The Black Sun went down

October 5, 2015

Deep Purple Roger Glover Guildford 1969

Don’t get too excited when we say this is a newly discovered clip of Deep Purple Mk 2, as it is very very short, silent, monochrome and blurry.  But it is always tantilising to see early scenes of this line-up live, just a few weeks after the Royal Albert Hall do.
It’s part of a short 16mm film made to record events at the University of Surrey’s Rag Week, which includes fund raising goodies such as a Mile Of Pennies, girls in bikinis jumping in buckets of water for money (and they reckon the ice bucket challenge was new!), and then on to the week’s big concert on November 28th in Guildford, Deep Purple, supported by Bridget St John, Horse and Quintessence, with the Black Sun Light Show.  Tickets 16/- (or a quid on the door).
The Uni archivists say the soundtrack has been lost and needless to say any unused footage is missing.
Thanks to Dave Browne for spotting it.

Noodle Snacks

October 1, 2015

Blackmores Crisps

Nosing around our local Chinese supermarket in search of industrial size bottles of Soy sauce, I couldn’t miss this snack packet.  They’re actually made in Taiwan but it clearly looks as if it’s been based on photos of Ritchie in his Blackmore’s Night guise!  Anyway, ignoring the food miles conundrum, I had to buy one to try out.
At the very least they should be selling them on the merch stall at the next Blackmore’s Night tour.

Up in Smoke

September 23, 2015

claude nobs during montreux casino fire

Work on the Machine Head book is proceeding, with Stephen corresponding with Jean Paul, who was at the Casino event the night the place went up.  And he clearly wasn’t afraid to get stuck in either.  This amazing photo we’ve seen before on this site, but we now know that is Jean himself on the right with Claude Nobs desperately trying to get one of the hoses round to tackle part of the blaze.  Jean was one of Claude’s best friends, and has been able to help us fill in some of his early career and  explain how the whole Montreux Super Pop and Jazz festival events came about.
During work on the book we’ve also found pictures of the blaze inside the casino roof which kicked the whole saga off (though you do wonder who would stop inside the hall to take such a picture…!), and a bewildered security guy on the stage with a megaphone trying to get people to take it seriously and leave.  The more I see of the event the more I’m amazed everyone got out safely.  Claude by the way reckoned the band only finished Smoke off for him as a thank-you tape given at a party before they left, and hadn’t intended it for the album….  We’re still trying to get the chronology sorted as photographer Didi Zill now thinks he snapped Ian writing the lyrics only a couple of days after the fire. As ever any info on the scene or events welcome!

Good Morning Tokyo

September 17, 2015

ritchie-blackmore-smilingAn update on the new Blackmore sell through documentary which we first covered a couple of weeks ago (for the original story click here). Happily they have had a rethink on the title, and it now comes out on November 6th 2015 through Eagle Rock Entertainment as  “The Ritchie Blackmore Story” on DVD, BluRay and as a Deluxe Edition. “Ritchie Blackmore hardly ever does interviews but has granted extraordinary access for the creation of this truly revealing programme and talks in great depth about his life and career…” says the press sheet. Well, when you’re trying to drum up interest in next year’s rock tour*  I guess every little helps!
The Deluxe Edition also features the first European release of Rainbow’s 1984 Tokyo farewell show on both DVD and 2CD formats. This concert has come out in part on a few anthology releases over the years, and was of course issued in full on laser disc in Japan in the Eighties (and much bootlegged as a result). This edition comes with the documentary in a special box with a large format photo book. Why they haven’t issued this as a stand alone release, as I’m sure a lot of fans would be interested, I’m not sure.  Maybe that will follow.

(*One show in London is now promised. Dress: optional)

Smells like…

September 16, 2015

“Do you know the bewitching power of the poppy? A precious flower, with invaluable vitality. Its bloom conceals a vibrant sensuality, revealing the essence of women, their most captivating facet.”

And here’s me thinking it was used to make Class A drugs.  Still, this new commercial for Kenzo perfume does have one thing going for it;  Deep Purple’s original Child In Time as the backing music.  And it sounds amazing even pulled out of context, testament to what an incredible track it always was.  The manufacturers have also posted a lengthy “making of” video in which they discuss everything from the design of the bottle to the CGI.  But don’t mention the music once.

