Monday, 10 April 2017

"Made In Japan: Deluxe Edition" by DEEP PURPLE (May 2014 Universal/Purple 2CD Reissue – Kevin Shirley and Martin Pullan Remasters) - A Review by Mark Barry...

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"…This One's Called..."

There's a word that jumps to mind as you are assaulted by the first minute of "Highway Star" on Disc 1 - and that word is 'awesome'. It's a corny statement I know when it comes to hairy-assed reprobate Rock bands at the best of times. But like Little Feat, Thin Lizzy and The Allman Brothers - Deep Purple were always a muted thing in the studio. But come the live event - the Purps Mark II were a truly astounding thing to behold - a beast unleashed. And this fabulous 2014 Deluxe Edition 2CD sonic upgrade of one the great live albums of all time is only going to make matters worse for our aged and acing head-banging necks. I swear - this thing comes at you like a High Sea's Pirate who hasn't had rum or a woman for a month and has just landed at Portsmouth with a day pass from Black Beard - it's ready to rock and you'd better step aside pal...

UK released May 2014 - this new version of "Made In Japan" by DEEP PURPLE comes in a VINYL variant, a 2CD issue and a DELUXE 4-disc Box Set. This review is for the 2CD issue on Universal/Purple 3769640 (Barcode 0602537696406) and it breaks down as follows:

Disc 1 (Purple 3769641) - 76:08 minutes:
1. Highway Star
2. Child In Time
3. Smoke On The Water [Side 2]
4. The Mule
5. Strange Kind Of Woman [Side 3]
6. Lazy
7. Space Truckin' [Side 4]
Tracks 1 to 7 are the double-live album "Made In Japan" - released December 1972 in the UK on Purple Records TPSP 351 and April 1973 in the USA on Warner Brothers 2WS 2701. Tracks 1, 2, 5 and 7 were recorded in Osaka on 16 August 1972, 3 was on 15 August 1972 with 4 and 6 done on 17 August 1972.

Disc 2 (Purple 3769642) - 46:50 minutes:
1. Black Night
2. Speed King (both 15 August 1972)
3. Black Night
4. Lucille (both 16 August 1972)
5. Black Night
6. Speed King (both 17 August 1972)

I can remember buying my copy at Christmas in December 1972 enticed by that great sleeve and the `specially priced at £3.10 for a double' sticker (single albums were this price at the time). They even claimed in trade press adverts that it was `the best live recording ever made' - and when I got it home and plopped into on trusty Garrard SP25 - they weren't joking. So what's different?

The 1998 EMI 2CD reissue featured a PETER MEW remaster from original tapes (done at Abbey Road) with CD2 giving us only 3 of the "Encore" tracks (4, 5 and 6 on Disc 2 above). It had different artwork and a pretty good 16-page booklet with excellent liner notes from SIMON ROBINSON. MALCOM DOME takes over the reign for the liner notes on this new version, the original gold artwork of the LP is reinstated on the fold-out card digipak and the inner gatefold of the digipak apes the original vinyl issue from all those years ago (all much to the delight of fans). There's even 3 new tracks added onto CD2 completing the Encores and the new 16-page booklet has contributions from Slash of Guns `N Roses, photos from the shows and even tape boxes pictured. But the big news is a double-whammy of new remasters- KEVIN SHIRLEY has handled the album on CD1 while MARTIN PULLAN has done the Encores on CD 2 - and the wallop off these is unbelievable.

What gets you straight away is the separation of the instruments - especially JON LORD on Organ and the Rhythm Section of ROGER GLOVER and IAN PAICE on Bass and Drums respectively. The incendiary guitar pyrotechnics of RITCHIE BLACKMORE and the sheer Classic Rock vocal power of IAN GILLIAN remain intact - but it's the others you now hear when for years they were at the back of the mix. The opener "Highway Star" (from "Machine Head") is a stunner. Before you only heard Blackmore's riffage and slides - now the bass, drums and organ are `there' suddenly too - and man was this band tight - and that organ solo is still a thing of wonder. The lengthy "Child In Time" is hissy in places but it still packs a punch that shows the band at the height of their powers. What can you say about the opening riffs of "Smoke On The Water" - probably the most famous power chords ever played. As the crowd claps and Ian Paice's high-hats and bass drum starts to kick in - now you can really `hear' it.

Always an underappreciate "Fireball" gem - "The Mule" allows both Lord and the boys in the back full reign once the guitars die down - great stuff. Classic Rock doesn't get more butt swaggering than the brilliant "Strange Kind Of Woman" (a single only release in the UK) - and even at nearly ten-minutes it doesn't overstay its welcome. I love the amps buzzing at the beginning of "Lazy" and that ear-splitting Organ solo where you think he's going to beat that instrument into submission no matter what ("Louie Louie") - followed by his brilliant clap-along intro to the song (it sounds so good too). You have to say something at this stage about Blackmore's guitar playing - utterly brilliant - and like Beck - he seemed able to take on any style. At nearly twenty minutes the Side 4 finisher can be a bit much to take but audio-wise - it's much more powerful - the drums and vocals especially (Gillan whipping the crowd into a "come on!" frenzy).

Brilliant - definitive - rocking like Gibraltar - "Made In Japan" has always had a special place in my heart and it's back to stay...

PS: this review is dedicated with affection to MICK KEATING - a Dublin friend of mine who adored this record. He passed away in the Eighties and is buried in the same graveyard as another hero of ours - Phil Lynott...

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