Recorded in Austria, very shortly before Blackmore’s departure from the band, this album sees Deep Purple in (largely) cracking form.
Still promoting the Stormbringer album, this period has already been well documented, between the Mark III Final Concerts (which covers a good chunk of this show) and Paris 1975, but it is nice to have this set in full.
While there’s much on here to divide fans, the opener Burn is one of the better versions, storming and energetic, the memorable riff a good way to start. “God Bless Ya” and “Here’s a song for ya” – you know it’s Ol’ Cov’ up front.
Stormbringer follows and features Coverdale and bassist Glenn Hughes in fine form.
Three more Mk III songs follow, The Gypsy, Lady Double Dealer and Mistreated, all with irrelevant Hughes intros, “Here’s a song featuring guys in the band who’re on it anyway” – move on Mr Hughes. That said, and Coverdale’s unnecessary screams aside, Mistreated (all 15 minutes worth) is a classic, more powerful here and less drifting than other versions I’ve heard. It’s a song that’s been made the most of by both Blackmore and Coverdale, post Purple, and rightly so.
What’s obvious so far, is Blackmore’s noodling, during and between songs; these hint at both his disquiet with the then current band, and what was to come in the soon to be formed Rainbow.
Jon Lord’s keyboards stand out in Smoke On The Out – a track that features both highlight and lowlight of the album. The highs are the main track – the low is what it turns into; It’s now wonder Blackmore fucked off when the song morphed into With A Little Help From My Friends and Hughes into the whiniest Stevie Wonder possible. The man shouldn’t have been bound and gagged at that point.
You Fool No-one kicks off with a Jon Lord solo spot, before Blackmore’s solo move’s heavily into Rainbow territory (the writing wasn’t just on the wall – it was wall and truly carved).
Hughes introduces Space Truckin’ (who ungagged him? Shut the fuck up Hughes), is another 20 minutes of joy. The bass work is actually fantastic (stick to what you know GH) – this line-up definitely had some wonderful moments.
In the main a good set – but the band were definitely skewed from how they were a couple of years previous.
9/10 (marks off for the coked-out-of-his-mind bassist opening his mouth)
Deep Purple 1975 – Documentary Film Trailer (A Work in Progress)