Deep Purple

This Time Around: Live in Tokyo '75

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The Mark IV lineup of Deep Purple was the last before this innovative heavy metal band's initial 1976 breakup. By this time, a variety of factors were sounding the death knell. Vocalist David Coverdale, guitarist Tommy Bolin, keyboardist Jon Lord, bassist/vocalist Glenn Hughes, and drummer Ian Paice were facing business and personal pressures, and these things inevitably affected Deep Purple's music. The Mark IV Deep Purple's last concerts in Japan occurred in December 1975, and Bolin's severe drug and alcohol addiction would kill him one year later. The final Japanese show was recorded and released in that country and a few others in a severely edited form in 1977. Finally, 2001's two-CD set This Time Around: Live in Tokyo '75 captures the entire concert with remixed and remastered sound. Some good moments occur, but so do sloppy ones from an enormously talented yet obviously drained group. Musically speaking, Lord and Paice make notably valiant efforts to hold it all together. Coverdale's voice is strong in spots while dodgy in others. Hughes' bass playing is reliably solid, but the less said about his shrieking vocals the better. Bolin's gift is obvious, but his guitar work sometimes misses the mark on the Ritchie Blackmore-era material. "Burn" and "Love Child" are respectable, and the 16-minute ironically titled "Gettin' Tighter" is a loose jam demonstrating that Deep Purple could still deliver the goods -- just not consistently. The medley of "Smoke on the Water" and the Hoagy Carmichael standard "Georgia on My Mind" is awkward. "Drifter" tightens things up but the encore of "Highway Star" is ragged. The thorough liner notes include two informative essays and several rare photos. This Time Around: Live in Tokyo '75 is valuable, ultimately, as a historical document of a great band's twilight.

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