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4.8 out of 5 stars
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TOP 100 REVIEWERon 22 July 2011
... was hearing this for the first time.

I grew up in the 60s/70s with 2 quite older sisters. They were very much in to The Beatles and Elvis, and hence so was I. At school in the mid 70s I was still mad keen on Elvis, and shared my passion with one of my best mates. We were always swapping records and boring other friends rigid with our love and knowledge of Elvis and his music. Then one rainy lunchtime at school, my friend dragged me in to one of the music rooms where there was a record player which a few select pupils were allowed to use so long as they were careful. When we got in there, there were a few other boys from my class, and my mate said to me, "You have just GOT TO HEAR THIS", and then gave a nod.

The needle was carefully cued up over the appropriate track and then gently lowered, and then Smoke On The Water started to wash over us all.

We all know what a stunning track this is, but the effect on me was electrifying and profound. I can still remember that day 37-ish years ago as clearly and vividly as if it were yesterday, quite literally. In my rather sheltered musical exposure up to that moment, I had never heard anything like it before, and I just fell in love with rock, instantly.

Whenever I hear it now, and I hear it a lot, I am transported back to that day that changed my taste in music, and it is no exaggeration to say my life, for ever. I can see all my mates grinning at me, I can smell the rain and my damp blazer, I can hear the gentle hiss and crackle of the vinyl as the track started to play, I can feel the shivers going up my spine. I wasted no time in buying the album for myself, and having transferred it to CD myself years ago, I still get a kick out of listening to my own burned version of this now, with all the same pops and crackles that I got so used to during the hundreds and hundreds of plays of that disc during my formative teenage years. I much prefer it to modern clinical versions. That original piece of vinyl is in my DNA.

Many people on Desert Island Discs choose music to remind them of people and places. I would do the same, but I would also choose Smoke On The Water, not only for the memories but because it is a very special piece of music. No matter how many times you hear it, you never ever tire of it. EVER. That is very rare.

Best album ever? Well, it's right up there for me.

It was certainly the first album in my "proper" music collection ;-)
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Deep Purple's sixth studio album (and the third with their famous MKII line Up) Machine Head is their most famous and arguably most loved album, contains many of the band's most famous songs and is considered both an all time classic of rock music and one of the key building blocks of heavy metal... the album held in very high esteem and with good reason.

The album set a new standard for rock music, it is full of very memorable songs, most of which the band play live a great deal and all of which are of the utmost quality, most with riveting performances both vocally and instrumentally.

Opening up with fan favourite 'Highway Star,' the album starts off strong, showcasing its rock credentials right from the beginning. Rithchie Blackmore and Jon Lord had always been talented virtuosic players, but the trade-off keyboard/neo-classical guitar solo on this song was a whole other level of skill and quality. The song just has a great attitude, with driving bass, great drum fills all throughout and a strong chorus.

'Pictures Of Home,' is similar in its heavy and driving nature, one of the best songs on the album and this time providing as much of a showcase for Ian Paice's drumming as Lord and Blackmore's soloing. Add to that 'Space Trucking,' which is equally strong, driving and rocking and you should be getting a picture for why the album is considered so good.

The only two tracks on the album which aren't famous in their own right are 'Maybe I'm A Leo,' and 'Never Before,' but each fit perfectly on the album, full of the same sort of musicianship as the rest of the album.

Of course, the album finishes with absolute classics 'Smoke On The Water,' and 'Lazy,' two songs you can't go to a Deep Purple concert without hearing and which spend a huge amount of time on classic rock radio programming. No need for me to describe them, you've more than likely heard them already.

Overall, Machine Head is the go to album for people getting into Deep Purple, an indisputable classic album and the home of much of the band's best known works. Highly Recommended.

