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"…Speed King…" – Deep Purple In Rock: Anniversary Edition by DEEP PURPLE (1995 EMI Expanded CD Remaster)
on 27 October 2015
Even now in 2015 – with a distance of 45 head-banging years between me and my grey receding hairline – the opening sonic assault of guitar mayhem that greets an aging body as you play "Speed King" on Side 1 of the British original of "Deep Purple In Rock" - is an absolute sonic kick in the proverbials.
Released all the way back in the hairy-assed reprobate days of June 1970 - relistening to "In Rock" again on this amazing Peter Mew Expanded CD Remaster and you're walloped with the sheer hard-rocking, balls-to-the-wall, take-no-prisoners passion of this bloodsucker – Ritchie Blackmore flaying that guitar neck until both it and his fingers go crimson red – destroying all poncey piddly Popsters in their path by beginning the new decade with Hard Rock harder than The Rock’s hard biceps (and that’s a lot of 'hard' for a Tuesday morning frankly).
It had taken England's DEEP PURPLE three decent but admittedly patchy LPs to arrive at this sound – their trademark Mark II line-up. And they'd kind of ignored the public-catching attention singles gave a band too. But all of that changed with "In Rock" and the stand-alone 7” single "Black Night" when they were launched globally in June 1970. The Purps started a wildfire run of albums - following in 1971 with "Fireball" and slamming 1972 with "Machine Head" and the stunning double "Made In Japan" - a live set that practically defined Classic Hard Rock in the Seventies. Hell – what used to trade for four or five quid in a second hand record bin for nearly two decades after its release – now passes hands for hundreds of pounds in vinyl collector’s pursuit of that elusive genuine first British pressing (laminated gatefold outer sleeve, matt black and white photos on the inner gatefold, no EMI logo on the label). Here are the details carved in stone...
UK and US released June 1995 – "Deep Purple In Rock: Anniversary Edition" by DEEP PURPLE on EMI 7243 8 34019 2 5 (Barcode 724383401925) is a 25th Anniversary Expanded CD Remaster and plays out as follows (78:27 minutes):
1. Speed King
3. Child In Time
4. Flight Of The Rat [Side 2]
5. Into The Fire
6. Living Wreck
7. Hard Lovin' Man
Tracks 1 to 7 make up the UK mix of the vinyl album "Deep Purple In Rock" – released June 1970 on Harvest SHVL 777. It peaked on the UK album charts at No. 4. Also released June 1970 - the US variant on Warner Brothers WS 1877 is the same except that the opening intro to "Speed King" is edited off and begins with the song riff and Ian Gillan's vocals (peaked at 147).
8. Black Night (Original Single Version)
Non-album track issued 5 June 1970 as a stand-alone UK 7" single on Harvest HAR 5020 with the album's opener "Speed King" as its B-side. It rose to No. 2 in the UK charts in August 1970.
9. Studio Chat
10. Speed King (Piano Version)
11. Studio Chat
12. Cry Free (Roger Glover Remix)
13. Studio Chat
14. Jam Stew (Unreleased Instrumental)
15. Studio Chat
16. Flight Of The Rat (Roger Glover Remix)
17. Studio Chat
18. Speed King (Roger Glover Remix)
19. Studio Chat
20. Black Night (Unedited Roger Glover Remix)
With a total playing time of 78:27 minutes – you certainly get value for money and the outer jewel case with its embossed SIGNATURES by the band and ANNIVERSARY EDITION Block print is certainly striking if not impossible to keep clean and minty. And baring in mind just how horrible the 80's "In Rock" CD was - the 24-page booklet makes a real effort this time and is therefore jam-packed with insider info and track-by-track reminiscences from Lead Vocalist Ian Gillan, Drummer Ian Paice, Keyboardist Jon Lord, Bassist Roger Glover and Lead Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore. There are black and white photos of the band, pictures of a January 1970 reel-to-reel box and repros of contemporary press reviews from the time. 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 artwork aren’t reproduced and there’s no colour photos which gives the booklet a rather dullard feel…
But those niggles get trampled on pretty quickly by the big news for fans - 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 plentiful Roger Glover-approved extras are actually worthy of the moniker 'bonus'.
