Unlike famous musicians, who we expect to be able to recall what they did on every day of their career (because we have to know!), I haven’t got the foggiest notion what I was up to on Friday June 5th 1970, beyond getting through another day at school. Friday was usually sports all afternoon, an occupation I loathed. We’d be bussed up to some wind-wept fields on the edge of the Derbyshire moors and, after digging out the dried on mud and grass from between the studs on our boots, expected to somehow know the rules of rugby or cricket and get on with that until it was time for a freezing communal shower in what seemed like a converted WW2 bunker, before being bussed back.
If we were lucky it was cross-country running. Lucky because this sport was largely unsupervised and there was a ramshackle corrugated iron cafe near the mill pond half way round. So if nobody was stationed at the far end of the course with a clipboard (and we’d survived the mysterious air-rifler who took pot shots at us on occasions), we could get a cup of hot-chocolate and doss about for half an hour or so, then set off back and try to make ourselves look exhausted on arrival at the changing rooms.
I’d probably be thinking about trekking round town the next day to “do” the record shops, an occupation which usually meant doing very little beyond just pestering assistants in various shops to stick an album on in the listening booth. I may have spotted Deep Purple In Rock on display, but it would be a couple of weeks before I got to hear Black Night on the radio, and start to make the connections between this, snatches of sessions I’d heard, and the coverage in the music papers. I could hardly miss this front page advert (above) which appeared on the NME dated June 13th (it’s been on the site before but what the heck). The single bought, it was the flip of Speed King which had me saving up for In Rock, an awesome track the likes of which I’d never heard before. It had everything you’d want in a rock record, and I played the single to death until I’d got enough to buy the album. Until then b-sides had usually been a bit of a disappointment, but here was one which was far better than the hit.
45 years have now passed since the single and album were released, indeed it’s been 20 years since I was involved in the remaster of the record, checking through old tapes on a mission my teenage self could only have dreamed about.
It may just be a piece of ancient history to the five musicians who created it, but for those of us it has given such listening pleasure to over the years it remains 35 minutes in time which we continue to marvel at.
I’ll treat myself to a couple of tracks to mark the occasion before I get on with the rest of the day. It does occur to me that the old cafe we bunked off to is still there, and the sun is out, so when I’ve finished filling in, scanning and emailing off some boring “supplier contract forms” (which apparently enable me to supply stuff even though I’ve already signed a contract to supply it, but without which I might well not get paid) I might sneak off for a cuppa there afterwards and ponder on where the time went.
I’m not sure if it’s a coincidence but Geoff Barton has done a piece on Mk 2 vs Mk 3 on the Classic Rock magazine site this week, which lauds In Rock – thanks to Tim Summers and Tom Dixon for spotting this.