Paice Ashton Lord : 1977 – Album Review with Tour Program + CD Versions

Paice Ashton Lord : 1977 Video Review

For me, one of the finest albums to come from the Deep Purple family.

It suffered from the problem that it’s potential fans at the time were too young to ‘get it’ The video looks at the history of the album, the original vinyl release, 3 CD versions, the Tour Program and the DVD.

Video Transcription Below

On this particular little show, I’m going to be looking at Paice Ashton Lord and Malice in Wonderland. I’m going to go through the different formats that are out there, because it’s just being reissued on a new CD. I’m also going to show you inside the tour program from 1977 and talk a little bit about the DVD that also came out.

So what are my thoughts about this? This came out in 1977. I was 18 or so. As you know, I’m a bit of a Deep Purple fan, Deep Purple self-combusted in 1976, or ’75 for some people, when Tommy Bolin appeared and Blackmore jumped ship, and so everyone, with great anticipation, wanted to know what the ex-members of Deep Purple were going to do next.

The other thing to remember, of course, is that Deep Purple were unique in that every member of the band went on to have a succesful career. Now there aren’t many bands from any period in rock history where the bass player and the drummer also went off to have successful careers, or they became household names. Just think about it, from Blackmore, Gillan, Lord, Glover, Paice, Coverdale, Hughes, Bolin, Evans, Steve Morse, whoever’s ever been connected to the band went off and did something. So the fact it was the keyboard player and the drummer in this case who went off to do Malice in Wonderland, everyone wanted to know what was going to happen.

To set the scene, Ritchie Blackmore had laid his cards on the table with Ritchie Blackmore’s Rainbow in ‘1975, and basically, although he said he was leaving Deep Purple to try something completely different, he basically came back doing music that wasn’t too far removed from Deep Purple. Ian Gillan was next, he released Child in Time, using an ex- Deep Purple song to maybe make sure he got some people to go out and get it. But I remember the people that I met at the bus stop on the way to various pubs saying, “Gillan’s blown it,” because it was jazz rock, and to your average Purple fan this was too different. … So when this came out, which was a glorious 40 minutes of rhythm and blues, with girly singers and brass sections and soul and lots of keyboards, people just did not know what to think.

I remember two songs in particular. There was Ghost Story and it could have been I’m Gonna Stop Drinking were previewed on the Alan Freeman show before the album came out, and I was disappointed. Now it is one of my favorite Deep Purple offshoots that ever came into existence. During this period of 1975 to ‘1977, ‘1978, Ian Paice was on fire. His drumming was so creative and so imaginative in what he did. You know, Come Taste The Band, all that funk. He was at home on this album, and so was Jon Lord. Two keyboard players having the time of their lives. It’s also the album that introduced me to Bernie Marsden and his fantastic guitar playing.

But this is the thing, for those of you watching this video, many of us are probably past our 20s now, and in a way, this kind of music was aimed at us as we are now. When we were still teenagers in the ‘1970s, punk was just around the corner and we wanted rock and we wanted to feel the excitement of music.
We did not necessarily have the patience for hearing something new. Now with some of us in our 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s, we can appreciate this music and know that it was a classic album, but it came out at a time when its audience were very young and they weren’t as open minded.

As we’ve grown up now, we listen to all sorts of music now. There were so many bands experimenting with new sounds in the ‘1970s and ‘1980s and they didn’t get the fair hearing that they should of. Now as their fan base has got older awe think, “Do you know what? That wasn’t bad, was it?” So this is a great album.

I’m going to go through the different formats and give you some advice on what I would suggest you start with if you want to find out more about this record. So, let’s have a look.

This is the original final version of Malice in Wonderland by Paice Ashton Lord from 1977 on the Oyster label, Polydor imprint. Oyster was something that all the Purple people used when they first left the band. It’s a single sleeve, although the European version came in a gatefold sleeve.

The album features Ian Paice, Paul Martinez, Jon Lord, Tony Ashton and was recorded at Musicland Studios in Munich, as were many of the great albums from that time like Rainbow Rising. The inner sleeve comes with a bit of story from Brian Harrigan from Melody Maker, basically trying to get everyone on board that this is the band to go with and to really give it a listen. The text is saying “This is not Deep Purple.” but a refreshing change.