If you get the 25th Anniversary edition, in addition to two remixes and one of the best linear note booklets ever made, you'll find the track 'When A Blind Man Cries,' which you really ought to hear if you like Deep Purple.
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on 10 August 2004
If you're looking for the best Deep Purple album, then look no further! Machine Head is one of the greatest albums known to rock. The Mk II lineup consisting of Ian Gillan on vocals, Ritchie Blackmore on guitar, Roger Glover on bass, Jon Lord on keyboard and Ian Paice on the drums are at their finest. Considering all that the band had been through at the time - read the 28-page booklet supplied with the album - witnessing the destruction of the Casino in Montreux as it was burned to the ground by "some stupid with a flare gun" (hence came the idea for the incredible Smoke On The Water) and being unable to find a place to record their songs for weeks - their skills and determination shine through in Machine Head.
The two discs supplied with the album are essentially the same, although it is interesting to listen to both. Disc 1 consists of the 1997 remixes, Disc 2 the originals. Both discs are truly awesome.
1. Highway Star - Superb, brilliant vocals by Gillan and fantastic guitar play by Blackmore. Probably the second best track on the album. 10/10
2. Maybe I'm A Leo - Just listen to that opening riff by Ritchie! This is an excellent track full of rhythm, one of the album's strongest. 10/10
3. Pictures Of Home - An ace song. Pictures Of Home simply reeks of perfection. 10/10
4. Never Before - Amazing. Never Before is just outstanding. 10/10
5. Smoke On The Water - Who hasn't heard of Smoke On The Water? With the greatest and most famous riff ever shredded, Smoke On The Water is the best song DP have ever done, bar none. 10/10
6. Lazy - Incredible, you'll want to listen to Gillan insisting you never get out of bed again and again. A great mixture of blues and hard rock. 10/10
7. Space Truckin' - Fantastic all over, the heaviest track on the album. 9.5/10
8. When A Blind Man Cries - The slow, tender melody track of the album. Gillan's vocals are heartbreaking. 9.5/10
I'd give these scores to the tracks on both discs.
I will treasure Machine Head as long as I live. An absolutely classic album, full of the greatest guitar riffs and solos by Blackmore and intense singing by Gillan. The whole band deserves the highest of praise for their amazing performance on this album. An eternal classic!!
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DP2’s third album was recorded in Montreux, Switzerland in December 1971 and released in March 1972. ‘Machine Head’ is considered with justification to be DP2’s best album: the songs are great, the band is tight, disciplined, mature and confident of its abilities, and it rocks. The recording is historically notorious because a fan at a Frank Zappa concert on 4th December set fire to the venue to be used by DP with a flare pistol - recounted in the song ‘Smoke on the Water’.

There are no weak spots here; almost all the songs are good and many are truly great. For me the great, great R&B number ‘Lazy’ with its long instrumental intro takes top spot for sheer enjoyment and the virtuosity of the playing, especially from Blackmore and Lord. Conversely the best-known song here ‘Smoke on the Water’ is structured unimaginatively around an overextended musical riff, is clunky and for me not one of the album’s high points.

If you only listen to one of DP2’s classic albums, ‘Machine Head’ would be my recommendation. The band has a lot of energy and confidence, the music is a notch or two above all previous efforts (possibly excepting ‘Child in Time’ from DPIR) and production values are exemplary.
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on 13 June 2006
This is now the fourth version of the album I have bought. As a 13-year-old, I originally bought it on cassette and played it to death on a mono Philips 'cassettecorder' in the summer of 1972. With such lo-fi equipment, it was impossible for my uneducated ears to tell what was guitar and what was organ.

This became a source of some embarrassment when I heard the album at my next school on stereo LP -- Garrard SP25 Mark IV turntable etc -- and discovered that I had been doing air guitar solos during some of Jon Lord's bits.

Since then, I have bought both the bog-standard Machine Head CD and the 25th anniversary remasters. With the release of the SACD, it becomes absolutely clear who plays which part, and also how dependent Jon Lord and Richie Blackmore were upon each other. No wonder, during the 'Who do we think we are' arguments when Purple were deciding who was going to have to leave to restore peace to the band, that Jon Lord realised he had to hold on to Blackmore for as long as possible.

Organists played a very different musical role in the 60s and early 70s, compared to the synth players who would soon follow them. Some, such as Hugh Banton of VdGG, could substitute for a missing bass player via his pedals. Jon Lord, on the other hand, sounds like he could substitute for a guitarist who had had an intoxicant too many. The duetting between Lord and Blackmore, and indeed the passages of note-for-note copying, are brought to the fore in this mix. The drum and bass recording is nothing special, though the mix reveals some percussion (e.g. on Space Truckin') that I hadn't been aware of before.

The inlay notes seem to be the same as for the 25th Remastered version.

I would strongly recommend buying this version if you have an SACD player, while stocks last. It seems extraordinary to me that, once again, the hi-fi bit of the rock market has come to another end, just as it did with quadrophonic in 1973. SACD is the best possible sound you can get from a piece of music, but the technology just hasn't taken off -- perhaps because its battle with DVD-audio put potential buyers off committing themselves. I suppose we can't blame the record companies for trying to do SACD on the cheap by re-releasing all the quad mixes from 1971-1973 on SACD 5.1, but it could have been so very different.

