Always Teasin’ (Darker Than Blue 050/051)
Kyuden Kinen Taiikukan, Fukuoka, Japan – December 12th, 1975
Disc 1: Introduction, Burn, Lady Luck, Love Child, Gettin’ Tighter, Smoke On The Water, Georgia On My Mind, I Need Love, Soldier Of Fortune, Jon Lord solo, Lazy, drum solo
Disc 2: This Time Around, Owed To “G”, Tommy Bolin solo, Drifter, You Keep On Movin’, Stormbringer, Highway Star
Releases from the Tommy Bolin era of Deep Purple have been scarce. Darker Than Blue’s Always Teasin’ is a brand new tape source and among the earliest documents for the brief time mark IV line up played together. The December 12th, 1975 gig in Fukuoka is the fourteenth show with the new guitarist and, although the label claims this has excellent sound, is really a rough listening experience. The taper sits a significant distance from the stage and produces a recording that is merely fair to good; very compressed with a narrow range of frequencies. Even worse, there is a strange “whooshing” sound present over the first third of the performance that isn’t due to excessive mastering on the part of the label, but sounds like tape deterioration.
There are several cuts between songs but the only ones resulting in the loss of music occur in the segue between “I Need Love” and “Soldier Of Fortune,” which itself has two small cuts at twelve and thirty-six seconds. A cut between “Lazy” and the drum solo loses the transition between the two and there is a small cut at 5:07 in “You Keep On Movin’.” Other boots from this tour include Drifter (DP1200), an audience recording of the December 11th, 1975 Osaka show, and several releases of the December 15th Tokyo show beginning on vinyl with an audience recoding on Get It While It Tastes (Marc DP76045) and a soundboard fragment on Manifest (DP1200). More Tastes! (SC-9447-18/19) is a CD release of the audience recording. All these compliment the officially released Last Concert In Japan on LP and This Time Around: Live in Tokyo.
Deep Purple’s only album with Bolin Come Taste The Band was released in October 1975. The world tour began on November 11th, 1975 in Honolulu and took in dates in Australia, New Zealand, and Indonesia before four dates in Japan. It was in Jakarta where Bolin pinched a nerve in his left arm inhibiting his ability to play. Some speculate this happened due to heroin addiction, but the result is what some feel to be lackluster performances in Japan especially in evidence on the official release. This tape reveals that he is playing okay, but is definitely at his very best. It also sounds as if the band had not really jelled either. The show begins with the band tuning on stage for about a minute before kicking into the high energy opener “Burn.” David Coverdale screams and shouts at the song’s conclusion and says, “We’re gonna do some songs from the new album Come Taste The Band” and ticks off the name of all the previous albums.
They then play three consecutive songs from the new album. “Love Child” is a song that features “Jon Lord on the synthesizer” and it does sound interesting hearing Lord play synth instead of his Hammond in the middle. “Gettin’ Tighter” is a “rock and roll song” written by Bolin and Glenn Hughes and is sung by the bassist. His voice is much cleaner than Coverdale’s and it has always been a question why Deep Purple recruited two lead singers for the band after Mark II? This is a twelve-minute long epic with strong funk interludes in the long improvisation. Coverdale gives the normal story about “Smoke On The Water” before they play it. Both he and Hughes sing the first verse before the song runs into Hughes singing “Georgia On My Mind.”
Afterwards the band begin the solo exhibition showcase part of the act. “A couple of songs…there’s one song off the new album, a song called ‘I Need Love’ and a song off Machine Head called ‘Lazy.’ ‘Lazy’ features the wonderful talents of Mr. Jon Lord and the inevitable talents of Ian Paice. Oh, they’re worth every penny!” “I Need Love” segues into “Soldier Of Fortune” which must have been a surprise to the audience since Coverdale didn’t mention it before. Lord plays a five minute long solo which includes J.S. Bach’s Toccata And Fugue in D minor and Beethoven’s Für Elise before the band slip into “Lazy” and Paice’s seven minute long drum solo that is very inventive and doesn’t outstay its welcome. Hughes about the next piece as “two songs from Come Taste The Band…This one features Mr. Roy Franks.
The first one is very sweet and the second one is very hard.” The hard instrumental leads into Bolin’s six-minute guitar solo where he gives a clinic to the audience. He makes noises from a theremin; firing laser beams throughout the auditorium and produces interesting sounds and haunting melodies from his instrument. Before “You Keep On Movin'” Coverdale says, “We’re gonna play a song for ya…a song for you written by Glen Hughes and me self. We wrote it two years ago but decided to lay it down because Tommy Bolin is a nice cunt” as Lord plays “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” It is obvious to state that Deep Purple fans will get a lot out this, but the general collector will be turned off by the poor fidelity. Always Teasin’ is a good release by the Deep Purple devoted label Darker Than Blue.If you liked this review, buy me a cup of joe. (Suggested: $3 a shot or $7.5 for a double)