Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

2CD vs 1CD

May 26, 2016

I wasn’t overly impressed by the recent version of the Rainbow Donington material – the audio was still incomplete and the video we’d been sold before. Even so I was surprised to learn that they’d hacked out TEN MINUTES of surviving material to get it onto a single CD for the European edition, but left it intact for the Japanese edition which is a 2CD set.  It’s quite depressing that labels are still taking the piss like this.  Anyhow, Tim Summers bided his time and splashed out on a Japanese import, so can clue us in on what we might expect when Universal decide to do an even more super remastered edition for us to cough up for next year….
The Difficult To Cure to Lost In Hollywood section lasts a good four minutes longer thanks mainly to Don Airey’s solo; Ritchie’s blues is over half a minute longer, Lazy gains a few seconds, but most crucially they’ve included the Kill the King instrumental and LLRnR reprise which is another five minutes plus. And for those who like to recall the opening of the show, the Pomp & Circumstance intro is there as well.
Rainbow Donington 1980 Japan CDPackaging wise the Japanese edition just repeats the lack-lustre European art and booklet, adding only the obligatory Japanese translation to this.I’m not sure if we mentioned this before but when I met Steve Wright, the writer of the Bonnet biography, a while back he says Graham recalls going to a screening of the full Donington show with others from the band and having a two disc vinyl acetate of the full show, a copy of which was given to all the band (Graham has lost his!).  The woman who used to manage him was quite close to sourcing the full footage a few years ago, but when she moved on the thread lapsed.  There is a well founded story which says the bass was not properly hooked up for the recording of the show and Roger had to add this later in the studio.

2016 and all that

January 6, 2016

Always a good start-back office chore is a careful sweep through the in-tray, which had crept up to 450+ emails over the winter break.  And it does help bring things into focus.
Of course the music scene has rightly been mourning the death of Lemmy, one of rock’s great characters apparently according to the TV.  I suppose that’s because most of the mainstream press didn’t really understand his music or playing ability.  I still get shivers down my spine recalling that first eponymous Motorhead 12″ single on Chiswick Records which I bought close to release date back in 1977.

Lemmy and Ian Gillan

Lemmy auditioning on nose jug for the Gillan band.

Somehow I never did get the see them live in those early days (and they did tour with Purple as recently as 2007), but had been a big Hawkwind fan and met Lemmy at one of those weird all night rock events at the Queens Hall in Leeds.  I’ve no idea how but we ended up being allowed into the hospitality room for the concert performers and Lemmy conned a nice button badge off my brother’s jacket. All he can recall was being sat by the side of the stage watching the show when a naked American woman came over and sat beside him. “Oh well, I’d best get on and wobble these around a little,” she explained after a while before we realised it was Stacia.
Funnily enough I was doing some vinyl sorting last week and checked my mint copy of their second album, signed by all the band… except Lemmy himself.  Mind you he was busy telling us how much grass he’d smoked during the day so perhaps it didn’t seem quite the moment to get all fanboyish!
Lemmy was always respectful of what he called Deep Purple’s place as the originators of hard rock (and one of the first to use pyrotechnics, at the California Jam).
Closer to home, we also lost our mate Martin Lilleker who has been suffering from Alzheimer’s for several years.  Martin was one of those irreplacable and unique cogs in the local community music scene; he wrote music columns for the local press for decades, ran a label for a time, helped manage and played live a bit too.  In recent years he also documented the scene magnificently across two thick paperbacks on the history of Sheffield bands going back to the early 60s.  I helped him with a few bits for these and when I bemoaned the poor design of the first book’s cover he let me have a free hand on book two and was brave enough to go ahead with an admittedly quite eye popping montage!  It’s guys like Martin which make living in Sheffield just that little bit more enjoyable and we’ll miss him.
Looking forward it’s amazing how much enjoyment people get looking back, if the flurry of excitement about a new audience tape of Deep Purple from back in Feb 1972 at the Dagenham Roundhouse is to go by. The owner had got in touch with us in the lead-up to Christmas but seemed unable to wait to see if this could be done officially and pushed it out into the pirate networks instead. Amazing that new recordings can still emerge after forty plus years. It seems churlish to point out (as one expert did) that the cover photo is from the night before…!

