King Biscuit Flower Hour

Deep Purple

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King Biscuit Flower Hour Review

by Stephen Raiteri

This live album captures a complete show by Deep Purple Mach IV, featuring Tommy Bolin on guitar, recorded at Long Beach Arena, with two bonus tracks from a show in Springfield, MA. This lineup was not always good in concert -- Bolin, who had a drug problem, was erratic -- but they've got it together here, though David Coverdale isn't in great voice. Bolin has a different canvas of sounds and ideas than his predecessor Ritchie Blackmore, but he's a very fine player, and he does a good job fitting into Purple classics like "Smoke on the Water." There are several songs from this lineup's only studio album, Come Taste the Band, as well as one from Bolin's solo album, Teaser. Bassist Glenn Hughes' soul-influenced singing is more prominent than in the past, and Jon Lord plays clarinet and Keith Emerson-style synthesizers in addition to his trusty Hammond organ. Hughes and Bolin shine on "This Time Around," but Hughes' over-the-top "Georgia on My Mind" is just grating. All of this makes for an album unlike any other live Purple recording. [King Biscuit Flower Hour: In Concert was also released in Europe under the title Live in California 1976: On the Wings of a Russian Foxbat.]

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