Paice Ashton Lord • Live 1977 – CD

Hummingbird – T2CD0112 – April 2012. CD.

Paice Ashton Lord Live 1977 CD coverIt still puzzles me why I didn’t get into PAL more when they were around; youthful loyalties and narrower musical horizons clearly had a lot to do with it. But the band did kick off in a way which suggested they already were the bees knees, when perhaps taking a couple of steps back down the ladder and adopting a suck it and see approach might have enabled them to ride out any teething troubles instead of facing them in the full glare of publicity.
I doubt Paice or Lord would have relished the back to the roots approach which worked for Coverdale, but… it worked for Coverdale. And it was financially far less risky than calling up James Bond’s set-designer and getting him to buy up the nearest timber merchants.
Anyhow, this CD comes from the band’s debut (indeed one and only) radio broadcast. It was issued on CD many years ago, but is here remastered and with the missing song (ironically the album title track) added back in for the first time. It certainly sounds better than the last version (the old Windsong label never spent a cent on their releases), louder and crisper without being over-driven, though it is a little rough around the edges at times due to the problems on the day (the sound gear blew a couple of times for starters).
We get live versions of almost the entire album too, and some of these kick up a storm, especially the opening Ghost Story and On The Road Again. Personally I could live without I’m Gonna Stop Drinking Again, which always struck me as a lack-lustre in-joke, but otherwise it’s all fairly up-beat. You get to notice Marsden’s rhythm work more and the bass is certainly lifted from the last edition. Marsden also gets to front the old standard Steamroller Blues, which is a little out of place but does make you think they’d have done well to use Bernie’s voice more. Curiously one of the high-points is the steaming version of the old Ashton / Lord album song Ballad Of Mr. Giver (an album they never actually toured at all – unless one live concert and a radio performance count as a tour – I suppose these days they might!), and they rock out on Sneaky Private Lee.
I remember when we saw them at Birmingham the band all looked rather out of place on the ginormous stage they had; Lord and Ashton stuck down the front together, with all the others looking down on them as if they were watching rather than taking part. I’m sure it was half the problem and had they been working together side by side on a normal stage it might have brought more cohesion and lessened the pressure on Tony.
Still, it’s easy to be wise after the event, and for now this is a nice reminder of one of the more off the wall offerings from the Deep Purple family. The CD booklet has detailed notes and some unpublished photos from yours truly taken live and back-stage. Very strange to be asked to dig these out and scan them after 35 years (you can see some contact sheets of these online at easy on the eye). Their press guy took as backstage before the show for a chat with Jon and Ian, and we were a bit star struck as it was very early days of the fan-club, but the pair were very hospitable. We bumped into Cozy Powell outside – he’d driven up to catch the show – and allowed us to take a few photos provided we did not publish where they were taken. He explained he was supposed to be on a tax break outside the UK!

Simon Robinson

available from April at DTB Online Store, pre-orders taken.

PAL Tour posters in the on-line gallery at the website,

UK PAL Tour press advert here

PAL family tree at

9 Responses to “Paice Ashton Lord • Live 1977 – CD”

  1. googlertoo Says:

    So, has this been mastered from the BBC tapes?

    • simon robinson Says:

      Have the BBC got any audio masters from this show? My engineer friend who was there at the recording says they were wiped, along with the fluffed takes…

  2. Steve R Says:

    So glad this is coming out as a complete concert now, remember as a 18 year old how I looked forward to the broadcast as by bad timing only got into Purple as they broke up. Always liked the one and only studio release ( the original and the re-issue )

  3. Chris holden Says:

    It’s so pleasing that to see that someone has taken the time to re-release this album again and such an underrated band. I saw them at the Birmingham Odeon and can still remember them thumping out the great sound with the brass, trumpet section and backing girls. Yes it was not fashionable at the time and for the old deep purple fans just to much of a departure.
    But even after 30 odd years I still listen to the album and even my 12 year daughter has Malice in Wonderland on her iPod.

    • simon robinson Says:

      A couple of photos in the booklet were taken at Birmingham Chris, see if you can spot yourself!

  4. Phil A Says:

    How sad… I notice on Facebook people will post an entire album in HD from Youtube to share with others, without realising that they are also giving people less reason to buy anything!

    Perhaps for Jon & Ian it might help to know that the key demographic for this kind of material still buy stuff. So if it does ever surface I would like a CD please!…Thank Phil

    NB: My 18 year old son is replacing his CDs with vinyl – so perhaps all is not lost

    • simon robinson Says:

      “without realising”? Without caring! We’ll keep looking, and try to make sure it comes out on vinyl as well. Funnily enough I see lots of younger kids buying out of the racks in the Help The Aged record shop these days, just having fun at an affordable price I guess.

  5. Phil A Says:

    On the original Repertoire release of Malice in Wonderland there were three live tracks taken from the UK Tour. Would it be possible to release the full concert one day?

    • simon robinson Says:

      I’m not sure where the tapes are Phil, but it would need approval of Jon and Ian, plus they’d need mixing and it depends on whether there is a big enough market these days when as soon as a CD is out it invariable gets posted on the web for free…

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