German Explosion (The Godfatherecords G.R.556/557)
Stadthalle Offenbach West Germany April 10, 1971
Disc 1 (55:20) Stage Announcements, Intro-Jodler, Speed King, Strange Kind Of Woman, Child In Time, Paint It Black, Into The Fire
Disc 2 (72:55) Mandrake Root, Black Night, Lucille, Wring That Neck
The tape used for German Explosion has been previouslyly released as Live In Germany Darker Than Blue 068/069/070 together with the Than Blue 068/069/070, a three disc set that also contains the Offenbach, Germany 27th November 1970 show. The recording is a very good audience recording, the drums are pretty much buried but the other instruments are pretty well defined.
There is a small amount of hiss present as one would expect from an audience recording of this age, to this reviewers ears does not distract. The performance itself is excellent, Deep Purple at this stage were a power house of a live band. Their stage act was largely build upon improvisation and the interaction between the three core members of Blackmore, Lord, and Piace is what drives it.
The recording starts with some brief stunning and a announcement from Gillan about a stolen guitar and the band starts the Jodler music and Ian does his thing. A curiosity that the band has been doing during this period as a way for the band to warmly greet their audience and gives a chance for Blackmore to play music he obviously has an interest in, one that will come to fruition after his time in Purple was done in the mid 90’s.
The band gets down to business with the opening of Speed King, a song loosely adapted from their cover version of Lucille. The playing is aggressive and goes for the jugular with Blackmore out in front. The next song is Strange Kind Of Woman, recently released as a single and originally entitled prostitute it has already earned a place early in the set and features the trading of licks from Blackmore and Gillan.
The center piece of the show is obviously Child In Time, not only for its heavily dramatic feel but is easily lent to improvisation and this version is the example. clocking in at about 19 minutes the band lets loose, the solo parts after the main themes after vehicles for Blackmore and Lord to trade licks and musical themes back and forth while the rhythm section plays a version of almost jazz rock that builds the foundation. Great stuff indeed ! Ian Piace can finally be heard during his drum solo musically based around an instrumental version of the Rolling Stones song Paint It Black.
The recording starts to pick up his solo better after the recording device adjusts and the full barrage of his drumming can be enjoyed. A great version of Into The Fire follows and closes disc one, similar to the recorded version and equally intense it is one of the few songs with no extended improvisation. The second disc starts with Ian talking about girls who don’t wear knickers or anything else and the band launches into Mandrake Root.
Other than the main theme the song has little in common with the track recorded on the bands first record. This one is all about the improvisation and interplay between Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore. As Lord takes the first section Blackmore and the others follow with a finger picking style rhythm at a fast tempo. Blackmore start his section slow and somber and brings the band to an almost complete stop and them picking up the pace and ending with a flurry of notes and feedback.
The sound does slightly deteriorate half way through and does not recover but is still listenable. The one two punch of Black night and Lucille end the show and afterwards the band thanks the crowd and leaves the stage to huge applause. A great version of Wring That Neck follows, the sound of the recording is different than the rest of the show, this sounds closer to the stage and is much more clear and as a fuller range of sound.
It is also on the Darker Than Blue release also and non the less is a good listen. After reading the excellent review of the Live In Germany title by wgpsec I can conclude that there nothing new gained from this release and if you already have that title there is no reason to invest in this one. If you do not own a version of this show this is an excellent way to pick up a version of a superb show.
The packaging is what we come to expect from Godfather, tri fold sleeve adorned with pictures from the era and good liner notes (although I had to question them when it is stated that the sound of this recording is comparably to the Aachen 1970 show, that is certainly not the case). Hopefully we can expect more Deep Purple from the folks at Godfathers, they continue to put out interesting and great releases.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)