"Concerto For Group And Orchestra" on Harvest SHVL 767 rose to the dizzy heights of No. 26 on the UK LP charts in late January 1970 and stayed for only 4 weeks. Hardly the greatest start to the new decade. But from October 1969 right up until April 1970 – Deep Purple found what they were looking for and embraced the riffage. As I’ve already pointed out – "In Rock" opens with a true statement of intent - the wild "Speed King". Pow - and you're hit with guitar strings being thoroughly abused by Ritchie Blackmore – ripping up and down the frets like Eddie Van Halen without the structure - screeches and howls of notes - until it eventually settles down into a lone organ solo from Jon Lord who sounds like he’s been practising on one-too-many Church Sessions about Hell and if you're lucky Purgatory (all doomy and menacing). And then suddenly a huge and fast riff and Gillan’s archetypical screech Rock vocals. The effect is mind-blowing. Hard Rock has arrived. It kind of did with Zeppelin’s first albums anyway – but these guys made the decade wake up. "Bloodsucker" has always been a fave of mine – a properly great Rock track that has that Deep Purple funky swagger in it. I've never liked "Child In Time" in truth – it’s stagy stop-start slow drawl – but it became a live staple and came to full manic extended fruition on the live double "Made In Japan".
Side 2 opens with the truly fantastic "Flight of The Rat" – a guaranteed crowd-pleasing rocker where everything sounds fabulous – that churning riff – the thrashing drums – the huge organ sound complimenting the guitar pyrotechnics - even Gillan’s deliberately backgrounded vocals don’t sound too far back in the mix. Major grunge riffage comes at you with the impossibly good "Into The Fire" – a very Deep Purple Rock song with Gillan straining that larynx for the whole duration (the pushed into the left speaker guitar solo sounds so much clearer now). There's huge presence to the drum opening of "Living Wreck" – Ritchmore's treated guitar chugging along while Lord's organ playing finally gets given pride of place. It ends of another seven minutes of wild guitar carnage – the fast and racy "Hard Lovin' Man" – a small wonder when played live – ripping along at a pace that’s so DP at its best (that Organ solo is awesome – followed quickly by doubled-Ritchie on guitar - brilliant).
Even now the stand-alone 7" single "Black Night" thrills – a genius 45 with a B-side ("Speed King") that undoubtedly made the curious and excited run out and buy the album throughout the later half of 1970.
The six Studio Chats serve as a clever way into the BONUS TRACKS – 30-second goofs in the studio – breakdowns of takes – giggling – snippets of organ cover versions – it makes the whole Extras thing a little less formal and a whole lot more fun. The 'Piano Version' of "Speed King" loses the slashing guitars intro and goes straight into the riff (like the American LP version) but is anchored by a piano background instead of that huge organ (slightly different vocals too). It’s easy to hear why the weedy piano was ditched for the power of the organ but at 4:16 minutes - it’s a fantastic addition anyway. The real meat for fans begins with "Cry Free" – a fab outtake rocker that could easily have fitted on Side 1 of the LP. Although it’s only 2:32 minutes long – the Previously Unreleased Instrumental "Jam Stew" is just great – fast-paced guitar-chugging like "Hard Lovin' Man" complete with a wicked Jon Lord solo. The last three are essentially Roger Glover remixes – audio reconstructions of "Flight Of The Rat", "Speed King" and an Unedited "Black Night" that overruns the single mix from 3:25 minutes to a more chunky and better stereo-imaged 4:48 minutes. All three especially the longer and chunkier "Black Night" are brilliant and in some ways feel like what the album takes could have been with more bottom end and audio muscle. Bit of a barnstormer frankly.
They would follow in 1971 with "Fireball" (a UK No. 1) - then with the accomplished "Machine Head" in 1972 and end that year with the magnificent specially-priced double live album "Made In Japan" – a virtual milestone in Rock and up there with Humble Pie's "In Performance" and Thin Lizzy's "Live And Dangerous". But 1970's "Deep Purple In Rock" is where that 'Rawk' journey properly began.
It’s trite I suppose to refer to Deep Purple's "In Rock" as iconic, legendary, seminal and all that – but actually it was and still is. Much like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath changed the face of music so much in those halcyon years – Deep Purple were right up there with them – breaking down barriers, trashing hotel rooms (as any good Rock band worth their salt must) and creating a sound we know and love to this day.
"...Sweet Child In Time..." indeed – and what a time it was...