Dagenham Deep Purple 1972

Deep Purple, Spontaneous Combustion, Licensed Bar AND A CAR-PARK! We used to know how to have fun in the Seventies.

Talking of history, a few people have pointed me to a copy of Wait For The Ricochet currently selling on ebay. Or rather not selling, as the owner wants £1,001.86 for it.  Since I went to have a peep (just to see if it was for real) ebay now keep asking me if I’d like “to take another look?”!  I wouldn’t mind but the cheeky sod wants £2.75 postage as well…  I added it as a watched item just to get his hopes up.
Hopefully this year we’ll get it back into print, but the priority right now is in finishing the follow-up, Fire In The Sky. And tracking down the current owner of the E-Type Jag Jon drove down to Montreux in. It’s all in the detail!
With the fun and games over the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame still ongoing, it’s good to see friends and fans of the late Cozy Powell have been able to organise things with far less aggro, and are putting up a blue plaque in the town of his birth, Cirencester. It’s very short notice, but if you’re free on January 7th then there is a public unveiling at the Corn Hall at 2.30pm with Brian May doing the honours. People like Bernie Marsden, Don Airey and Neil Murray will be there. It looks as if the long-mooted documentary on Cozy is also now in the works. The man himself would have been 70 next year.

Cozy Powell

As for ‘works’ we’re fairly confident the major labels are now about sorted when it comes to the Deep Purple classic era catalogue. The bizarre Universal LP box set (below) looks a real dog’s dinner, but I’m told better things are on the way with the return to catalogue of most of the regular albums (incredibly many have been off the shelves for some years now).  There are also plans afoot with regards to other areas of the catalogue about which more as the year unfolds.  I have had meetings with some of the people involved and it looks quite promising.

Deep Purple vinyl box 2016

Switch off your G5, reissue of the year award 2016 is surely a given!

Some of you have also got the Rainbow gigs to look forward to.  I guess we can’t really call it a reunion when only one member is coming back, but for everyone who missed out it looks as if more shows will follow in 2017. A souped up version of the first album is also due, though as the mutli-tracks are still lost there isn’t too much scope for content.
The first pics of the new Rainbow came through recently, reminding me of that excitement back in 75 when shots of the first group emerged and were being posted about by people to reproduce in fanzines etc. I shall not be hurrying to repeat the experience this time round!

Rainbow new lineup 2016

Rainbow 2016, I recognise one of them…

As for Purple themselves it’s still good to listen to play bits and pieces off Now What so hopefully the band can again produce something of interest when they start recording in the next few weeks (will the first one into the studio hide Don’s ELP collection?).
I’ve got my plate full with design work to wrap up on three books this month, so I’d best fire up InDesign and get cracking. But before I do, here’s a few anniversaries coming up in 2016 to make everyone feel that little bit older!

10th anniversary of Rapture Of The Deep

20th anniversary of Purpendicular

25th anniversary of the Slaves & Masters world tour

30th anniversary of the Seventh Star album with Glenn Hughes

35th anniversary of Whitesnake’s Don’t Break My Heart Again hit single.

40th anniversary of Deep Purple Mk 4’s final concerts.

Deep Purple Liverpool 1976

Deep Purple making a racket at Liverpool in 1976 (courtesy Alan Perry)

45th anniversary of Fireball.

50th anniversary of Art Gallery by The Artwoods.

Simon Robinson. My thanks to factoid checkers and news editors Mike Richards, Martin Ashberry, Tim Summers, Vince Chong, Mark Maddock, Matthew Kean and Ian Gillan’s surprise dinner guest – Britney Spears.

Brisk

November 30, 2015

Graham Bonnet is touring the UK in February 2016.  To save my fingers, I’ll attach the official flyer.  It’s wrap-up warm time, especially if you opt for the Skegness homecoming show.  I’ve been there in the winter and it’s biting!  I missed his last UK tour as I was stuck in frozen Cheshire on the afternoon of the Sheffield gig.
Graham is also doing eight shows in Australia in April which might be warmer, I might as well add that flyer as well. This is with his new band, and a studio album is in the works for Frontier Records, which will have a bonus disc of reworked oldies apparently.

Graham Bonnet UK tour 2016   Graham Bonnet Australia tour 2016
His biography is nearly wrapped up and will be out early 2016.  There may now be a limited edition in a hardback cover designed by Graham himself.  You can read more about this and see some spreads at the publisher’s site.

