For the true Purple afficianado…
Review by Rich Ward
Release date: 20 March 2015
The proliferation of official Deep Purple live albums reflects the fact that they were, and still are, very much a live band. Their incendiary live shows allowed experimentation and improvisation that gave an intensity which was difficult to capture within the confines of their studio recordings. Thankfully earMUSIC have undertaken a campaign to release a number of classic live shows in an official capacity. Recorded at Long Beach Arena, California, on July 30 1971, for a radio broadcast, this latest offering was previously widely regarded as an essential show and appeared on several bootlegs.
Recorded around the time of the seminal Fireball album, Long Beach 1971 sees the whole band on top form for a double album with just four tracks. Opening with ‘Speed King’ at a mere 11 minutes in length sees some superb drumming from Ian Paice, and an enthralling play off between Blackmore and Lord. ‘Strange Kind Of Woman’ is the new song of the set so Gillan gets to explain the origins of the song, and the familiar guitar/vocal duel is already an essential part of the song.
To be fair though, ‘Child In Time’ is the stand out here. Lord excels and it’s difficult not to picture that Hammond organ rocking from side to side, meanwhile Blackmore wrenches the notes from his Strat with some exquisite soloing. Gillan’s screams hit all the high notes and it’s also refreshing to hear different ad libs than those we have become accustomed to from Made In Japan. Clocking in at over 20 minutes, early Deep Purple doesn’t get much better than this.
Concluding with ‘Mandrake Root’ at almost half an hour, it includes some exceptional passages but is probably just a little too long to be as effective as it could be. A year later they would commit to vinyl one of the greatest live albums of all time: Made In Japan. This album provides a great taster from the era that immediately preceded it. The length of the tracks makes it less accessible and it really isn’t an album that you’d want to recommend to a casual fan or for an introduction to the band. For the true Purple afficianado, however, it’s more than just a curiosity and a worthy addition to the collection.
7 out of 10
- Speed King
- Strange Kind Of Woman
- Child In Time
- Mandrake Root