Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Deep Purple - Fireball (1971)


  

Released July 1971

Despite some critics, particularly at the time, condemning this album for not being as full on rock as "In Rock" (probably because of the incongruous presence of "Anyone's Daughter"), there is still bucketloads of classic Deep Purple rock on here.

TRACK LISTING

1. Fireball
2. No No No
3. Demon's Eye
4. Anyone's Daughter
5. The Mule
6. Fools
7. No-One Came
8. Strange Kind Of Woman
9. I'm Alone

The opener, the title track, is crammed full of wailing vocals from Ian Gillan, crashing guitar riffs and Jon Lords's trademark madcap, swirling neo-classical organ all over the place. "No No No" is more head-down chugging riffy rock, as indeed is the bluesy, industrial power of "Demon's Eye". Classic heavy rock, however you want to look at it. Turn it up and tell yourself it doesn't rock. Thought so, can't do it. It has a killer organ solo in it too, as is pretty much par for the course.

Then, of course, there is the notorious "Anyone's Daughter", which had fans all of a tizzy when they heard it on the radio, horrified that the Purple had gone all "Led Zeppelin III" with this stompy piece of uncomfortable-sounding folk-influenced semi-rock. Its lyrics lampoon the innuendo-laden fare that the band usually serve up, and it contains not a little tongue in cheek humour. Yes, it doesn't really sit easily with the rest of the album, but it is not that bad, really.

"The Mule" is a fantastic vehicle for each member's finest playing. Ian Paice's drums are excellent on here. While being a powerful drummer, in my view he has more subtlety, on occasions than John Bonham, with whom he was invariably compared. As a teenager in the early/mid seventies, I hated this stuff, preferring my glam rock, Bowie, Roxy Music and Mott the Hoople. In later years, however, I have got into it somewhat, acknowledging that these guys could play, for sure. A fugue-like, churchy organ introduces the eight-minute "Fools" where Purple leave their bluesier roots behind for a while and go a bit "progressive". The track is indulgent, to an extent, but it contains some serious rock power. Just check out the bit a couple of minutes in when the guitar and drums kick in properly for the first time. Yes, it goes a bit "proggy" in the middle, but what the hell, I still like it.

"No-One Came" is just sheer Purple power, six minutes of muscular, thumping heavy bluesy rock. There is more superb organ and huge riffage in this track. Deep Purple. They are what they are, nobody did this sort of thing as well as they did. This was actually a really good album, in my view anyway. In many ways, I find it more polished than "In Rock" and it definitely has a better sound quality. The well-known non-album single, the catchy "Strange Kind Of Woman" is included on the
latest remaster, as is the excellent, frenetic 'b' side, "I'm Alone".

B+

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