Remembering Jon Lord With A Look At Classic Deep Purple Live Sets

by Kevin Wierzbicki

Eagle Records released four 2-CD sets of live Deep Purple material, all recorded in the '70s and all featuring the group's late keyboard player and founding member, Jon Lord. Most of this music has previously been available only as an import, a bootleg or on long deleted vinyl.

Scandinavian Nights --- Live in Stockholm 1970
Line-up: Ritchie Blackmore, David Glover, Ian Gillan, Jon Lord, Ian Paice.

At the time that this recording was made Deep Purple had achieved a hit in the U.S. with "Hush" but they were still a couple years away from breaking big with Machine Head and "Smoke on the Water." Still the band was extremely popular in Europe and it was Swedish radio that committed to tape the three shows in Stockholm that this material is culled from. A take on the instrumental cut "Wring That Neck" from The Book of Taliesyn begins the show and while the song shows off Blackmore's bluesy chicken pickin' the spotlight really belongs to Lord who ladles on the classic rock keyboard at the beginning and then a gothic, Keith Emerson-like solo mid-song. Filling out CD 1 are "Speed King," a sludgy, slowed-down version of "Into the Fire" and a cover of the Rolling Stones' "Paint it Black" done as an instrumental that evolves into an Ian Paice drum solo. Disc 2 contains three long jams; the Hendrix-echoing "Mandrake Root," the vaguely Asian-sounding "Child in Time" and the blues rock of "Black Night."

Deep Purple in Concert
Line-up: (Same as Scandinavian Nights)

Disc 1 features a four-song set that reprises selections from Scandinavian Nights that were recorded just a month later but the takes on "Speed King," "Child in Time," "Wring That Neck" and "Mandrake Root" presented here are considerably tighter, perhaps due to the fact that they were recorded by the BBC for a John Peel broadcast. Disc 2 picks up two years later with another BBC show, this time for the program Sounds of the Seventies and featuring familiar songs from the band's canon: "Highway Star," "Lazy," "Smoke on the Water" and a 21-minute version of "Space Truckin'."

Live in London
Line-up: Ritchie Blackmore, David Coverdale, Jon Lord, Ian Paice, Glenn Hughes

Singer Ian Gillan and bassist Roger Glover left the band about a year before this 1974 show was taped and are here replaced by David Coverdale and Glenn Hughes respectively. Deep Purple had enough of a catalog at this point that they could have put on a show featuring non-stop hits but they were on a tour to promote their latest release Burn and instead perform six songs from that album along with the by now obligatory "Smoke on the Water" and the very long jam on "Space Truckin'." This package represents the first-ever presentation of Live in London on CD.

MKIII The Final Concerts
Line-up: (Same as Live in London)

While Purple completists will want to add all four of these sets to their collection the casual fan will likely appreciate this one the most. Significantly, this material comes from the last shows that Ritchie Blackmore played with the so-called MKIII version of Deep Purple and includes selections mostly from Burn, Stormbringer and Machine Head. Included are two different versions of "Mistreated" and "You Fool No One" and previously unreleased versions of "Stormbringer," "Going Down" and "Gypsy."

Remembering Jon Lord With Look At Classic Deep Purple Live Sets

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