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.

Photo book progress

July 14, 2015

Ian Paice Rainbow Theatre 1973

As well as the regular edition of the upcoming Deep Purple photo archive book, publishers ST33Books have just announced that there will be a limited edition signed by Ian Paice.  You can read more about this (and see a photo of the signing) on the ST33Books site, or you can subscribe to the newsletter about the book for more details by clicking the button below.  Ian did the signing the day before he was due to jet out for the current American tour.  He checked out some of the book pages too and singled out the shot above as one he particularly liked;  it was taken at the Rainbow Theatre on the final Mk 2 tour in the UK in early 1973.

one voice to rule them all

April 29, 2015

Graham Bonnet biographySimon has just finished editing author Steve Wright’s Graham Bonnet text and this has now gone out for proofing (hello Tom and John!).  “As I came to Graham mainly through the Rainbow connection (and having seen him live a couple of times in recent years) one thing which did strike me was just how many guitarists Graham has worked with over the last 35 years. How about this for a list? Ritchie Blackmore, Michael Schenker, Yngwie Malmsteen, Chris Impelliteri, Steve Vai, Taz Taylor, Ray Fenwick, Micky Moody, Jan Akkerman, Mario Parga, Slash, Bob Kulick, Danny Johnson, Viv Campbell, Dario Mollo, Axel Rudi Pell, Uli Jon Roth, and Gary Moore!  I wonder if any other singer can match that? But I have to say reading it through has inspired me to go looking for a few bits of his later catalogue which I missed at the time, and to me that’s always the sign of a good book.”  Anyhow, the book is now into the design stage so anyone interested who has yet to join the mailing list for this is urged to do so, and get early details of any pre-launch offers, etc.

Who’s the bassist in the black?

January 16, 2015

Ritchie Blackmore playing bass, Montreux, 1971

Well we know who the bassist is obviously, but couldn’t resist the header!  It’s Ritchie Blackmore, caught by a 15 year old fan at the side of the stage with his instamatic back in April 1971.  Apart from the fact that Blackmore has made a swop with Roger for the Precision bass, the extra interest is that the band are playing at the Montreux Casino just 8 months before they would return there with plans to record an album on this very same stage. I think it’s one of the earliest shots of Ritchie with a bass, there are a couple of Ritchie playing bass with Alex Harvey from 1974.

Jean-Lou who took the shot can’t recall too much about the show (and to be fair my recollections of first seeing the band that same year are a little limited), but he has hunted out his original photographs so we can get hi-res scans which will appear in the upcoming Machine Head book Fire In The Sky later this year.  If there are any other fans out there who saw the band at the time, or went to the infamous Zappa show in December, please do get in touch.

Thanks also to Stephen Clare.  Here’s a recent pic of him doing the same thing, 40 something years on; not sure about the pink finish though!

Ritchie Blackmore pink bass guitar

1974 in focus

November 19, 2014

These days the anniversaries seem to be coming thick and fast; I just had a journalist enquiring about photographs I took at the Butterfly Ball show as he was planning a 40th anniversary feature on the album…  could it really be that long ago?

Deep Purple UK tour 1974

But interesting as that album was, perhaps for many the event we should be looking back on was the UK debut 40 years ago of Deep Purple Mk 3, on a massive and what proved to be very exciting UK tour.  I was reminded of this thanks to this great photograph taken from up in the gods looking down on the group rocking out in front of a clearly appreciative crowd.  It was taken by photographer Barry Plummer and I’ve been helping him sort through his images for a series of books.  He worked for The Melody Maker and as such was often sent out to cover the band, the first time being in 1971, photographing both live shows and the musicians off-stage during interviews.  The paper would use one or two photos, and Barry just filed the rest of his negatives away.  Anyhow, one of the books is devoted just to Deep Purple and we’ll have more on the book (which is due in early 2015) soon but I got permission from the publishers to reproduce this shot.  For anyone who caught this tour (I was lucky enough to see two shows) it will really bring the gigs into focus.  It’s also fascinating just to look at the little bits of detail – the roll of gaffer tape on one of the amps, the support band’s drum kit shoved behind the back-line, Jon’s effects unit taped to the top of his Hammond, Ritchie’s Revox, Ron Quinton holding on to the Marshall stack, the left-handed Strat, and so on. I’m back there blissed out on the blues solo once more!