Oh well, just enjoy Purple at their very best with this album.
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on 8 July 2015
1972's 'Machine Head' represents for the majority of Deep Purple's hardcore fans the group's finest hour and certainly, on the balance of the 7 strong and highly innovative tracks featured here, that claim is a hard one to disagree with. The opener 'Highway Star' is a marvellous, pacey number whilst 'Maybe I'm A Leo' lays down a snazzy, bluesy rhythm. 'Pictures Of Home' is notable thanks to some superb solos from Ritchie Blackmore and Jon Lord on guitar and keyboards respectively and is followed by one of my personal Purple favourites, the punchy 'Never Before'. The classic 'Smoke On The Water' is up next followed by the fast blues of 'Lazy' before the speedy 'Space Truckin' rounds things off very nicely indeed. If you're looking to discover the wonders of Deep Purple for the first time then I suggest that you can't go far wrong with this LP.
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on 11 January 2004
Ian Gillan singing, Ritchie Blackmore on guitar and Lord, Glover and Paice all make this one of the finest albums that has ever been made. With two cds, a 28 page booklet and cardboard sleeve, this anniversary edition not only serves as a fitting tribute to Purple's masterpiece, but loyally remasters the original album, then remixes it into a wholly new experience.
The remasters cd is simply magnificent. Sit back somewhere comfortable (because trust me you wont be going anywhere)and crank up the volume.
Highway star opens the album perfectly- it's fast-paced, noisy trailblazing rock with a wonderful guitar solo, driven all the way by paice's relentless drums. Fantastic and worthy of its place on the 'best of'.
It all gets a bit jazzy and catchy for Maybe im a Leo, with a slowing of pace and plenty of time for echanging guitar and organ solos. The riff is a classic- its simple but you could hum it for days.
The speed picks up again for Pictures of Home which, i must confess, is my least favourite of the set... but a great song nonetheless. The remix does this one more justice i found.
The album's single is up next, in the form of Never Before. From a cool drum intro, through laid back guitars, this song suddenly turns into a rock'n'roll number which is both catchy and very playable even if you arent a huge heavy metal fan. It's good fun and has a commerciality to it that justifies its release, even if smoke on the water was to outshine it in terms of fame.
And then that riff kicks in. Smoke On The Water is so famous its ridiculous- everybody knows that riff and the rest of the song is just as excellent. The guitar solo here is superb and gillan's vocals are particularly good. It is the definitive Deep Purple anthem and deservedly so- i knew this riff long before i knew what song it came from.
Lazy is quite the opposite of its title. From an extremely noisy introduction into the jazziest guitar solo on the album, through increasing degrees of rock and roll with jon lord's organ churning out smooth melody after smooth melody, this has to be my favourit on the album. Gillan's laid back vocals are perfect and his harmonica adds to an already barnstorming masterpiece. The way this song builds from so little to so much totally excuses the cliche ending- only stairway to heaven does it better but this is so much more fun.
Space Truckin has a great intro, a groovy tune, funny lyrics and a riotous drum solo in the middle. A great all-rounder of a track robbed of a place on the 'best of'.
When a blind man cries, the B-side, is as laid back, bluesy, stylish and meaningful as one could hope for. With an understated solo and sedate vocals this is easy-listening stuff, a quiet and gorgeous classic.
Then there is the quadrophonic mixes, the remixes of the whole album, and everything else. The remix disc is worth a listen- it certainly (as someone else said) breathes new life into the original tracks but the basic album is the best in my opinion and worth the price of the set on its own.
This is my favourite Deep Purple album and one of the best i own. It simply defines 70s rock in a way even led zep couldn't have done- it has all the hallmarks of a great band (riffs, solos, talented players and a great singer)and still sounds amaing today. Buy it now.
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Deep Purple Mk 2 had already made a huge impression with In Rock and Fireball by 1972 when they went off to Switzerland to record a follow up. Fortuitously for them an infamous Frank Zappa concert and the destruction of the recording studio provided the inspiration that led to one of THE most famous rock riffs of all time, Smoke On The Water. The track forms the centrepiece of this, the third in their trilogy of Rock album masterpieces that would seal their reputation and legend status.

It's a strong track and worth the price of the album in its own right, but the rest of the material is very strong and no mere filler. It's still all over the top frenetic rock, with all the usual Gillan howls, Lord organ fireworks and Blackmore guitar heroics, held together by the impeccable rhythm section of Paice and Glover. It's track after track of classic classic rock.

