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.

Bill-Nelson-Wakefield-Record-Bar

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

A sound of thunder

August 18, 2015

tony careyTony Carey doesn’t surface much here but he has recently* guested on a cover of Rainbow’s Death Alley Driver by a band called A Sound of Thunder.
To quote from the press release (we certainly couldn’t put it better!):  “This is a very cool cover of a very cool song, by a very cool band. So that’s all cool…” said Carey.  “As far as my part goes, I threw down some old-school Hammond and played a much-too-fast solo bit on a Minimoog (remember those?) and woke up on the Sunset Strip in pre-Apocalypse 1976… lots of fun, and not something I do very often. Hollywood Swingin’! Thanks for having me.”
I must confess it’s not that easy to pick him out, remix it now guys! A preview of the track is streaming on the band’s Soundcloud page here: https://soundcloud.com/asoundofthunderofficial
Thanks to Josh Schwartz
* recently in DTB time….

Uneasy Rider – The Talented Mr Blackmore

August 11, 2015
Blackmore-California-Jam-camera

Blackmore discusses his career with a cameraman….

A curiously titled new documentary (neither of the puns really relate to his career) about Mr. B, due for release as a home video at the end of October, which has been in the works for a while.  With a running time of over two hours, this one has for the first time the full co-operation of Ritchie himself for once, and the documentary has been produced by Eagle Rock who have a good track record in this area (they backed the excellent Making Of Classic Album series.)  It is also a good move given his aim of playing some rock shows next year to remind people what he was all about.  There are twenty year olds around today who have never seen him live in anything but Blackmore’s Night.
A list of participants includes four former member of Deep Purple, albeit only Roger Glover from the current line-up, plus some names you might expect as well as a few you wonder about – I hadn’t got Gene Simmons down as a massive Blackmore fan but you never know!  It is noticeable that not a single person from his pre-Purple years is listed which seems a shame.  Please don’t tell me they’re not including the fab footage of Ritchie wiggling with The Outlaws up on scaffolding…
Anyhow, if you can still find the music section of your local DVD shop, it could be worth a look.  Eagle are very quick to get their titles onto TV so that’s an alternative if you can’t make your mind up.

Interviewed for the documentary are: Ritchie Blackmore, Candice Night, David Coverdale, Roger Glover, Glenn Hughes, Graham Bonnet, Joe Lynn Turner, Steve Lukather, Brian May, Joe Satriani, Gene Simmons, Steve Vai, Lars Ulrich, Phil Collen, Ian Anderson, Malcolm Dome, Martin Birch, Chris Welch, Chris Charlesworth, Jim Ladd, Pat Regan.

Throwback Thursday

July 29, 2015

Deep Purple NBC Today programme

One of the reasons we got advance news on the NBC show (first mentioned below) was that the cameraman, Eric Eisenstein, is a big Deep Purple fan and Darker Than Blue follower. We met Eric last year when he was over watching his lad, touring with a great group called Man Overboard (and packing them in at The Cockpit in Leeds).  Needless to say getting to film Purple was a great gig for Eric, who says he got to meet all the band between the rehearsal and the live performance.
He sent us some great photos, which include this shot of them rehearsing (the stage was set up in the street outside the studio rather than have the kit blow everything inside NBC!), and one of himself in action during the show. Eric is the guy in the checked shirt on the far right filming Steve in the clip. Not a bad rendition either, Ian coping well with the ungodly hour. By the numbers sure but it did exactly what NBC wanted I suspect. Great shots of Paice’s kit in places too, gives an idea of how massive it all is.  Amazing to watch the folk in the background walking past on their way to work…

Deep Purple NBC Today programme
A couple of people have asked about Steve’s black support strap on his wrist, which apparently is to counter touches of arthritis.  He has been sporting this off and on since last year. As someone says, it doesn’t seem to slow him up any! Mucho thanks to Eric.

Eddie Hardin

July 27, 2015

Eddie HardinKeyboard player and singer Eddie Hardin has died suddenly at the age of just 66.  Eddie’s connections with the Deep Purple scene spanned some 45 years, and he worked with members of the group directly across much of that time.  After a spell as a teenager replacing Steve Winwood in the Spencer Davis Group with Ray Fenwick (not an easy task) they did some interesting if often overlooked work in the late Sixties for Vertigo. After a couple of album, Eddie went off to form what seems an unlikely drum / keyboard duo, Hardin – York, with drummer Pete York in 1969. They became one of the most successful bands in Germany during the early 1970s and also supported Deep Purple on a couple of tours (check out the poster for a big 1970 German festival below), both joining Jon Lord and Ian Paice at occasional jam nights in London (while Pete joined forces with Ian on drum duels at some live Hardin – York shows).
Eddie got bored repeating himself musically, and despite playing stadiums in Europe, back in the UK Hardin – York couldn’t get arrested. So after a couple of years he went off to do his own thing and Roger Glover worked with Eddie on a couple of his post-Hardin – York solo albums and the pair were heavily involved in the original Wizard’s Convention studio project in 1976, along with Jon, David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes. Eddie became a big contributor to Roger’s Butterfly Ball project too, co-writing Love Is All and performing on the album (mainly keyboards but also vocals on one track), then playing keyboards at the one-off Albert Hall concert where I first saw him live.
It was a nice touch to see Eddie invited to be part of the fabulous Deep Purple Concerto evenings at the Royal Albert Hall in 1999 when he and Roger did Love Is All, along with Ronnie Dio and Mickey Lee Soule.