The book is one of a series from Barry’s archives coming out on ST33 books (the others feature more big names from the era), you can read a bit more on their site.  We’ll be getting more details soon and discounts for Darker Than Blue readers are on the cards.

The Skyliners

July 15, 2014

A few days away from the laptop and we get back to find the site awash with speculation about our mystery guitar player from an earlier posting here. So without further ado…
Skegness-advertDavid Coverdale was indeed in a band called The Skyliners from November 1968 for a few months (until they changed their name to The Government). The Skyliners we showed is a different (and older) outfit, which featured Graham Bonnet on guitar and vocals (and there were a number of people who did guess correctly), Bill Gardner on drums, Alan Vickers on brass, with band leader Peter Tomlinson on keyboards. Incredibly Graham was still at school when he joined them in 1963, and stayed with the outfit for around 18 months, playing hotels, clubs, Butlin’s, and coffee bars in Skegness and Lincolnshire. “We did all the songs you could imagine. ‘Take Five’, ‘San Francisco’, ‘Go Away Little Girl’, Sinatra tunes, Tony Bennett etc. and all the awful pop tunes that were around at the time. It was all mum’s and dad’s type songs. Lots of instrumentals, Joe Loss type things and jazz stuff.” Graham finally moved on to form a more contemporary pop group in 1964. The Skyliner’s photo (check here if you missed it) came from the forthcoming Graham Bonnet Biography, written by Steve Wright – who used to run Graham’s fanzine Under The Bonnet which older DTB people will remember I’m sure. As Steve says, it is not intended to be a dirt digging exercise, he’s more interested in properly documenting Graham’s career, but the singer has been very open and honest about his ups and downs in the rock business in a series of interviews over the last few years. Due out towards the end of this year, I’ve really enjoyed reading the story as it does provide a real insight into Graham’s background and upbringing. It will be published by Easy On The Eye books, and you can read more on their website. Format will be similar to the recent Wait for The Ricochet title, with lots of memorabilia and pics, and there should be an opportunity to get a limited version signed by GB as well. The publishers have opened an information service for anyone who would like to be kept up to date and get early news of publication, and also allowed us to reprint their publicity information on DTB in the book section.
Thanks to Steve and Easy On The Eye Books for the advance information. Steve has collected a lot of material for the book but if any DTB people have photographs or memorabilia which might be suitable, send me an email and I’ll put you in touch.

Graham Bonnet The Man Behind The Shades biography. Easy On The Eye Books

The Open Ear

May 12, 2014

Child In Time 12"Award yourself a house star if you know where that motto comes from….  Purple Records kicked off back in 1971 and like a lot of other slightly esoteric seventies labels has gained quite a following amongst collectors in recent years.  Purple never quite managed to focus itself as much as labels like Vertigo, Charisma or Threshold, and lacked the determined resources of labels like Harvest, mostly because the people involved were always being kept busy looking after Deep Purple themselves. Nevertheless as well as being home to many Deep Purple albums and singles over the years (and the label design continues to appear on various reissues to this day, including this years record Day single), the label did handle a lot of interesting solo projects as well as offerings from musicians outside the immediate ‘family’. Buddy Bohn, Silverhead and Bullet rubbed shoulders with The Colditz Story, Yvonne Elliman and Curtiss Maldoon.Bullet German 45 Purple Records
Rare record collector Neil Priddey has been working on a book detailing the story of the label and this is now nearing completion. He has spoken to a number of people behind the scenes as well as musicians on the label. The book will be illustrated with the covers of all the albums and a discography as well as the singles and rarities, press material and other memorabilia.
Label designs, inner sleeves and more are a feature of Neil’s work. His recent book on the Charisma ‘pink label’ albums has been nicely received (not least on Simon’s album sleeve blog) so we’re expecting good things from this follow up.  More details will follow as and when along with publishing information and ordering details. Meanwhile if anyone out there has any rare items from the label’s history do please get in touch and I’ll pass your email along.
Purple Records label Rainbow first albumHere are a few rarities from the label’s history to be going on with: a German art sleeve for Bullet; a very strange 12″ featuring “long” disco versions of two tracks (both normal album cuts in fact); and an obscure edition of Rainbow’s first album on the Purple label.