the "Fireball" album, but preceded it as a sort of stopgap single. It is followed here by three other tracks recorded during the early stages of making the album. While these are undoubtedly fine pieces, it is understandable that they were ultimately omitted. The third, "Slow train" is probably more progressive, in a prog metal sort of way, than anything which appeared on the album. Incidentally, it is interesting to consider that had the album been made in the days of the compact disc, these tracks would probably have been retained. Would the album as a whole have sounded as good?

The bonus tracks also include a couple of inconsequential remixes of tracks from the album, and an interesting instrumental backing track for "Fireball". Lastly, and most definitely least, we have "The noise abatement society tapes", a bit of studio tomfoolery, and "Backwards piano", of which the less said the better!

"Fireball" is a stunning album of great maturity. It seems quite incredible that this album was recorded when the 70's were but a new born infant. Even today it has a vitality and strength which sets it aside from anything else not only by Deep Purple, but by the thousands of bands subsequently influenced by them.

Easy Livin | 4/5 |

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