REVIEW: Deep Purple – Made in Europe (1976)

Scan_20160114DEEP PURPLE – Made in Europe (1976 EMI)

In 1976, Deep Purple ended with a thud.

With no desire to carry on, the band split in 1976 after the ill-received addition of Tommy Bolin on lead guitar.  David Coverdale was eager to start a solo career where he could sing, and not “scream his balls off”.  Everybody else was just plain tired of it all.  Dutifully, the record company trotted out live albums and compilations, to keep the cash flowing.  Made in Europe, intended as a followup to Made in Japan, came first.  It was followed by Power House, When We Rock We Rock, Deepest Purple, Last Concert in Japan, Live in London, and many more.  The goal was not to provide fans with good quality unreleased music for them to enjoy.  The purpose was to make more money.

Made in Europe has since been superseded by better releases.  MkIII: The Final Concerts expanded and remixed this material, sourced from their last shows with Ritchie Blackmore.  He had already made the decision to quit, unbeknownst to his bandmates.  More recently, the Official Deep Purple (Overseas) Live Series released full shows of two concerts, Graz and Paris.  It is always preferable to have the full show, rather than a song here or there sloppy edited and mixed into a live album.  Don’t you agree?

With only five songs, Made in Europe was hardly representative of Purple’s set at the time, but it seems a single LP was all that EMI were willing to invest in.  Producer Martin Birch was unable to get the same heavy, crisp sound that he got on Made in Japan.  This one is heavy, but that crisp sound is muffled under a blanket.

“Burn” is an apt opener, and both David and Glenn Hughes were in fine form that night.  Blackmore, Paice and Lord always are.  Yet Deep Purple sound almost…bored?  Playing by rote?  Blackmore’s guitar is also too buried in the mix.  The first of two jams is up next: “Mistreated (Interpolating ‘Rock Me Baby’)”.  While no one questions that this is one of the greatest songs in the Deep Purple MkIII catalogue, the live jam has always dragged.  Ritchie’s playing is still a delight, but they could have trimmed two or three minutes from the song.   That’s followed by a frantic “Lady Double Dealer”, never one of Purple’s finest.  Birch applies an irritating echo to the chorus, but that’s all for the first side.

The second side is dominated by 16 minutes of “You Fool No One”, the second jam.  Jon Lord takes center stage for the organ solo intro, but if you dig cowbell, this song is for you!  Could Ian Paice be the #1 cowbell player on the planet?  “You Fool No One” testifies to that.  He is absolutely the MVP on this track (for his drumming, too)!  Finally, the full gale force of “Stormbringer” brings the proceedings to an end, easily the best track on the disc.

What, no “Smoke on the Water”?  No “Highway Star”?  It appears EMI wanted to avoid song overlap with Made in Japan, so you get MkIII material and only MkIII material!  That the drawback to a set such as this which is really only about half of a proper Deep Purple concert.

3/5 stars

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23 comments

  1. Nice review, Mike. Funny, it led me immediately to the Rainbow “On Stage” album to listen to seek out the side-long version of the Dio-sung Mistreated , which I’ve always held up as an epic moment of Blackmore glory despite the LP’s cruddy production. Couldn’t remember if you’d reviewed that one on your site, but believe not as I couldn’t find it via a quick search. (So, a request for your consideration maybe?)

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  2. More cowbell! Yeah, I agree Paice is No. 1 for cowbell. Especially the Cal Jam version of You Fool No One, the intro on that is totally EPIC. I’ve not got this one but I’ve got the Mk III Final Concerts CD. Really want to get the Live Series stuff now! They’ve been on my wishlist for ages now…

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  3. Always a shame when a band loses interest. That they could still muster a Lebrain 3/5 even if playing by rote and under lesser (somehow) production, is testimony to the strength and power of the band overall.

    An honest review, and from a big fan. Lovin’ it Dude!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Such an interesting period of the band, even if Blackmore wasn’t interested anymore. When they realized Blackmore was leaving, Coverdale closed their final show with, “We hope to see you again…in one form or another.” They knew.

      They were also suspicious when jamming, and Blackmore started playing riffs they never heard before. He’d been writing with Dio…Rainbow had already begun…

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  4. Big fan of the Mk3 (and Mk4 for that matter) era, but this is not the best showcase for that period. Never been sure whether its the uncrisp production or what you refer to as disinterested playing, or the song choices, but there are better selections out there for this period of the band. I prefer Paris, London, and Graz, myself. The bass on Burn in this one, though, has a very nice bounciness. Stocked that this period of the band was included among the inductees to the RRHOF.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the way to go is with the full concerts, and Purple have done such a nice job of issuing those for us. I’m also pleased they are going to be inducted. MkIII was an important era for Purple and so was Mk4, the albums have stood up over time.

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  5. That would be stoked, not stocked. Well deserved, specially for Coverdale, who arguably deserves to go in as well for his post DP work, though never will, so at least he gets in as a DPurpler.

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