Our man being sprayed in the face in John Lewis: Tim Summers

form an orderly….

September 14, 2015

Barry Plummer Deep Purple photo book

Just a quick update on the Deep Purple photo book; the publishers say pre-orders will be open soon, so to make sure you get the news first, subscribe to the dedicated newsletter service as people who do will get the info direct, along with another bunch of visuals (with some great photos from the band’s 1973 Rainbow Theatre concert).  Or you can subscribe and read our story on the project if you click here.

Getting Gettin’ Tighter

September 10, 2015

tommy bolin deep purpleYou will need to squirrel this out on the web for a listen (or even – shock horror – buy the CD), but guitarist Craig Erickson, who has worked with Glenn Hughes in the studio and live, has an album out called ‘Sky Train Galaxy’ which includes a rare cover of Mk 4’s ‘Gettin’ Tighter’.  He’s not the strongest singer, but has somehow managed to get under the skin of the track and reinterpret it as if Tommy had done it on one of his solo albums, which is quite clever.  I started out listening to it and thinking ‘so-so’ but by the end I had really got what he was doing.  And don’t cut off at the end or you miss the quiet coda.  Nice one Craig.
Thanks to Tim Summers and Rick Freeman.

Rainbow window

September 1, 2015

Ritchie Blackmores Rainbow window display 1975

Further to my posting and the comments on the first Rainbow album (see below), here is a fabulous photograph.  It shows the in-store window display which the EMI reps put up to promote the release.  Such displays were very much reaching their zenith around this time as labels vied with each other for the most elaborate displays, many of which must have cost large sums of money to produce. Generally for major new releases, the label would agree a five figure promotion budget ahead of the game (it’s no exaggeration to say bands could record an album today on the budget), and then allocate chunks of this to advertising, radio promotion, DJs and point of sale material (which is what this would be under).
The displays were usually put up by the reps, who often had to take a snap to prove they’d done it, or by shop staff.  They would be in place for a few weeks, and when taken down were technically supposed to go back to the label.  As they were classed as promotional material, shops were not allowed to sell them so in practise many shops just binned these.  But if you knew someone in the shop they might save stuff.  You would write their name somewhere on the display while it was still on the wall and so ‘reserve’ it.  I do recall scuffles breaking out when a couple of people were after the same display!
I still have the poster which you can see on the floor of the window.  The large version of the cover art was curved card, with an acetate overlay across printed with the name of the band.  I’ve never seen the big Oyster cut-outs.
How many of these were ever made?  Hard to say.  There were around 700 record stores in the UK at this time, but not all would be deemed worth hosting a display – so maybe around 500?  I’d be surprised if more than a few dozen survive.
I must thank Christian Jones for letting me use the image.  He says he took it in the window of The Record Bar in Wakefield.  You can see a display for The Pretty Things on the right. I remember the shop, it was always well stocked and we went there on the bus sometimes in the late 70s as they had a good stock of the punk and new wave releases.  I’m pretty sure I bought my first Police single there.  The shop’s place in history is perhaps that they financed the pressing of local lad Bill Nelson’s first solo album. Here’s a grainy pic of Bill outside the very same shop in 1975 from the local Wakefield paper.
Today of course such displays are, like most record shops, a thing of the past.


Thanks also to Tonny Steenhagen.

Rainbow’s first at forty

August 21, 2015
A beaten up American original copy on sale this week at Laguna Records; $9.99

A beaten up American original copy on sale this week at Laguna Records; $9.99

Hard for some of us to believe, but the first Rainbow studio album – generally referred to as Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow – is forty years old this month.  It’s an album which perhaps gets overlooked in the light of the astonishing follow up, yet nevertheless had an important place in the history of Deep Purple and of course the guitarist himself.
At the time we were all quite (!) excited at the idea of a Blackmore solo album, a chance for him to stretch out and show off, to capitalise on the incredible playing he had exhibited during the 1974 Deep Purple tour.  Rock, blues, whatever – anything seemed possible.  This level of excitement, fuelled by the breathless studio updates in Sounds, perhaps made the disappointment more intense.  The first issue of what became the DTB fanzine carried a review from one of our contributors (a big Blackmore fan) which seemed to echo these feelings, and pointing out how often Blackmore fell back on the Smoke backing for his ideas! Even David Coverdale seemed thrown, having like the rest of us expected much more, and writing it off in a contemporary interview as sub-standard Deep Purple.

