32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
All You Need is Love and Understanding
, 1 Sept. 2005
This review is from: Butterfly Ball (Audio CD)
The Butterfly Ball is a child of it's time. A concept album based around the themes of love, peace and understanding. The main story is that all the animals in the forest are trying to work out a way that they can all live together, culminating in them all getting it together at the Butterfly Ball and Grasshopper Feast to celebrate their cultures and diversity. It all sounds very 1974! But the music certainly doesn't sound dated like many of its concept album contemporaries of the day, and the themes are as relevant now as they have always been.
The songs were all based on the beautiful illustrations from the 'Butterfly Ball' by Alan Aldridge, first published in 1973. A film was muted, though only a promotional film for 'Love Is All' materialised. When the Butterfly Ball was performed live in 1974, Ian Gillan replaced Ronnie James Dio. The show at the Royal Albert Hall was filmed, though withdrawn swiftly as most people involved hated it (apparently it had lots of people dancing around, dressed as animals). An absolute travesty when it had one of Gillan's first live performances since leaving Deep Purple.
If you are reading this review, the chances are you are a Deep Purple/Rainbow fan? 'Butterfly Ball' is not just a 'must' for Deep Purple completists though as it is a classic album in it's own right. With a cast list that most 'Purple fans would pay a fortune to see, it boasts some excellent performances, with Ronnie James Dio turning in one of his best ever performances on 'Sitting in a Dream'. David Coverdale sings on 'Behind the Smile', Glenn Hughes on 'Get Ready' and Roger Glover plays throughout. (see what I mean about the cast list?).
The Purple connection is strong and influential on the album but it is not dominant. If you are expecting 'Smoke On the Water', 'Burn' or even 'When a Blind Man Cries' you will be disapointed, but if you are able to listen without prejudice you will hear some great performances and some fantastic songs.
The album was dismissed when it was first released, appealing to neither the Deep Purple fans, nor to the 'pop' fans who were too busy listening to Slade, The Osmonds, Gary Glitter and David Cassidy. This was a shame since the Butterfly Ball stands up as a classic album and certainly knocks the Osmonsd et.al into a cocked hat!
Roger Glover wrote most of the songs on the album, and his influences stand out. The album, but particularly 'Love Is All' screams of the Beatles, with the McCartney(esque) cornet solo (see Penny Lane). There are hints of Benjamin Britten, Dr John (Together Again), Deep Purple (Sir Maximus Mouse) and even Pink Floyd (intro to Magician Moth).
The Butterfly Ball is a charming album which contains some great songs and some tremendous performances from Dio, Glenn Hughes, David Coverdale, Roger Glover and a whole host of co-stars. It should have been a hit at the time, but come on, who could compete with classics (sic) like 'Puppy Love' and 'Ma, He's Making Eyes at Me'?
I hope you enjoy this album as much as I do. It is one album that I always come back to.
All you need is love and understanding
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