The 25 anniversary edition is a decent affair. It's two discs, disc one is a set of remixes of the original album, including when a blind man cries, a contemporary B side. Disc 2 contains a series of remasters of the original album and a couple of quadraphonic mixes. I'll be honest I am not enough of an audiophile to be able to tell the difference, and usually just play disc 1. The sound is pretty good and clear throughout though. There is also an extensive and informative booklet.
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on 22 August 2011
Before we get started, a quick note for those of an audiophile persuasion;

This is a review for the 1986 CD issue of Machine Head, EMI CDP 7462422. It seems to be a nice flat transfer from the original tapes, with no extraneous compression or use of noise-reduction, although it does have pre-emphasis (which will usually only make a difference to the quality of sound if you rip it to CDR without setting the flag properly during the process, so no big deal for the majority who will listen to the actual CD). It comes with a 10 page booklet full of photos, which makes a pleasant change because often with CD's of this vintage you're lucky to get more than a basic 2 page fold-over featuring only song titles and advice on how to treat your disc.

Ok, and so to my brief review of this album

Machine Head saw something of a return to form for Deep Purple after the very good - but slightly lacking - Fireball. Despite that album's inherent funkiness and drive, it featured a lot of instrumental sections which were laid-back to the point of being almost horizontal. Very uninspired. With Machine Head the band tightened up their focus as a musical unit. They got their groove back.

But is Machine Head "the" Deep Purple album it's often cited to be? That's up for debate really. It lacks the primal ferocity and barely restrained brutality of In Rock, which is the only other Deep Purple album which can legitimately battle against Machine Head for pole position as "the" classic. Yet each are very different musical beasts.

Machine Head is the more mature of the pair and most certainly has a more professional production.

One thing that really stands out for me with this album is how surprisingly low at times the guitar is in the mix - which is very easy to overlook because Jon Lord's keyboard being pumped through a distorted Marshall stack often has the presence of a guitar. It wasn't until I saw Machine Head - Classic Albums [DVD] [2008] and heard Blackmore's guitar work isolated, and then made a point of listening closely through headphones to the CD, that I began to appreciate the effective simplicity of his rhythm guitar work on this album - because on the whole it's more implied than upfront due to the mix giving the keyboards a general rhythmic prominence. His lead and riff work is though given more of an equal footing.

Don't mistake that for meaning this album doesn't rock. It does. And very nicely so. Not in the brash, outlandish and abrasive style of In Rock, but in a solid and dependable manner. From the opener of Highway Star to the closer of Space Truckin' it's a steady paced ride, the only slump in proceedings being Lazy - a mellower number which sounds somewhat out of place due to overtones of (dare I say it!) Jazz and R&B harking back to the days of Georgie Fame.

So, Machine Head get 4 stars from me. Out of all of the Gillan-era Purple albums it's the one I find myself returning to most often.
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on 29 January 2016
Well finally I've bought Department Purple's 'Machine Head' album and on vinyl !

Incredibly it's one of those albums I never got around to buying when I started collecting back in 1975.

Was it worth the wait?

Oh yes every single year. The opening track Highway Star, a driving classic kicks off the album.

The rest on the first side Maybe I'm a Leo, Pictures of home and Never before, highlight the incredible display of musicianship that existed in this version of the band.

Then we come to side 2? What can you say, it includes the three tracks included in Deep Purple's seminal live album 'Made in Japan', which I bought and in a sense stalked me from buying Machine Head.

The first track on side two is that rock collosus 'Smoke on the water', with one of the greatest guitar riffs of all time. Often copied by many wannabes I've suffered listening to in music gear shops over the years, but here Ritchie Blackmore is never better.

Lazy comes next, a showcase for the whole band, Jon Lord's incredible hammond organ work to the fore, showing you can be a keyboard hero in the best sense.

Finally Space Truckin, my favourite live track on Made in Japan. Here it's tight and fast, again Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore combining flawlessly. This deserves to be played loud along as possible, so say goodbye to the neighbours sending you a xmas card!.

What's truly remarkable is the conditions this album was recorded under, dragging equipment up through a window into disused hotel, and using one of its corridors as a studio.
This vinyl record version sounds as clean fresh as it must have been in 1971. The pressing is excellent and it's a two fold gateway sleeve, one includes the heavyweight record itself, the other the lyrics sheet plus a voucher to download the album as well.

Quite simply this album is a must if your a Deep Purple fan, and if you have a decent turntable, get this vinyl version, it's excellent.

Overall, the best album of the best and loudest Rock band in the early 1970's.

'Come on, let's go space truckin!'
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