Sunday, January 10, 2016

Deep Purple - 1976 [1995] "King Biscuit Flower Hour"

King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents: Deep Purple in Concert is a live album taken from a Deep Purple performance originally broadcast on the King Biscuit Flower Hour, released in July 1995. It contains concert material featuring the Mark IV line-up with Tommy Bolin. The concert was recorded at the Long Beach Arena on 27 February 1976. The album contains four bonus tracks recorded at a Deep Purple concert in Springfield in January, 1976. This concert was originally intended to be used for the King Biscuit broadcast, but imperfections in the recording made the entire show unsuitable for airing and forced the second taping in Long Beach one month later.
The album was released in the U.K. under the title On the Wings of a Russian Foxbat. In 2000, a partial set consisting of ten songs was published by BMG under the name Extended Versions. The album was remastered and re-released with new cover art as Live at Long Beach 1976 on 24 February 2009 by Purple Records.
Note the CD1 track listing quotes "The Grind" as being performed; this is incorrect as it is the Bolin solo song "Homeward Strut".

This live album captures a complete show by Deep Purple Mach IV, featuring Tommy Bolin on guitar, recorded at Long Beach Arena, with two bonus tracks from a show in Springfield, MA. This lineup was not always good in concert -- Bolin, who had a drug problem, was erratic -- but they've got it together here, though David Coverdale isn't in great voice. Bolin has a different canvas of sounds and ideas than his predecessor Ritchie Blackmore, but he's a very fine player, and he does a good job fitting into Purple classics like "Smoke on the Water." There are several songs from this lineup's only studio album, Come Taste the Band, as well as one from Bolin's solo album, Teaser. Bassist Glenn Hughes' soul-influenced singing is more prominent than in the past, and Jon Lord plays clarinet and Keith Emerson-style synthesizers in addition to his trusty Hammond organ. Hughes and Bolin shine on "This Time Around," but Hughes' over-the-top "Georgia on My Mind" is just grating. All of this makes for an album unlike any other live Purple recording. [King Biscuit Flower Hour: In Concert was also released in Europe under the title Live in California 1976: On the Wings of a Russian Foxbat.] 

The King Biscuit Flower Hour in association with the DIR Network, is a one hour weekly radio broadcast of live concert performances. Deep Purple Mark IV - Tommy Bolin, David Coverdale, Glenn Hughes, Jon Lord and Ian Paice was recorded live on February 27, 1976, in Long Beach, California, for the KBFH. The live tracks are included on this two-CD set, which also includes four bonus cuts, taken from a show in Springfield, Mass., on January 26, 1976.
This is a noteworthy live collection, as it is the only authorized concert release featuring the Mark IV lineup. The recording is taken from tour dates in support of Purple's Come Taste the Band album.
The initial plan was to record the Springfield concert and air the tracks a few weeks later on the radio show. However, most of the material from the Springfield show had to be scrapped, due to a severe buzz from Bolin's guitar amp. The few songs that were salvaged from this date, are included as noted above as bonus material.
As a result of the recording problems, another Deep Purple show had to be recorded. Therefore plans were made to tape the Long Beach performance.  Fortunately there were no problems laying down the live tracks from the California show. The King Biscuit Flower Hour broadcast, featuring Deep Purple aired a few months later.
The highlights from the pair of live disc's include the searing opening action of "Burn", "Gettin' Tighter", "Love Child", the lenghty "Lazy", "This Time Around", "Stormbringer", and the rubber-burnin' "Highway Star".
At the end of Deep Purple's 1976 tour, the band called it a day. Tommy Bolin went on to pursue his solo career, but sadly Bolin passed away in December of '76. David Coverdale formed Whitesnake, along with Jon Lord and Ian Paice, while Glenn Hughes undertook a variety of projects. 

People most likely pass on this do to the inclusion of Coverdale on vox, and Tommy Bolin on guitar But I'm here to tell you this is a kicker, with every song being some hard rock brilliance. Coverdale and Hughes are both great singers, Bollin rips, and todays favorite Purple tunes are "Burn" and "Stormbringer". On top of all that, sound quality is excellent. Recorded Jan. 1976.

