earMusic keeps pumping out great live Deep Purple recordings from the vaults, and here we have the latest, Live in Long Beach 1971. Recorded on July 30, 1971 at the Long Beach Arena in Long Beach, California and broadcasted on radio (KUSE 91.5 FM), this was the bands US tour for Fireball, as they trekked across the country with Rod Stewart & The Faces, who were just starting to explode here in the States. Comprised of only four extended songs, the set included steamrolling versions of two songs from the previous years In Rock, "Speed King" and "Child in Time". The former, at 11-minutes long, contains plenty of fiery interplay between Ritchie Blackmore & Jon Lord, with Ian Gillan screaming up a storm amid all the fireworks. The more atmospheric "Child in Time" clocks in at a whopping 20-minutes, as Roger Glover & Ian Paice gently drive the rhythms, allowing for extended solos from Lord & Blackmore, both of whom just amaze with their musical prowess, and of course those commanding, maniacal vocal wailings from Gillan. Fireball is represented by a lengthy version of "Strange King of Woman", filled with those bluesy duels between Blackmore & Gillan, and this version truly rocks hard. The showstopper of course is a 27-minute rendition of "Mandrake Root" from the first Deep Purple album Shades of Deep Purple from 1968, a song that was a staple of their live set but soon to be dropped in favor of more current material. Though Gillan claims his presence early on, he quickly disappears (probably to the dressing room for a couple of pints!) allowing for a plethora of wild instrumental jaunts from the rest of the band. The great thing about the Mark II version of Deep Purple is that they performed these extended jams each and every night, but always played them differently, so if you've heard "Mandrake Root" before in the various live versions available, you haven't heard it like this. Blackmore especially goes nuts, soloing to the heavens, wrangling his whammy bar on his Fender Stratocaster until it can do no more.
As there are no doubt plenty more of these stellar live recordings tucked away, let's hope earMusic keeps putting out official versions of them via this series. The sound quality on this one is quite good, and it comes with a nice little booklet with info on the concert and photos.
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
1. Speed King (Live in Long Beach 1971) 11:04
2. Strange Kind of Woman (Live In Long Beach 1971) 11:11
3. Child in Time (Live In Long Beach 1971) 20:24
4. Mandrake Root (Live in Long Beach 1971) 27:17