Paice, Ashton & Lord

BBC Radio 1 Live in Concert

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Recorded in 1977, on the tails of the post-Deep Purple supergroup's Malice In Wonderland album, this extremely well-recorded broadcast catches the trio (and friends) stretching out in directions that the album itself never managed. On vinyl, after all, PAL sounded constricted, forever teetering on the brink of a no-holds-barred jam, but never quite mustering the strength to leap in. On stage, however, the improvisational instincts that Paice and Lord had built their very reputations upon were given full rein to spread and stretch.

All but two songs from the album are included, and each is effortlessly superior to its studio counterpart -- "Ghost Story" is especially effective, while the funky motions that Malice hinted at explode into view. One cannot simply marvel at what was included in the band's live set, however; one should also applaud Paice Ashton Lord for what they didn't play. At a time when other ex-Deep Purple-ers were blithely grafting great swathes of that band's repertoire into their solo shows, PAL resolutely avoided even a hint of such things. (For Ashton fans, meanwhile, there's no "Resurrection Shuffle" either.)

The result is what could (and should) have been a whole new beginning for the three mainmen of PAL, and one of the best live albums you'll find anywhere in the Deep Purple family tree.

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