THE BAND: Ian Gillan (vocals), Ritchie Blackmore (guitar), Jon Lord (keyboards), Roger Glover (bass), Ian Paice (drums & percussion).
THE DISC: (1970) Originally 8 tracks long clocking in at approximately 47 minutes. This digitally remastered (UK) version released in 1995 adds 12 bonus tracks bringing the total listen to just over 78 minutes. This is the band’s 4th album. Included with the disc is a 22-page booklet containing song titles/time/credits, numerous photos (some unreleased); a brief insight to the making of and happenings during the time the album was made – by Roger Glover and (writer) Simon Robinson (with quotes from Gillan and Lord as well); and the discography of “In Rock” in various countries. Label – EMI Records.
COMMENTS: After purchasing the “Machine Head” and “Fireball” deluxe anniversary packages… I couldn’t wait to get my mitts on “Deep Purple In Rock”. Every song is a fast paced rocker here with the exception of the ten minute “Child In Time” – one of my favorite slow rockers… and one of Gillan’s many highlights vocally, as well as Lord’s wonderful slow intro and Blackmore’s guitar solo once the song picks up. For some reason, I was thinking Roger Glover cold fix the original tapes and make these songs sound like they were recorded last year. Not so. The sound is still as muddy as ever. In many places, Ian Paice’s cymbals & hi-hat are non-existent. Lord’s organ/keyboards are mixed so poorly at times it’s tough to distinguish between his high notes and Blackmore’s high notes. Disappointing to say the least – it still sounds like a.m. radio. I grew up with Deep Purple and I have 17 of the discs. “In Rock” was easily not my favorite, but it was definitely top 5 due to great songs like “Black Night”, “Speed King”, “Flight Of The Rat” and “Child In Time” (check out the live version of this song on “Made In Japan”… I’ll go out on a limb and claim it’s better than the studio version here). “Black Night” and “Speed King” made it to most of their greatest hits compilations, while “Child In Time” made it to a few. The bonus tracks are a plus. Though the sleeve will have you salivating at “12″ bonus tracks, it’s really only “6″. The other “6″ are intro’s to each song lasting on average 20-30 seconds each. Various chit-chat and Blackmore fooling around on his guitar. These 6 bonus songs sound great… slightly different, and much improved sound over the original 8 tracks. 2 of the tracks are unreleased – “Jam Stew” and “Cry Free”… both treats! Two bonus versions of “Speed King”, and an unedited remix of “Black Night” are the highlights. In my opinion, the back photo is very telling… Glover is front and center and the backbone of the band – perhaps the glue keeping the 5 members together (knowing how Blackmore and Gillan got along). For me, this is a very good album, but the poor sound quality keeps me from rating it any higher. The lone track “Child In Time” and the bonus songs make this a must-have disc.