Deep Purple's highest-charting album, recorded in Japan in '72-now with vastly superior sound and three songs not on the original release: Black Night; Lucille , and Speed King .
Judging by the thick chugging that Deep Purple pull off as they enter "Highway Star" on this classic 1972 set, this band was of an era that appreciated size in sound. Ritchie Blackmore
's guitar and Jon Lord
's keyboards owned the evenings on the quintet's Japanese tour, giving the band a front-end density that kept drummer Ian Paice's snap heavy and loud. On tour in support of Machine Head
, Deep Purple indulged in some great long-form jams, reaching into the 10-minute range for most of the main set and closing with the now-famed live read of "Space Truckin'." The prizes here fill the second, far shorter, CD, which consists of the encores Deep Purple played throughout the Japan tour. "Speed King" is another statement on the unflappable (and surprisingly unironic) focus that Blackmore and company had on either cars or their very rapid motion. There's a reason this is regarded by many as one of hard rock's cornerstone live recordings. It's a boiler. --Andrew Bartlett