If you went into any self respecting rock fan’s house at the end of 1973 there were certain records they would have in their collection: Led Zeppelin-4, Black Sabbath-Paranoid, The Who-Who’s Next, Pink Floyd-Dark Side Of The Moon and Deep Purple-Machine Head which is probably the least appreciated of all those classic albums but absolutely belongs right beside them. After listing these records I just realized that they are all from British bands which makes me wonder if there was something in the water over there in the early 70’s!
At this time in their career Deep Purple were a hard rock outfit with one of the best guitarists around in Ritchie Blackmore, a wonderful organ player in Jon Lord, the great pipes of vocalist Ian Gillan and the hard driving rhythm section of bassist Roger Glover and drummer Ian Pace. This album made them one of the biggest groups in the world and while in Japan on tour in support of this record they would record one of the classic live albums of the decade called Made In Japan which did nothing to slow their popularity down.
While Smoke On The Water is the song everyone knows from this record (I can’t listen to it after escaping the 70’s with my life) it is not, however, the best song on the record. Highway Star(Roger Glover remix)
is a fantastic hard rocking up tempo number with a killer riff by Blackmore and Lord and a dueling solo between guitar and the pumped up tricked out organ that doesn't sound like it belongs in any church that I know of unless it is the church of holy Rock and Roll! The much slower and melancholic b-side When A Blind Man Cries (Roger Glover remix)
has very tasty, subtle playing by Blackmore with a showcase for a bluesy vocal by Gillan with some of his best lyrics.
The 25th anniversary edition contains the original mixes plus a second cd of remixes by Roger Glover that are what he had in mind originally. He thought the originals were too sterile or dry sounding and I happen to agree with him.
Buy it here