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Classic Albums: Deep Purple - Made In Japan


MADE IN JAPAN - recorded over three nights in August 1972 at venues around Japan, this was the album that sent Deep Purple into the stratosphere and cemented their place in rock history.

Comprising of just seven tracks (in its original pre-CD configuration) this album is a masterwork in absolutely pure and euphoric rock and roll excess. There are a noticeable lack of overdubs and the playing is raw, loose and lacking that polished sheen which almost always spoils live records. The rough edges, occasional missed and fluffed notes, combined with a band of such indescribable talent playing at their absolute peak help transport you to a very specific time and place and it never, ever ceases to amaze.

It's unthinkable now, but Made In Japan very nearly never recorded. The band were reluctant to make a live album because they didn't believe that it was what they were about (they were wrong, of course). They recorded it solely for the Japanese market and for their label in that country at the time. The performances were taped over three nights in Osaka (15-16 August) and Tokyo (17 August) and it was produced by the band themselves for a total cost of around $3000. Expectations were initially low but the quality of the recording, however, was better than anyone had hoped for so they offered it to their US label. It went platinum in less than two weeks and has gone on to sell several million copies worldwide.

Drawing material from three landmark albums - Fireball, In Rock and Machine Head (four songs of which appear on the album) - Made In Japan was the culmination of a period of extraordinary change in the world of Deep Purple. While the band started life as a fairly straight-ahead rock outfit, by the time Mk.II stepped onstage for the first of their Japanese dates they were essentially reinventing the genre. Their songs were now ambitious progressive behemoths which came alive onstage where they lacked the constraints of running time (no song on Made In Japan is shorter than six minutes, with three of them breaking the ten minute mark) and a need to satisfy the record label. No, Made In Japan is the sound of a band who had no fear, no pressure and no desire to pander to expectations for the sake of a few record sales.

As a result, you are presented with arguably the definitive versions of all every song on the album - from the aggressively ragged opener 'Highway Star' to the spectacular extended take on 'Child In Time' - easily one of the most spine-tingling performances of any song on any record EVER. By the time you're done with the 15 minute jam outro to 'Space Truckin' you're left emotionally and audibly exhausted but with an almost overwhelming desire to flip that first record back to side one and start the whole thing over again.

Made In Japan's brilliance is that it somehow managed to bottle the pure essence of what Deep Purple really were better than any of their records before or since. Everything great about the band is right here in one electrifying 76 minute journey.

1) Highway Star Recorded in Osaka on August 16 6:50
2) Child In Time Recorded in Osaka on August 16
12:24
3) Smoke On The Water Recorded in Osaka on August 15 7:31
4) The Mule Recorded in Tokyo on August 17
9:49
5) Strange Kind Of Woman Recorded in Osaka on August 16
9:35
6) Lazy Recorded in Tokyo on August 17
10:50
7) Space Truckin' Recorded in Osaka on August 16 19:41

ENCORE ('98 Reissue Only)

1) Black Knight Recorded in Tokyo on August 17
6:17
2) Speed King Recorded in Tokyo on August 17
7:25
3) Lucille Recorded in Osaka on August 16
8:03

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