I’m pretty sure that “Made In Japan” was my first live album. The first one I owned, I mean, I wasn’t in the band.
I didn’t know a whole lot about Deep Purple…only “Smoke On The Water” would have rung a bell, I guess, but I really liked the album. Still do.
Opening with the punding, up-tempo “Highway Star”, this is vintage Deep Purple. Richie Blackmore’s guitar and Jon Lord’s characteristic organ are vying for first chair, Purple had one of rock’s greatest vocalist in Ian Gillan, and a top-notch rhythm section in drummer Ian Paice and bassist Roger Glover.
“Made In Japan” was recorded over three nights in 1972, and the band perform selections from “Deep Purple In Rock”, “Fireball”, and their highwater mark “Machine Head”. This may only be a seven-track album, but it runs for over 76 minutes, complete with numerous solos including a grand drum solo during “The Mule”.
Blending thundering hard rock with strands of jazz, pop and classical music, Purple do a memorable 12-minute “Child In Time”, loose but effective renditions of “Strange Kind Of Woman” and “Smoke On The Water”, and a driving “Space Truckin’”.
Deep Purple, and their excessive live albums in particular, may be a bit of an acquired taste…there is just as much organ here as there is guitar, and Ian Gillan’s vocals may seem hysterical to some. But “Made In Japan” is a must-have for Purple fans, of course, and while those who are merely curious should probably start off with a good compilation or the “Machine Head” album, you really should give this one a try as well. This colourful album has a lot to answer for….it played no small part in making hard rock and heavy metal what it is.