Deep Purple

Warner Brothers, 1971

REVIEW BY: David Bowling


I jumped on the Deep Purple bandwagon fairly early, and so some time in 1971, I must have visited one of my local record stores and purchased Fireball.

But 1971 was a long time ago, and I find that I have not played this album very often over the ensuing years. I tend instead to gravitate toward In Rock, Who Do You Think We Are, and Machine Head. I always say that the albums you actually listen to define what you consider excellent and not so good. Returning to this to album, I feel that it is not a bad album by any stretch of the imagination but rather, that it just gets lost in the vast Deep Purple catalogue. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

I find Fireball to be a bit more experimental than I want from Deep Purple – worse, though, I find it repetitive in places. Jon Lord and Ritchie Blackmore just don’t mesh as well as they do on other releases. Lord seems to want to move Deep Purple in a different musical direction, while Blackmore wants to continue the guitar-based sound of In Rock.  

The better songs contained on this disc are “Strange Kind Of Woman,” featuring a nice double guitar solo by Blackmore, “The Mule,” which returns the group to its frenetic-paced rock & roll best, and “Anyone’s Daughter” which is unique (for Deep Purple) -- an acoustic story-song with some nice piano lines in support.

The title song showcases some typical Blackmore-Lord dueling on guitar and keyboards, but it is not up to the quality of its live performances. This song has remained a part of the Deep Purple concert act for decades and is much stronger in that context.

The three longest songs here are also the weakest: “No No No” contains an excellent Ian Gillian vocal, but it cannot overcome the aforementioned repetitiveness of Ritchie Blackmore’s guitar runs; “Fools” clocks in at over eight minutes, but Blackmore would have been better served to have cut out about three of those; “No One Came” is an average song at best with the group seemingly just going through the motions.

Fireball remains an average Deep Purple release; instead, I recommend downloading the three standout tracks individually rather than slogging through the whole release.

Rating: C+

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© 2008 David Bowling and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Warner Brothers, and is used for informational purposes only.