Easy On The Eye Books 2014
The breakdown of a groundbreaking “In Rock” album puts the grooves scrutiny in the swing.
No matter how often you hear about the eponymous records by BLACK SABBATH and LED ZEPPELIN; when you listen to most of the heavy records that have seen the light of day in the last four decades, there’s a clear imprint of a DEEP PURPLE LP from 1970. Despite its influence, sometimes shamefully denied, the “In Rock” story hasn’t been properly documented – until now – although the tale is rather fascinating as it reflects the formative year of the band as we know it. The first attempt to relate the background of these tapes could be found in the album’s 25th Anniversary Edition, written and driven by Simon Robinson who runs the group’s fan club and facilitates their archival releases, and when he was approached by Stephen Clare, a music expert in his own right, “Wait For The Ricochet” started to form.
True to the book’s title, its narrative bounces off various angles of the record’s face – and invariably hits the spot – for a story it might be, but not in the regular sense of the word. The album’s chronology, a year in the making, is only a part of it, and even this part is very much to the point: in focusing on “In Rock,” the tome keeps the Mark I period of PURPLE’s lifespan to its first page, and the next, most successful line-up comes into the picture almost immediately – and into play, too. The plethora of pictures on the pages brings additional, delightful angle to it all, some capturing the quintet in action, almost breathtakingly when Ritchie Blackmore is concerned, and others outlining the change in the band’s sartorial tastes while drawing a parallel to the link between Roger Glover’s trousers, sometimes shared with Ian Gillan, and the album’s opener’s title, and beyond that, because an early version of “Speed King” was the “Ricochet” in question.
These are but two of the interesting facts recounted here, yet you needn’t to read the book through from start to finish, as it has separate chapters for the recording sessions, concerts (with inroads into “The Concerto For Group And Orchestra” that was so important for the genesis of “In Rock”), gear and instruments used, every piece of them, the artwork, you name it – everything illustrated with quotes from the players’ interviews, both contemporary, found in the papers, and recent, poignant when coming from Jon Lord, in many cases conducted especially for this project. It could have been an information overload if all the aspects were woven into a straight tale, which to a certain extent explains why some of the footnotes go awry, and that’s, perhaps, the only drawback to the tome.
You can delve into it at any given page and swing back and forth, from one song or sound to another, getting into its fabric and meaning, poring over minutiae and relishing the trivia, even though some of it is aimed at musicians rather than a regular fan, but inevitably landing onto the grooves. So “Wait For The Ricochet” can indeed be seen as extended liner notes – extended greatly, which is a testament to the “In Rock” monumental stance as a cornerstone of modern music. Over to “Fireball,” then?