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This is my favourite Purple “thing” of all – the making of “Machine Head” from the “Classic Albums” series. I’ve watched it many times and never tire of it. If you’ve seen it on the telly buy the DVD for the extras. And while you’re at it get the anniversary double CD version of “Machine Head”, featuring the whole album twice – one disc containing a beautiful remaster and the other an even better remix, featuring the entire recorded length of each song with discarded Blackmore solos spliced in. With DVD in one hand and the CD in the other, tell me that life is not good.
I won’t bore you with endless details from the DVD but it really does take you there, to that draughty Montreux hotel in those halcyon days when the greatest rock band of the age (sorry Zep fans) went through hell – almost literally – to record their greatest album. The ridiculous lengths the band went to to record and monitor takes are described with great humour and fondness. You’ve really gotta love these guys. It’s such an engagingly personal journey that my wife – not a Purple or even rock music fan – enjoys this DVD.
Roger Glover, the solid self-effacing bass player, has clearly emerged from the amp stacks to become the archivist of Purple’s heritage. He is the front man here, guiding the viewer through the fascinating details of the recording process. Glover is also responsible for the remix/remaster of “Machine Head”. We are all in his debt.
The “Classic Albums” series typically features extensive sessions in the studio with the producer soloing various tracks to highlight bits and pieces. Well, just imagine the great “Machine Head” being examined in this way by Glover and engineer Martin Birch. It’s glorious, intimate, surprising, uplifting … just bloody marvelous! You’re truly there at the creation!
The most pleasant surprise is the inclusion of Blackmore in the interviews. He’s very upfront and revealing about the recording and even speaks fondly about his former band mates. A gem is his demonstration on acoustic guitar of the classic “Smoke on the Water” lick. It’s founded on a double stop, he reminds billions of wannabe guitar gods, not a single note. Just to remind you who wrote the lick he adds a sweet trill at the end. Eat that!
’Nuff said. It’s easy to find the Classic Albums series discounted. So just go buy it. It’s cheap at twice the price.