Sunday, May 10, 2009

Deep Purple - Fireball

I always felt that, despite some super strong moments, Fireball is one of the weaker DP Mach II records (in fact, probably the weakest) so I was surprised to find out that this came after the fantastic In Rock. I always put In Rock & Machine Head together as their two classics and because of their strengths I assumed that MH came right after IR. I can only imagine that touring on the basis of In Rock didn’t give them as much time to concentrate on their writing as they might have liked.

Unfortunately, I still do not have the extended CD version of this record, but since I’m in a Purple mood, I’m going to do this one now, but don’t be surprised at another post on this record when I get the other version!

Certainly, no one can fault the opening title track. This has the speed and ferocity of the best punk rock mixed with the classic Purple sound. If this doesn’t get you movin’ then you’re dead already! Right up there with their best, with a over-driven, fuzz bass solo, noisy breaks by the rest and one of Lord’s rhythmic excursions. Even the tamborine at the end is used to great effect! Pretty damn breath-taking!

Slowing down a little for the mid-tempo “No No No”, the band manufactures a beat similar to the later “Maybe I’m a Leo”. A cool rocker, but not a stand-out. One of my all-time fave DP numbers is next, though, the rockin’ “Strange Kind of Woman”. A super strong pounding beat propels this riff-rocker with plenty of heavy guitar/keyboard interplay. Ritchie’s opening lick is superb, too. This was another high point from Made in Japan where they extended the solo and Ritchie and Gillian had a cool “duel”.

Unfortunately, “Anyone’s Daughter” is completely forgettable – nothing at all to make this one stick in your head – a non-melody, painfully silly words, a slow pace and spectacularly uninteresting playing by everyone. It’s hard to believe that this line up of the group could ever be boring but they actually manage to achieve that here.

Better is “The Mule” with some power chords from Blackmore and a cool riff that he plays with Lord, but again the lyrics and melody are surprisingly feeble. This was mainly a showcase for Paice’s drum solo live and they seemingly didn’t think that it needed to really go anywhere other than to allow Ian to do some interesting rhythm work.

“Fools” has another good forceful beat and progression, though it does meander a little, as well. Ritchie has a chance to show off his “cello” effect by playing with sustain and his volume knob which is cool but goes on a bit long. Overall solid, though. The closer, “No One Came” has a reasonably effective backing, though not up to the usual DP standards and again, Gillians lyrics and melody are almost non-existent.

I am curious to hear the out-takes from these sessions and maybe read a bit more about the story of the songs, but this is not one of the best, regardless of the 2 extremely strong numbers. Completists should own it, but definitely not a good starting point or even highly recommended.