Friday Full-Length: Deep Purple, Fireball

Deep Purple, Fireball (1971)

One of the biggest bummers — apart from how much Ian Gillan and Ritchie Blackmore frickin’ hate each other — in the Deep Purple documentary about the Machine Head album (discussed here) was when the ultra-pivotal classic rockers were talking about coming off the Fireball album and how it was a disappointment and blah blah blah. Screw that, I love this record. Yeah, Machine Head has “Pictures of Home” and “Space Truckin’” and the rest, and Deep Purple In Rock was balls-out perfection, but Fireball doesn’t sound like either of them. It’s weird, its cover is weird. Some of the songs come completely out of nowhere — looking at you, “Anyone’s Daughter” — but when it decides to do so, it still kicks into high-gear driving heavy rock and roll, as on the opener “Fireball.”

But that’s not all it does, either. I feel like Deep Purple In Rock, as killer as it is, basically has its straight-ahead rush going for it. Fireball‘s more diverse all around. Take “Demon’s Eye” or “Fools.” Both have these slamming badass grooves to them, starts and stops from Blackmore and of course plenty of swing in Roger Glover‘s bass and Ian Paice‘s drums with Jon Lord’s keys as a defining factor. Gillan‘s vocals don’t soar as much as elsewhere in the Deep Purple canon, but he’s got grit, he sounds human, and that they cap the record with “No One Came” — basically turning the whole idea of being a rock star on its head — only furthers the humility in the record. It’s never going to have the legacy of Machine Head and its never going to blast like In Rock, but I’ll take Fireball any day as a worthy inclusion in Deep Purple‘s least fuckwithable era.

Whatever else it is, it’s not a record that needs much selling from me. If you haven’t heard it in a while, if you’re well familiar or if you never bothered to check it out, hope you enjoy.

Tomorrow is the first day of The Eye of the Stoned Goat 4 in Worcester, Mass. That’s about an hour from me, which will make it the closest festival I’ve ever gone to. Really. I’ve never been to a fest within an hour of where I’ve lived. Even when I went to the NJ Metalfest in 2003 in Irvington to see Negative Reaction for the first of many times, it took me longer to get there. And while I’m looking forward to the commute, I’m probably looking forward to the bands more. I don’t think I’ll do live coverage, just because I want to be able to relax a little bit, but I’ll take notes and have writeups of the two days on Monday and Tuesday next week.

Also on Monday, look out for a Karma to Burn video premiere.

And Wednesday, a full-album stream and interview from The Golden Grass.

I said last Friday I was going to review Bigelf and Electric Citizen this week and I didn’t do either of them (I did get to Comet Control). With the Electric Citizen single, time was limited and I went with what I had a physical copy of, and for the Bigelf, I just wasn’t feeling it when I put it on. Very well put together album, very crisp production, very clear in its Beatles and Floyd influence, and of course having Mike Portnoy on drums is going to pull some attention automatically. I’ve dug Bigelf‘s stuff in the past as well, this one just didn’t hit me right. Maybe I’ll put it on again this week and feel differently, though it’s also my intent to review the new Swans this coming week and I expect that will take a up a goodly portion of my consciousness.

I’m also way overdue on making a new podcast. I don’t currently have a working version of the program I use for audio editing (SoundForge; I’m sorry but in all my experience Audacity is crap), but I’ll continue to try to find one and will get something going as soon as I can. Don’t know if anybody’s day really depends on that one way or the other, but I like to at least be consistent where and when I’m able.

Should you be headed to the Stoned Goat fest (Thee Facebooks event page here), I’ll be the dingus with the long hair and the beard taking pictures up front, and either way, I hope you have a great and safe weekend. Hope you dig the Deep Purple and please check out the forum and radio stream.

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4 Responses to “Friday Full-Length: Deep Purple, Fireball

  1. RalphSnart says:

    “Man, your music is really funky…”

    I was a severe Deep Purple junkie in my late teens and this was one of my favorites. Definitely one of the most eclectic. And “The Mule” has one of my favorite Blackmore solos. Definitely a summer time riding my bike around with the walkman headphones on album for me. While the other kids were bumping “Jock Jams”, I was tapping those Jon Lord keys on the handlebars. It’s somehow fitting to my impression of the band as irascible characters that they hate this album. It wasn’t even fun for them, it was just fun for me, and those who know.

  2. RalphSnart says:

    One thing though, my version (taped off my cousin’s record) had “Strange Kind Of Woman” in place of “Demon’s Eye”. Not that I hate the former, but I would have preferred the latter. Can’t change the past though…my version is tied to that place and time.

  3. deaconcrowe says:

    My CD version also has “Strange kind of woman” instead of “Demon’s Eye.” Think I’ll fix that by dl’ing the latter. Great album. Ian Paice is a beast. Totally underrated.

  4. Big Whiskey says:

    This record was my first time experiencing Deep Purple outside of “Smoke on the Water” playing on a classic rock radio station. Fireball was on an old-timey jukebox at this cool little dive bar. Burned down to the ground in the 90s tho.

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