Deep Purple
California Jamming


3.5
great

Review

by JamieTwort USER (35 Reviews)
December 1st, 2010 | 32 replies


Release Date: 1996 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Band/promoter fallouts, on stage explosions and smashed TV cameras help make this album and the story behind it considerably more interesting than the rather dull Made in Europe.

It’s a sin that for years Made in Europe was Mk. III Deep Purple’s only official live release. While not a complete disaster, Made in Europe fell way below most people’s expectations, expectations which were extremely high following the release of Mk. II’s classic live album, Made in Japan, which is amongst the greatest live rock albums of all time. While California Jamming can hardly hold a candle to the aforementioned classic, it does offer up some of the Mk. III line-up’s finest live moments as well as an equally compelling story.

Deep Purple Mk. III:
Ritchie Blackmore - Guitar
David Coverdale - Lead Vocals
Glenn Hughes - Bass guitar, Vocals
Jon Lord - Organ, Synthesizer
Ian Paice - Drums

The event’s that preceded the infamous concert, which took place at California’s Ontario Speedway in 1974, saw the band, and in particular the ever controversial character that is lead guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, reach boiling point. Having arranged to go on at 7:30, the band were told that they were to go on an hour early so not to keep the crowd waiting due to the event running earlier than expected, of course Blackmore refused. Legend has it that the promoter threatened to cancel the band’s slot if the didn’t go on, making Blackmore even more angry and following a discussion with the rest of the band Blackmore threatened to quit the band (which one suspects was for about the fiftieth time, given the man’s extremely short fuse) before finally agreeing to go on.

Although set opener, Burn and following track, Might Just Take Your Life, found Blackmore’s guitar somewhat swamped by Jon Lord’s keyboards, as the show wears on it becames evident that the band were not hindered but spurred on by the emotions caused by the pre-show events and by third song, Mistreated, it was clear that the crowd were in for an electrifying show. Along with a fine guitar performance from Blackmore, Mistreated featured one of David Coverdale’s finest vocal performances, possibly his best to ever grace the song, making this version vastly superior to the one featured on Made in Europe.

Having only recorded one album with the band prior to the event, California Jamming saw the new members trying their hand at a couple of Mk. II Purple classics. Smoke On The Water proved that both Coverdale and Hughes were more than up for the task and following track, the extended You Fool No One, not only saw some excellent bluesy guitar playing from Blackmore but also incorporated The Mule, which gave Ian Paice a bit of freedom to solo. Album closer, Space Truckin’, saw the whole band get a chance to stretch out, clocking in at over twenty five minutes long, this was an impressive way to end the show. Not only did it give Blackmore the chance to stretch out but it also saw the guitarist lash out at one of the nearby film cameras, which he decided to smash with his guitar before exploding a 450-watt stack almost blowing himself and his band mates of the stage. Although this fitting climax was not evident in audio form, the raw emotion shown by the band certainly was, making this a thoroughly interesting listening experience for any Deep Purple fan, old or new.

While this is considerably better than Made in Europe to which it will doubtlessly always be compared to, it’s by no means faultless. Glenn Hughes’ vocal gymnastics occasionally stray towards the cringe worthy side of things and the recording seems a little too raw at times, but when the band get it right it's excellent and there’s no denying that Deep Purple’s Mk. III line-up were an exhilarating live spectacle and California Jamming offers a chance to hear some of their best live moments to be caught on tape.



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user ratings (21)
4
excellent


Comments:Add a Comment 
JamieTwort
December 1st 2010


26988 Comments


As always any comments or constructive criticism welcomed.

JamieTwort
December 1st 2010


26988 Comments


No real surprise that this hasn't got any comments.

BigHans
December 1st 2010


30959 Comments


Good job Jamie, Dont have this but Purple rules hard

JamieTwort
December 1st 2010


26988 Comments


Thanks Hans

Taoboxer9
December 2nd 2010


207 Comments


Good review. To my ears though, Made in Europe sounds tighter. Burn, from MIE is the best version of the song I've heard.

Taoboxer9
December 2nd 2010


207 Comments


Good review. To my ears though, Made in Europe sounds tighter. Burn, from MIE is the best version of the song I've heard.

Taoboxer9
December 2nd 2010


207 Comments


Good review. To my ears though, Made in Europe sounds tighter. Burn, from MIE is the best version of the song I've heard.

Jethro42
December 2nd 2010


17697 Comments


haha what a hooligan Blackmore was. Great review dude.
YEAHHHH YEAHHHH YEAHHHHH SPACE TRUCKING

JamieTwort
December 3rd 2010


26988 Comments


Thanks guys

pedro70512
May 12th 2011


4167 Comments


Good review, I pretty much agree. Not a legendary show, but worth watching. That rainbow above the band makes me laugh every time I watch this.

JamieTwort
May 12th 2011


26988 Comments


Thanks man. I don't actually own the video of this, just the CD (which is what I was reviewing here) but I've seen clips from it on Youtube and yeah it's a great show.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
December 23rd 2012


12506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I really like this album. There was one period where I used to like this more than Made in Japan. Not anymore though.



The rainbow above the band makes me think how close was Blackmore to leaving the band back then and forming his own with the remaining members of Elf. Nevertheless, he stayed and recorded Stormbringer which is an excellent album.

JamieTwort
December 23rd 2012


26988 Comments


This is closer to a 4 for me now. From Mistreated onwards this album is phenomenal.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
December 23rd 2012


12506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Agreed. As you have noted, the sound during the first two tracks is awful and it doesn't do justice. Deep Purple of the first half of the 70s might be the best live act ever.

JamieTwort
December 23rd 2012


26988 Comments


I agree. Wish I could have seen them back then.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
December 23rd 2012


12506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, that would be great. I've seen them twice during the last years and they're still good but compared to the 70s...

JamieTwort
July 8th 2013


26988 Comments


Just bumped this up to a 4. The only reason I hadn't done it sooner is because I didn't want my rating to be different to the review but screw it this just gets better with every listen.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
July 8th 2013


12506 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Right on dude. Live in London is also excellent but this is closer to my heart as it was the second Deep Purple live album I got.

JamieTwort
July 8th 2013


26988 Comments


Yeah Live in London is awesome, I have that at a 4 too I think.

rockandmetaljunkie
March 8th 2014


9556 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Bought this today for a merely 7 euros. Gonna spin it hard.



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