Crank up the volume, break out the platform shoes, and put on a black t-shirt reading either "The Ultimate" or "Wild West Clothing Company" for this fabulous 2-CD set recorded early in 1976 on Deep Purple Mark IV's tour of America! It just rips Last Concert In Japan to shreds. After a rough start in the East, the Bolin/Coverdale/Hughes/Lord/Paice lineup hit the States in early 1976 and played some decent shows; the Purple magic was back even if Blackmore was gone. Sadly, when the hit the UK in March, the problems began again and then it was all over...but on February 27, 1976 it was time for DP to rock the mutha------' house! CD 1: 1. Burn--everyone in the band is clearly glad to be off the bus tonight. Bolin's rhythm work is turned up in the mix, far different from the Japan album. His solo exhibits his fusion-y side. Coverdale and Hughes sound just okay here. 2. Lady Luck--a song about a lady who sells herself for money (own up, gentlemen, we love 'em, intones Coverdale). Very tight and punchy, great slide guitar solo. Oww! 3. Gettin' Tighter--here Glenn Hughes comes to fore in a version much longer than the album. Hughes and Bolin do some great guitar-and-bass duelling which gets funky at times, before they launch into that "You got to dance, to the rock-n-roll" riff/jam which we'll soon get to here in abundance on the June 1975 California rehearsals CDs. Perhaps funk was not what DP was about, but here it's just too fun to criticize. 4. Love Child-here Bolin gets to interact with Lord in a slower funk groove. Much better than the LCIJ version. 5. Smoke on the Water--not the highlight of the album, but a decent rocker nonetheless. Towards the end Coverdale improvises on Bad Company's Wild Fire Woman (I start to shiver an' shake, I just can't wait), and then everything quiets down so Glenn can sing an ear-piercing version of Georgia On My Mind (take that, Michael Bolton!) Again, not very Purple-like, this gospel ballad, but oh well... 6. Lazy/The Grind--perhaps Lord's solo which begins it is overly long, but he gets to do some neat sci-fi effects I've never really heard on any other '70s Purple live set. Then the rest of the band comes in, and Coverdale and Hughes trade the vocals off quickly, leading up to one of Paice's best drum solos (although I haven't mentioned little Ian til now, rest assured he plays as good if not better on this whole album than anywhere else). When the band comes in, they do some of Tommy's solo tune Homeward Strut (NOT The Grind, as the notes claim). It sounds pretty cool, especially since Lord gets to jam on it. CD 2: 1. This Time Around--I don't like it as much as the album version, but the soloing at the end is pretty intense. 2. Tommy Bolin guitar solo--Here Tommy gets to stomp on his echoplex and do a little delay/overdub work to the delight (or is it chagrin?) of the audience. The audience seems to be heckling him a bit. By the way, does anyone else here think some of his licks here sound kind of like Ace Frehley's? 3. Stormbringer--the most powerful version ever. YES, even better than live versions with Blackmore. Everyone is just slamming into this one. Then comes a breakdown where Coverdale starts improvising to the tune of Sly's "Thank You For Lettin' Me Be Mice Elf Agin." When the power chords come back in, it's as doomy as anything by Sabbath or Pantera, and Coverdale's final scream towards the end rivals the one he does in Whitesnake's "Still of the Night." 4. Highway Star/Not Fade Away--decent version, similar to the one on LCIJ. Bonus Tracks (recorded at a different show on the same tour): 1. I'm Going Down--Coverdale and Hughes display some rather racy language from here on out, so send the kids to bed. This version is just okay, not quite as good as the one on the Final Mk. III Concerts. 2. Highway Star--see above. 3. Smoke On The Water--not as good as the version on disc one, but still better than LCIJ. 4. Georgia On My Mind--Glenn once again tries to shatter glass with his Stevie Wonder meets Rob Halford vocal tones. Whew...what a live disc. Yes, Mk. IV could play some great shows when they laid off the sex and drugs and concentrated on rock and roll! 

For fans of Tommy Bolin in Deep Purple this release comes as a godsend. For fans of the the Blackmore Deep Purple this release comes as a chance to hear the man fill in what was claimed to be unfillable shoes. This concert isn't the band at it's finest nor was it going to win over hard-core Blackmore fans who saw the show. This concert is however showing Tommy Bolin in top-notch form and his playing is steller throughout the entire show. He plays the older Purple songs with the same charisma as the newer material off "Come Taste the Band",the album the band was touring behind. For the rest of the band Jon Lord and Ian Paice never let you down as they are the two mainstays in this rock n' roll machine. Glenn Hughes voice hits notes into the atmoshere and at sometimes it's almost annoying. Finally, frontman David Coverdale sounds tired and going up agains't Hughes doesn't make him sound like he's the lead vocalist anyway. But don't be discouraged by this, the band present themselves in rare jazz-funk-fusion form due in large part with the addition of Tommy Bolin. A rare opportunity to hear since no other incarnations of this band ever pulled this off. Highlights include Gettin' Tighter in all of it's jam packed funk glory. Tommy and Glenn are inseperable throughout this track, Glenn singing his heart out and Tommy playing his heart out. Smoke on the Water, just hearing someone other than Blackmore will give you shivers. Other highlights include the opener Burn, Lady Luck, Strombringer, and Highway Star. All-in-all a terrific show. The band is laid back and Tommy Bolin shines all over. A must own for Tommy Bolin fans, and other Purple finds will find out that Tommy was the man who could do the impossible...replace Mr. Blackmore.

Tracks Listing

Disc One: (62:28)
1. Burn (8:15)
2. Lady Luck (3:12)
3. Gettin' Tighter (13:41)
4. Love Child (5:49)
5. Smoke On The Water / Georgia On My Mind (8:58)
6. Lazy / The Grind (featuring Organ & Drum Solos) (22:31)

Disc Two: (58:03)
1. This Time Around (7:05)
2. Tommy Bolin (Guitar Solo) (10:31)
3. Stormbringer (10.27)
4. Highway Star / Not Fade Away (7:17)
Bonus tracks:
5. I'm Going Down (7:29)
6. Highway Star (5:35)
7. Smoke On The Water (6:44)
8. Georgia On My Mind (2:52)

Total Time: 120:31

Line-up / Musicians

- David Coverdale / vocals
- Tommy Bolin / guitars
- Glenn Hughes / bass & vocals
- Jon Lord / keyboards
- Ian Paice / drums 

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