Friday, 13 November 2020

Deep Purple - Made In Japan

 Dateline: 1972

The world is just about at peak-Led Zeppelin, peak-Black Sabbath, Marc Bolan has invented and personified Glam Rock, David Bowie becomes the first of his many characters, The Who and The Stones continue to it out for the title of The Worlds Greatest Rock and Roll Band, and Deep Purple release a live album that they felt wasn't necessary, and only did so to keep their record company off their backs.

That live album was 'Made In Japan', and as the name suggests was recorded (apocryphally using sub-standard equipment) in Osaka and Tokyo on their August 1972 tour of Japan.

A double album containing just 7 tracks - the shortest here is opener "Highway Star" which falls just short of the 7 minute mark.
At the other end of the scale, closing track "Space Truckin" is nigh on 20 minutes long and occupies it's own side of the original vinyl release.

If the story of not wanting to do alive album is to be believed, then it is somewhat let down by the sheer energy of the songs on show here.
Every track is a showcase for the bands prowess, musicality and proficiency - each getting their own little show-off moment.  These versions have enough to differentiate them from the studio versions (ie they're not just played straight) and the whole band sounds like one solid unit relying on each others feed lines, second guessing where the song goes, and then adding their own touches.

The Drum Solo?  That's normally a cue to sprint to the bar or toilets and leave the tub thumper showing off a bit by bashing things.  "The Mule" though is a key part of this set.  Helped in part by the fact it starts out like a Greek Folk Song.  The vocal track is done and dusted in under 2 minutes, and then Ian Paice takes over for another 7 and a half minutes.  As drum solos go, this is one I actually enjoy listening to.  He is a darn fine drummer (and often absent from the "Greatest Drummers Of All Time" lists that seem to fill up Mojo, Uncut, and many corners of the interweb.

Spare a thought though - he's up there sweating cobs under stage lights, the band wander back on stage to provide a slight coda towards the end, the final cymbal crashes, the bass drum thuds, and the moment the cheering dies down they fly into the next song.without pause.  No rest for the tubthumpers. 

The 25th Anniversary edition included the Encores on a second disc.  Not sure I need 3 versions of "Black Night" and 2 of "Speed King", but the Purple-ised wig-out 9 minute version of "Lucille" is a welcome addition to proceedings.

Mark II Purple is my patch of choice - and this one for me really is peak-Purple (1972 was a pretty good year for peaking).  There was only to be one further album in that configuration though before Ian Gillan and Roger Glover departed (replaced by David Coverdale and Glen  Hughes).  The opening track of 'Who Do We Think We Are' was "My Woman From Tokyo" a nice back link to where this album was recorded.

Later albums were good (if a bit stodgy in places) and even the reformation of the "classic" line-up for 1984s 'Perfect Strangers' does not come close to the power evident on 'Made In Japan'

Highway Star

Smoke On The Water

1 comment:

  1. This album, along with 24 Carat Purple, exchanged hands so many times at school it became a currency all its own. I've written about the various DP 'Marks' over the years; personally, I have a soft spot for the Mk. IV lineup - not least because Tommy Bolin was a far better banjo player than The Man in Black. And Come Taste the Band is an album I still play to this day (unlike, say, Machine Head or In Rock).