Deep Purple Peace Pop World poster March 1970
I got to know Eddie in the early Nineties when our label RPM worked closely with him on the first in-depth reissues of some of his back-catalogue including the Hardin York material, the Spencer Davis Group albums and other odds and ends which he kept turning up, amazed that anyone was interested really!  Indeed to a certain extent that seemed to be how he viewed his career at times, happy to have the success when it came but with an easy come easy go approach to the music business in general.  A typical example was a pile of postcards showing a palatial stately house which I spotted on one visit, and wondered why he had them.  It turned out he’d bought the place with some unexpectedly large royalty cheques in the 70s, then had the cards made to send to friends. All too quickly he realised that he couldn’t afford to run or staff the place, and it had to go! Eddie did have his autobiography ALAB published a few years ago, and the house features on the front.
Apart from the stuff you probably know about (and people of a certain age mustn’t forget the theme tune to Magpie which Eddie co-wrote), do check out the early Hardin – York material, especially if you enjoy strong and inventive Hammond playing.  It was a time when rock music experimented in all sorts of ways and Eddie was in the thick of it.  And why on earth Catch You On The Rebop (on which Eddie again shares a writing credit) wasn’t a massive hit for Spencer Davis in 1973 must remain one of life’s great mysteries.

which one’s Deep?

July 22, 2015

Deep Purple Today programme NBCDeep Purple are scheduled to appear on NBC’s big morning TV programme The Today Show tomorrow (23rd) in America, providing they can make the 5.30 am deadline for soundcheck and rehearsal!  Quite a rare showcase for the band.  We’ll let you know if it is available on the web after, word is they’ll at least be doing Smoke On The Water.

Purple live, and live again.

July 22, 2015

Deep Purple Wacken 2013 and Tokyo 2014 live albums

Two upcoming live releases from Deep Purple have been announced, documenting the Now What tour in some depth… and an extra dimension! They are issuing shows from 2013 and 2014 as two separate but sort of matching titles, recorded in Germany and Tokyo.  Release was announced a while back but we wanted to try and get more detail together rather than just reprint the press release…

The German show is from the Wacken festival, August 1st 2013 and titled “From the Setting Sun…”.  The Tokyo show was recorded at the Budokan on April 12th 2014 nearly a year later, and is released as “…To The Rising Sun.”
Format wise the confusing record label information is a little hard to decipher, but it seems both shows will be released in one of four editions: 2CD + DVD set, triple vinyl, stand alone DVD or Blu Ray. There are no CD only formats. The Tokyo Blu Ray is a regular 2D format but for Wacken you can watch Ian Gillan’s bare feet in glorious 3D-o-vision!  I must confess our new TV set has 3D but we’ve never even opened the glasses, and assume the disc has a 2D option. All formats are due to ship at the very end of August (which likely means early September.)
Set-lists have not been supplied, but from our archives we can suggest these (see below) although I cannot guarantee all the tracks will be on the final releases. And as you might have guessed, despite being almost a year apart, the sets are very similar in terms of songs played, which is presumably why the label has felt the need to stress the very different atmosphere at the two venues. You’d think someone would have thought about adding in a few different songs when they knew they were being filmed again. Let’s hope that the cover photos for the two titles are from the same show, otherwise Steve must have been wearing that top for eight months! Uli Jon Roth guested on Smoke on the Wacken show but isn’t mentioned in the press info.
They’re available to pre-order at the DTB online shop, and we will email confirmed prices once the label has bothered to send them out. The primary format is obviously film, and you can only get the audio CD with the DVD edition. If this follows previous releases, these special formats, especially the triple vinyl, are likely to be quite limited.  Thanks to Bo Olsson, Tim Summers for their help.

Set-list : Highway Star (Wacken)  or Apres Vous (Tokyo) / Into the Fire / Hard Lovin’ Man / Vincent Price / Strange Kind of Woman (‘SKOW’ before ‘VP’ at Tokyo) / Contact Lost / Uncommon Man (Tokyo)/ The Well-Dressed Guitar / The Mule (Tokyo) / Hell to Pay / Lazy / Above and Beyond / No One Came / Perfect Strangers / Space Truckin’ / Smoke on the Water – Encore: Green Onions / Hush / Black Night

Two more live tracks from Now What appeared on the band’s last live CD, which accompanied a special edition of the studio album in late 2013. They were from four shows in July and August 2013, cherry picked to form a full show.  This set is also in stock at DTB online shop, in a rather smart gold foil diecut sleeve.

This item was updated with more reliable set list info July 21.

Purple new album / tour spoiler

July 20, 2015

Glover-MontreuxDeep Purple have earmarked February 2016 to record a new studio album, and will again use Bob Ezrin to produce. His input is generally regarded as having a big part of the success of Now What.  It will be done in America, which they like as they can get a decent size reasonably priced studio space to set up in and jam.
In the meantime there is a set spoiler from the band’s latest American jaunt below, so look away now if you’ve got tickets and DON’T want to know!  Although I suppose most of us would be able to make a reasonably good guess these days. Four songs from Now What still in the set, which is otherwise classic era heavy (and Perfect Strangers the sole representative of over twenty five years of studio output.)
Thanks to Mark Maddock

Deep Purple July 14th – Lewiston, Artpark Amphitheater, New York

Highway Star / Aprés Vous / Hard Lovin’ Man / Strange Kind of Woman / Vincent Price / Contact Lost + Uncommon Man + Well Dressed Guitar / The Mule / Lazy / Hell to Pay / Keyboard Solo + Perfect Strangers / Space Truckin’ / Smoke on the Water – Encore – Hush / Black Night


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