Deep Purple: Live in California ‘74

Back in the 70s, head banging rock ruled the world, and the Cal Jam in Ontario CA back in 1974 was the apotheosis of heavy metal heaven.  If you were there that day in April, your ears were treated to (and shattered by) the likes of Black Oak Arkansas, Earth, Wind and Fire, Rare Earth, The Eagles, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, Seals and Crofts (really?!?), Black Sabbath and the most stratospherically Stratocaster of them all, Deep Purple with Richie Blackmore on guitar and the vocally macho David Coverdale along with Jon Lord/key, Ian Paice/dr and Glenn Hughes/b. This disc covers the show, and it’s better here in the safety of your car or bedroom than in the smoke filled and sweaty environs of outdoor and smoggy Los Angeles.

Coverdale is in unbelievably great voice as he displays his chops on the high pitched “Burn” and “Might Just Take Your Life.” The obligatory and indulgent drum solo is provided by Paice on “The Mule” with everyone in the stoned crowd yelling “Far Out” to every smash of the ride cymbal. As for Blackmore, he’s the black dressed man of the evening,  picking out some hip blues before tearing into “Smoke On The Water” and giving the 20 minute “Space Truckin’” a run for the ozone layer. More than a time capsule, it shows how frenetic frets can actually be inspiring as opposed to just overwhelming.

Eagle Rock Records

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