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Ghost Canyon

Title - 'Live in Graz 1975' (Eagle Records)
Artist - Deep Purple

On April 3rd, 1975 the Mk III line-up of Deep Purple - guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, front man David Coverdale, bassist/vocalist Glenn Hughes, keyboard player Jon Lord and drummer Ian Paice - performed at the Liebenauer ice rink, located on the outskirts of a mountain-cradled Graz, Austria's second largest city after Vienna.

Just released this month on Eagle Records, for the first time ever in its entirety, Graz 1975 marks a captured-in-time moment in rock history. For, not only did it bring together en masse of rock legends on the one stage at that time, but Deep Purple would go on to play only two more shows - in Saarbrucken, Germany and Paris, France - before Blackmore left to form his new band, Rainbow.

Sure the remaining band members would quickly regroup with American guitarist Tommy Bolin in his stead, but Deep Purple (at that time) without Blackmore was like an army losing its General - in battle! Luckily for us rock music historians, in order to preserve Blackmore's final run of Mk III concerts for posterity, Purple's managers had brought THE ROLLING STONES mobile recording studio over to mainland Europe.

And so what we get, straight from the off with Coverdale announcing that, "We're gonna give you some rock 'n' roll") is 'Burn.' Intro'd with some stunning, quietly simplistic Blackmore guitar work, it suddenly breaks free into the promised rock. With Coverdale's vocals raw, youthful, and Lord's Hammond Organ playing as precise, as powerful as it ever was, this is a recording that 100% totally, completely represents why this Deep Purple Mk III line-up was just so damn brilliant. Indeed, I would hasten to add that this is probably the best Mk III live recording ever! Sure the sound itself isn't that great, genuinely lacking in clarity and overly compressed, but what has been captured is musical lightning in a bottle!

"God Bless ya," Coverdale thanx the audience. "We've got a song for you now, a rock 'n' roll song. It's the title of our last album," and with that it's time for a blistering 'Stormbringer' to come forth. "We're gonna do some songs from three or four albums that you know," promises Hughes, "but before that we're gonna play some more songs off of Stormbringer." So, next we get the Blackmore and Paice driven, 'Gypsy,' which in turn is backed by the Blackmore and Coverdale written, 'Lady Double Dealer.'

After thanking the crowd a few more times, Hughes then introduces another track off of the Burn album, a song about "everyday life", 'Mistreated.' After some funky guitar plucking from Blackmore the song bursts into mid-tempo life, allowing for Coverdale and Blackmore to trade of vocals and licks throughout. "I thought that was alright," Coverdale admits. "Right, we've got a song for ya. A song that was recorded in Switzerland. This is a song off of Made In Japan. It's a song that Ritchie will introduce for ya. Alriiiiihgt," he screams, before Blackmore gently eases into the first of only two recordings that were actually both recorded with Mk II members, Ian Gillan and Roger Glover, their monster worldwide hit, 'Smoke On The Water.'

"Thank you very much, God Bless ya," screams Coverdale, before introducing the entire band for the next track, the astonishingly extended, Lord-driven, 'You Fool No One.' "We're gonna do a song that's been with us for quite a while," Hughes says, as teh final song on the album comes to the fore. "I wanna see you all doin' something. I don't give a shit what it is, just do something," he asks them, before this incredible live recording is ended with the second of the Mk II songs, the iconic, 'Space Truckin'.