Made In Japan
Released: April 1973
Chart Peak: #6
Weeks Charted: 52
Certified Platinum: 10/13/86
Deep Purple have had a rough time gaining and retaining the status of being Kings of the Heavy Metal Set, and with the release of their last album, Who Do We Think We Are?, many critics rejected the fawnish fivesome for (1) trying to step out of their league with electronic-cum-Yes gizmos and melodic lines or (2) staying within the confines of their initial blockbuster, Deep Purple In Rock. If you're expecting something new in terms of either approach or material from Made In Japan, you will be severely dissapointed, but if you're a diehard fan of the group and not too interested in any great diversivication from their old style, Made In Japan is an assured treat. For Made In Japan is Purple's definitive metal monster, a spark-filled execution of the typical Purple style.
Unlike Five Live Yardbirds or Humble Pie - Rocking the Fillmore, Deep Purple deems it unnecessary to play any new material on their live albums. The live versions of all the songs are played at a much quicker pace than they were in the studio. So when "Strange Kind of Woman" or "Lazy" comes over the radio, the average listener will be able to jump up and say, "How come they're playing those Deep Purple records so fast?" only to be astounded when the Osaka audience's applause appears at the end of the song. This album was originally intended to be released only in the United Kingdom, but when hundreds of thousands of copies of the import started selling in America at ten bucks a shot, Warners decided to get on the case and released it just a few months after Purple's last LP.
As far as the artistic side of Made In Japan, Deep Purple have always been ace performers, rarely using any gimmicks other than their own volatile stage personalities. While Purple refuses to take themselves too seriously, all of the solos on Made In Japan are technically superior to most instrumental melodramatics one hears from supposedly more serious bands. Deep Purple is a tried-and-true Seventies group that has proven itself time and again, a favorite of many a serious musician (for instance, the Strawbs' Dave Cousins). While we still have to wait for their next release to know if they are going to continue at even keel, the fact is Made In Japan is here, and it's everyting it should be and more, and Deep Purple can still cut the mustard in concert -- so be it.
- Jon Tiven, Rolling Stone, 5-24-73.
I recently had the honor of getting slightly fizzled with Marshal Sehorn, a remarkable man, in many ways responsible for the legendary New Orleans Sound (he is Allen Toussaint's partner). He predicted that Tokyo will be to the Seventies what London was to the Sixties. He gave some good reasons: the Japanese are Americanized; they have the strongest economy in the world; they have absorbed American music styles and have not only produced facsimiles but added something of their own, as the English did to American rock when they reworked it and hurled it back at us in 1963.
At any rate, the audience is certainly there, as this Deep Purple album testifies. They are not only enthusiastic, they clap on the beat -- even clap on the beat in double-time, which the sainted children of the Fillmore were never able to do. Unfortunately, the audience is the best part of the record. Deep Purple -- whom I don't dislike -- is playing a live gig that's simply a floor show. Groups often ham it up on stage, especially to an enthusiastic audience, shucking and jiving as they would not (or would not be allowed to) do in the studio. This is understandable in the heat of the moment: musicians on stage before x thousands of whooping fans who are presold on them are likely to be flashy and not finicky about what and how they play.
What comes out here are hackneyed guitar solos (remember that what seems an astonishing passage on an electric guitar, with its feather-tight string action and its beefy amplifiers, would sound freezingly pedantic on an acoustic: electronically abetted technique can't, and shouldn't, replace conception and feeling) plus clumpety-thumpety drum solos played for the benefit of the second balcony. The organ work (even without electric muscle) is balderdash disguised as majestic pedal-pumping. The vocals are standard screamer stuff.
Deep Purple is capable of better things and has done them before. Face it, the dump-truck load of live albums is being released by top groups lately, no matter what the record companies and musicians my claim, is a stopgap for the lack of studio albums delivered on schedule. I do not argue that studio albums are intrinsically better than live ones, but there is no artistic reason to release a live album unless the artist has done something that cannot be captured otherwise. T'ain't so here.
- Joel Vance, Stereo Review, 9/73.
One of the world's premier rock groups offers up a double set consisting of live recordings done during their tour of Japan last summer. The set consists primarily of elongated versions of familiar tunes, which serves to give the listener an idea of how the band members handle themselves in concert. Highlights include Jon Lord's keyboard work, vocals of Ian Gillan, and Ritchie Blackmore's biting guitar. Many bands lack something in concert, but this set only accentuates the group's already strong reputation. Best cuts: "Highway Star," "Smoke On The Water," "Space Truckin'."
- Billboard, 1973.
Not only could they kick ass in the studio, they could stir up a hornet's nest on stage too. This double-album (one CD) set recorded in Japan includes most of their best material ("Highway Star," "Smoke on the Water") and pushes the metal envelope even further. Ritchie Blackmore is in peak form throughout. * * * *
- Tom Graves, The All-Music Guide to Rock, 1995.
"Smoke on the Water," "Space Truckin'" and "Highway Star" are highlights of Made in Japan, a molten live album that also features Ian Gillan's piercing, tortured screams on "Child in Time." * * * *
- Gary Graff, Musichound Rock: The Essential Album Guide, 1996.
As the United States pummeled North Vietnam to the Paris negotiating table, Deep Purple unleashed an aural cannonade in the shape of their live double album. Having toured America during the summer, they visited Japan, where the local label pressed for a live set to satiate a fanbase that sang along to every word over three August nights in Osaka and Tokyo.
Purple insisted that engineer Martin Birch oversee the recording. Ian Gillan, who had been suffering with a throat ailment, was "ashamed" of his vocals, but his assessment was harsher than his tones. The set was issued without overdubs and demonstrates the raw majesty of Deep Purple at the peak of their powers.
It appeared in the UK partly to stem the bootleg market. Imports sold so well in the United States, it was issued in spring 1973 and hit No. 6, making it their highest-charting album Stateside. By then, Made In Japan was confirmed as a classic.
Each track is a massive, melodramatic vesion of its studio counterpart. "Highway Star" opens with furious keys, guitar, and percussion melding into a sonic storm topped by Ian Gillan's primal screams. His poignant vocal on "Child In Time" provides respite before the swagger of "Smoke On The Water" and "Strange Kind Of Woman." Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore and keyboardist Jon Lord space out on "Lazy" solos, while "The Mule" is a showcase for the virtuosity of Ian Paice.
The behemoth "Space Truckin'" -- 20 minutes of stratospheric mayhem -- rounds out what Rolling Stone dubbed "an assured treat...Purple's definitive monster." Hear hear!
- Tim Jones, 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die, 2005.
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