Monday, 10 April 2017

"Fireball: 25th Anniversary Edition" by DEEP PURPLE from 1971 (October 1996 EMI 'Expanded Edition' CD Reissue – Peter Mew/Roger Glover Remaster/Remix) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"…Everything's Good…Everything's Fine…"

There can’t be many men of a certain age who look at the cover of this album with our five hairy reprobates fireballing it upwards into some kind of galactic Hard Rock nirvana beyond – and feel a warm glow of riffage coming over their pacemakers. Deep Purple’s “Fireball” – even the name makes me tingle. And this rather cool and cheap little CD reissue featuring the classic Mark II line-up of the band will only make that itch to annoy the neighbours even more tempting. Let’s detail the stubborn mule, the judge’s daughter and the demon’s eye…

UK released October 1996 - "Fireball: 25th Anniversary Edition" by DEEP PURPLE on EMI CDDEEPP 2 (Barcode 724385371127) is an 'Expanded Edition' CD Reissue and Remaster that plays out as follows (78:46 minutes): 

1. Fireball [Side 1]
2. No No No
3. Demon's Eye
4. Anyone's Daughter
5. The Mule [Side 2]
6. Fools
7. No One Came
Tracks 1 to 7 make up the studio album "Fireball" - originally released September 1971 in the UK on Harvest SHVL 793 and August 1971 in the USA on Warner Brothers BS 2564 with a different track list on Side 1. Replacing "Demon's Eye" as track 3 is "Strange Kind Of Woman" – a song that was issued only as a 7" single in the UK on Harvest HAR 5033 in February 1971 (see also 9 for its non-album B-side).

8. Strange Kind Of Woman - A-Side Remix 96
9. I'm Alone – the non-album B-side of "Strange Kind Of Woman" released as a 7" single in the UK 12 February 1971 on Harvest HAR 5033
10. Freedom – an Album outtake
11. Slow Train – an Album outtake
12. Demon's Eye (Remix 96)
13. "The Noise Abatement Society Tapes – Midnight In Moscow, Robin Hood, William Tell"
14. Fireball Take 1 (Instrumental)
15. Backwards Piano
16. No One Came (Remix 96)

With a total playing time of 78:46 minutes – you certainly get value for money and the outer stippled-effect card slipcase mimics the feel of the original gatefold album cover (a nice touch). The 28-page booklet is jam-packed with insider info and track-by-track reminiscences from vocalist Ian Gillan, Jon Lord, Roger Glover and guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. There are superb foreign picture sleeves, in the studio photos and even Glover’s hand-drawn original artwork ideas. All of it is held together with enthusiastic liners notes from SIMON ROBINSON with involvement from the DPAS (Deep Purple Appreciation Society). Rather oddly though for such a thorough release – UK and American copies of the original vinyl LP came with a gatefold lyric insert which isn’t reproduced here…

But that niggle aside - the big news here is a fantastic new remaster done by tape supremo PETER MEW (with care) at Abbey Road that thrashes the horrible Eighties CD fans have had to live with for years now. This disc rocks with real muscle and clarity. And the extras are actually worthy of the moniker ‘bonus’.

With only seven tracks and some of them soft in the centre (“Fools”) – the press reaction wasn’t all favourable despite the album’s rapid assent to Number 1 on the UK charts in September 1971 and a healthy Number 30 placing in the USA. No matter what the critics thought – fans of Mark II Deep Purple have always loved it – sandwiched between the barnstorming “In Rock” from 1970 and the accomplished “Machine Head” in 1972.

It opens with a total barnstormer – the title track “Fireball” – hitting you with the rampant Hard Rock impact of “Immigrant Song” on Side 1 of 1970’s “Led Zeppelin III”. Not surprising then that their seventh UK single saw ”Fireball” released 25 October 1971 on Harvest HAR 5045 with the album’s “Demon’s Eye” on its B-side. I love “Demon’s Eye” – a great Purple song with that funky Rock swagger they had. “No No No” has that same sexy feel while the naughty lyrics to “Anyone’s Daughter” has always brought a smile to my face (“hairy bums”).

Side 2 opens with the trademark slashing of Blackmore on “The Mule” before it settles down into a keyboard/guitar duo groove. And although it divided people on release – I like the way “Fools” slows down into an almost operatic centrepiece before returning to the opening riff. The album ends with “No One Came” – a thudding Purple tune with Gillian letting it rip vocally. The two album outtakes “Freedom” and “Slow Train” are shockingly good and why they weren’t used as a B-side to say “Fireball” is anyone’s guess. The “Noise Abatement Tapes” is an instrumental amble with witty inclusions of Robin Hood and William Tell. The ’96 remixes of “Strange Kind Of Woman” and “No One Came” don’t do too much altering damage – just giving extra muscle to the overall sonic impact. Nice…

The Purps – don’t you just love 'em. 

"...Man you're music is really hot!" - Ian Gillan jokes on "No One Came". 

Yet it was – and now it's even better… 

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