The album came out in Japan in October

The album came out in Japan in October

Polydor put plenty of work into the album; there was loads of press promotion, full page adverts, incredible shop window displays and in-store posters. And it sold fairly well, yet in many ways the album struggled to satisfy the differing demands placed on it.  Apart from those of us wanting a guitar showcase, the project evolved from a one-off single, to a solo album and then a new full-blown band project.  Along the way compromises were certainly made.  We got a couple of cover versions, one or two attempts at a commercial single, and then a mix of hard rock and laid back material which showed promise.  Even the production was skewed, with Blackmore subsumed for far too much of the time and by the time it was finished, having already decided the musicians mostly had to go (with the keyboards largely buried even before the album came out).  By then there was no time or budget to go back and rework it, the album had to sink or swim.
Personally I would have relegated Black Sheep Of The Family to a single only track, and downgraded If You Don’t Like Rock & Roll (which was too much like an Elf out-take really) to the status of b-side.  Still I’m Sad needed to be reworked as a massive instrumental set closer rather than the badly mixed version we get (which on the CD gives more importance to the effing cow-bell than the guitar). Even on stage this failed to properly develop into the mid-set showcase it deserved to be, and was largely thrown away amidst the end of set madness. Overall the LP could have done with one other guitar heavy piece to bulk the album out and knock us dead. Perhaps even the idea of bringing the introspective material together on one side; imagine Catch The Rainbow and Temple Of The King extended and linked to form one amazing sequence in the way they did Stargazer / Light on the second album?  Older fans noted nods towards Soldier of Fortune on the latter and Hendrix on the former, but despite that these tracks still managed to offer something new and promising.
The heavier tracks all seem to be shortened on purpose, trying to keep them more commercial, when there was no great need.  It was only ever going to be the  fans who rushed out and bought this album on release. Longer cuts with more guitar would have worked, and if singles were needed, just trim them down for 45s afterwards. As it was most of these numbers only began to fully demonstrate their potential once done live.

The inner gatefold featured a montage of older photos

The inner gatefold featured a montage of older photos

But despite the issues and compromises, there is still plenty to make Rainbow’s debut worth checking out and on the heavier side Man On The Silver Mountain, C16 Greensleeves, Snake Charmer and Self Portrait all have something about them, and it’s fascinating to listen to these now and remember what came next when Ritchie found his feet, and a band who could take it up a level (though for me there is no doubt Elf were up to it given the right circumstances – you only have to listen to their final album Trying To Burn The Sun to see that).  Curiously the sleeve seemed to sum up the project; a great idea but poorly executed.  Imagine that design done by Frank Frazetta?
Collectors – should look for the original UK Oyster label edition, a great pressing, and only available for a couple of years.  Pension fund managers – should seek out the ultra rare Purple Records edition from New Zealand.  Those who have gone digital – well, I personally prefer the older CD issue.  The remaster from a few years ago is very clipped and too loud, but it’s about all there is, the album never made it to the Universal deluxe series. There is no doubt that the album has long been in need of a really sympathetic remix now that it no longer needs to fit the moment, though whether anyone even knows where the masters are these days seems uncertain (never mind would the man himself allow such work.)

Birthday boy

August 19, 2015

Ian Gillan birthdayIan Gillan marks a milestone birthday today!  I must confess we don’t normally worry too much about mentioning these things on DTB, but 70 is a bit special.  I was playing The Sun Goes Down to some friends only last night (the door was locked, they couldn’t escape) and thinking what a great job he did on it, and how you can still rediscover stand-outs like that in the catalogue which make it all worthwhile.  So for that, and many other gems stretching back fifty years to I Can See Through You (and whatever comes next), cheers.  Now, about that quid I loaned you backstage at Bradford in 91 when you threatened to rip my spine out unless I coughed up…

Here’s one somebody made earlier. Photo : Roger Glover


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