Top Bar
Musique Machine Logo Home ButtonReviews ButtonArticles ButtonBand Specials ButtonAbout Us Button
SearchGo Down
Search for  
With search mode in section(s)
And sort the results by
show articles written by  
 Review archive:  # a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Ian Gillan Band - Return to the Source [Talking Elephant Records - 2022]

Ian Gillan is one of rock’s true vocal legends, after joining Deep Purple in 1969 he helped propel the band to mega-stardom through albums like Deep Purple in Rock, Fireball, Machine Head and the live classic Made in Japan. By the time Gillan left the band for the first time in 1973 he had recorded six albums with them that included such timeless rock anthems as "Smoke on the Water", "Fireball", "Child in Time", "Speed King" and "Highway Star", and had performed before millions of fans across the world. By 1975 he decided to form the Ian Gillan Band and by 1976 they had released their progressive jazz-rock debut album, Child in Time. 

This brings us to Return to the Source, a compilation of material derived from the four Ian Gillan Band albums released on Angel Air records; Live at the Rainbow, The Rockfield Sessions, Rarities and Live in Hiroshima. The selection is a mix of songs recorded and released by the band with a handful of Deep Purple classics thrown in for good measure (namely "Smoke on the Water", "Child in Time" and "Woman from Tokyo"). The tracks featured on this compilation are a mix of alternative cuts from the sessions recorded for the band’s original 70s studio albums that were not released at the time, live cuts from the posthumously released live albums recorded at both The Rainbow and Hiroshima. 

The album opens with the previously unused Rockfield demo of "Clear Air Turbulence", a funk-rock masterpiece with a complex time-changing arrangement that draws as much influence from the 1970s jazz/funk scene as it does rock music. The track also has a big Yes vibe, with some pretty fantastic keyboard noodling that wouldn’t sound out of place on Going for the One. "My Baby Loves Me" is up next and really hits the funk-rock groove, with a backbeat reminiscent of Sly and the Family Stone, and a gritty vocal performance from Gillan. "Scarabus" follows next, it’s a riff-heavy rock instrumental that initially eschews the funky jazzy feel, leaving that for when the music breaks down in its quieter moments. "Twin Exhausted" on the other hand is a funk-infused slice of old school high energy rock n roll in the vein of Aerosmith, whose early material springs to mind when listening to it. "Apathy" is another track from the Rockfield sessions, this one didn’t appear on the original Clear Air Turbulence album, it’s an instrumental track, that is believed to have been recorded as a backing track, but Gillan didn’t add any vocals to it. A solid bluesy number that harks back to The Doors, Roadhouse Blues but with more than a hint of Southern Rock about it, particularly in the guitar soloing that reminds me of Lynyrd Skynyrd or the Allman Brothers.  This is followed by the trio of live Deep Purple classics, "Smoke on the Water", "Child in Time" and "Woman from Tokyo", all of which have been given slightly more funky arrangements and sound really good and quite fresh. Colin Towns, of The Haunting of Julia soundtrack fame, adds a quite lovely flute intro to "Child in Time". Actually, I think this may be my favourite version of that particular song, the band sound tight and the guitar playing from Ray Fenwick is absolutely out of this world, while Gillan gets to utilise his spectacular voice to full effect. "Over the Hill" is another live recording, originally taken from the Clear Air Turbulence, this slightly rough around the-edges recording highlights the supreme levels of musicianship featured among the group members, Fenwick once again showing exactly why he has worked with so many of the biggest names in rock over the last 50 years or more, with yet another sublime solo, but it’s drummer Mark Nauseef who really steals the show here with a powerhouse performance to rival any. "Money Lender" is another rough live recording that highlights the band’s immense abilities as a live act, mixing classic Gillan-esque rock choruses with jazzy breakdowns, it works seamlessly. The final track is a live version of "Mercury High", which was originally featured on the Scarabus album, it’s another bluesy good time rocker that recalls both Deep Purple and Lynyrd Skynyrd at various times. 

Overall, this is a cracking compilation of outtakes and live material that allows us a glimpse at the unadulterated power that one of the most underrated bands of their era could command. Not only was this an illuminating experience for me as someone who largely ignored Gillan’s solo output, but it’s a cracking set of songs and even the fact that there are obvious limitations to some of the live material, it is a wonderful document of the band’s live power. I have already added their studio albums to my Apple music playlist and will be seeking out those full live sets from Hiroshima and The Rainbow. As ever Talking Elephant has created a lovely package, with great tunes, lovely artwork, and a really insightful booklet from Chris Welch. If you love Deep Purple and 70s funk rock, then this is definitely for you.

Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5Rating: 4 out of 5

Darren Charles
Latest Reviews

Ian Gillan Band - Return to the S...
Ian Gillan is one of rock’s true vocal legends, after joining Deep Purple in 1969 he helped propel the band to mega-stardom through albums like Deep Pu...
011222   Colossloth - Promethean Meat
011222   Maschinenzimmer 412 - Macht D...
011222   Orders To Kill - Orders To Ki...
011222   Jesper Nordin - Vicinities
011222   Satan’s Little Helper - Satan...
011222   The Son Of The Devil - The S...
301122   Black Candles - Black Candles...
291122   .Nightmare Symphony - Nightma...
281122   There Was A Fish In The Perco...
281122   Planet Shithead/Dosis Letalis...
Latest Articles

Hastings of Malawi - Deliriously ...
Formed in the early 1980s, after the member's sonic dabbling’s on the early Nurse With Wound records, Hastings Of Malawi took a decidedly busy and deta...
231122   Hastings of Malawi - Deliriou...
011122   Raffaele Pezzella - Pursuing ...
111022   Fouke - Bigfoot walled noise
150922   Joe Sherlock - The King of mo...
230822   Sdug Bsngal - Some Scars Run ...
020822   The Night Porter & Slowgurn p...
200622   The Worse Album In The World ...
240522   Noir On Powerhouse Films - Fr...
260422   Schloss Tegal - Back To The ...
230322   The Residents - Fifty Years ...
Go Up
(c) Musique Machine 2001 -2017. Celebrating 16 years of true independence!! Mail Us at questions=at=musiquemachine=dot=comBottom