There’re so many great bands celebrating lots of good and cool albums this year, with each passing one of them brings back the glory days of youth and wonderfully fun memories, the music for me keeps it fresh without me feeling too old. WOW that’s deep. This is probably my favorite Deep Purple album that fires up on every cylinder, they often switched up their line-ups, but the quality sounded so rich and pure on this album, with Ian Gillan, Ritchie Blackmore, Jon Lord, Roger Glover, and Ian Paice. I find this entire album captured incredible instrumental moments, terrific showcasing of each member, one could say the musical notes dance explicit well together; standouts belong to guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and keyboard virtuoso Jon Lord; and for that I’m gonna explore each track with the depth it definitely needs.
The album was recorded at the Grand Hotel in Switzerland in December 1971, though not the original intended place, but I am slightly getting ahead on myself, whoa gotta slow down, as it was released March 1972, with a stellar track showcasing the lead off, and likely the best car song, “Highway Star”, about the feeling of freedom and fun. It’s interesting how the song was born, a reporter had asked Ritchie how he goes about arrangements for a song, and he began demonstrating his technique and withing minutes the formation of riffs took shape and then Lord joined in borrowing slightly from composer Bach, finally Gillan adding powerful vocals which rival Robert Plant’s. Led Zeppelin’s influence shines through on the second track “Maybe I’m a Leo” solid riffs, like something would find on early ZZ Top albums, but that slow methodical drumming of Ian Paice with Lord working over the keyboards. While very true all the band members contribute to creating the music of every song, one thing is clear “Pictures of Home” bassist Roger Glover, wrote this track, with the sweeping vocals, and Lord adding in some distortion with is boards, but that sweet bass solo short but significant just sets the songs on fire.
A funky song called “Never Before” settles down to a simple but good rock song., it’s often overlooked by many, but Lord dances over the notes so quickly in the final minutes of it. Dazzling talent! It’s now time to note the likely the most powerful and legendary riff on all time in rock history, which builds slowly for the song “Smoke On the Water” the song is literal story retelling of how the album, was created, as it tells of how the director of the Montreux Jazz Festival helped some of the audience escape the fire; which was caused when an audience fired off a flare gun into the ceiling at the final concert by Frank Zappa and the Mothers on December 4, 1971 for the season at the Casino establishment. This location was to serve as the venue for Deep Purple to record their latest record.
Now if you seek a jamming song, then “Lazy” is what you seek, with Lord steeping into the forefront, and making his keyboard dance, just don’t get that nowadays, it lifts that psychedelic tone and seamless blends it with up-ticking bluesy arrangement lasting for over four minutes, which satisfy many musical interests. Rock, Progressive, Jazz and Blues, it’s all there for everyone delights. Lord and Blackmore have their own lead sections, serious requirement for the track, Gillan adding some sweet vocals and a classic harmonica solo, all into a seven song. This song doesn’t get enough credit or rare airplay.
“Space Truckin’” finishes out the fantastic album, and it’s a great track too, Paice nails the drumming, really keeps and solid intense pace for all enjoyment. It brings everything home for the rockin’ track, it’s rare to have the closeout song as good as the opener, but that’s exactly what occurs herein, the band gives it they got the listeners; the popularity of this song allowed itself to have extended version (over 19-minutes) found on the Made in Japan released. That final revved up at about 3:21 drives the point of the intensity and repeating the vocals on the way to a close just cleans the groove traveling so well.
Maybe I’m a Leo
Pictures of Home
Smoke On the Water
Ian Gillan – Lead Vocals
Ritchie Blackmore – Guitars
Jon Lord – Keyboards
Roger Glover – Bass
Ian Paice – Drums
‘Machine Head’ has outlasted so many others, well-ago earned the legendary status of all-time classic album, it most importantly has influenced plenty of bands across the spectrum of music genres, but primary progressive rock, hard rock, and metal. One needs to know that back 1972, a band was often limited to 40-minutes of time on an album, and guys used every second to deliver the goods nothing is wasted, no throwaway songs. A remarkable record, brilliantly done – let blast out your speakers whether at home, in your car cruising, wherever, it set you’ll sailing with a positive vibe.
Vincent’s Rating: 5.0/5.0