The inner sleeve has all the lyrics, as well, and some live shots in the studio when they were putting the album together. This is my original vinyl album from 1977.

Next up is the program, the official tour program from 1977. I didn’t actually go myself, because again, I just heard a bit of the album from a sampler and thought, “Oh, it’s not Deep Purple.” And, as I’ve said in other videos, at the time, in the mid ‘1970s, money was quite scarce, really, on an apprenticeship wages, so I just couldn’t afford it. So I just missed out. That’s my mistake.

The tour program is typical of its time. Here you can see the band posing in the woods with Bernie Marsden wearing a Starz t-shirt. Very cool at the time, because in the UK no one knew who Starz were. Then we’ve got the ad for the band’s album, and the story and the build up to how they came together. There are some more live shots and photos from their time at Musicland Studios when they were recording the album. I’m not sure whether some of this might be taken from the BBC In Concert program, as well, where they were the first band to actually broadcast in stereo and live at the same time.

You can see Tony Ashton wearing his country jacket and his flares that with punk just around the corner how kind of jaded they may have looked, but the music is certainly not jaded. Ian Paice was at the top of his game on this, he really was fantastic. They were supported by a band called Bandit, and then about the other members of Paice Ashton Lord, which shows you just what a big operation it was. They were already a big band, but there was two female vocalists and the brass section.

We now fast forward quite a way to come to the first time it appeared on CD, which is this one on Repertoire from 1995. This cost me, at the time, from HMV in Solihull, about £18. That’s how much CDs were in the mid-90s. You can see why the music business had made such a mess up of selling CDs. They were so expensive. But this was great. It had some additional tracks which were recorded live at the Birmingham Odeon, which means that there is a whole concert somewhere buried, and their live recordings are superb. This particular version, I’m going to say is my favorite. It comes with a great booklet with a gpod interview with Ian Paice in it.

It’s excellent stuff, and I don’t think some of this has been repeated anywhere else. It was done by Chris Welsh in 1995 with Ian Paice. You get all the lyrics, which is good, because you got that with the vinyl album, and obviously you can see the additional tracks there which are fairly lengthy, with Ballad of Mr. Giver, which was a track from the Ashton Lord album, nine and a half minutes long. But what is interesting about this is it says, “Remixed. Produced by Tony Ashton. Engineered by Soul to Soul, London.” Now that is a new credit and this particular mix … and whether it’s got anything to do with Soul to Soul, as in the band Soul to Soul, I don’t know, but the mix on this sounds really warm and lots of bass and drums. It sounds really good. So I always liked the mix on this reissue.

Next up was the one that was released on Purple Records, which included eight previously unissued studio tracks from the band’s long-lost second album, all on one disc. And this is from 2001 so six years later. This was Simon Robinson from the Deep Purple Fan Club put this together.

The second album, if you don’t know, has been mastered from a cassette that they found in Tony Ashton’s attic from his wife after he passed away. It gives you more background, and typical of Simon Robinson’s kind of releases, there is literally tons of stuff to read and he’s taken some photographs from the tour program as well, on this. But I didn’t feel that this was as good as the Repertoire release in 1995. So I haven’t played that version very often.

The next one that I went for was this. This is a reissue of the original live gig that they did on the BBC’s Sight and Sound concert from ‘1977, where the band were so nervous that the gig didn’t go that well and I think at one stage, one of the members, I think it was Tony Ashton, fell off the stage. But this is the reissue with the extra track, Malice in Wonderland which is reinstated and wasn’t broadcast on the night. This also has some shots from the program and from the gig.

I like this and I actually play it a fair bit. This came out in 2012.

Now I can’t state how excited I was when this DVD appeared. This is a DVD from the the Sight and Sound concert. This came out in 2007. What makes this so special is the fact it includes the documentary called Lifespan. Lifespan was a short film that was supposed to go out across cinemas to promote the band, and it is absolutely incredible. It’s not high quality video, but what it includes is actually the auditions for the band itself. It’s got some really, really cool stuff on its. You even see Jon Lord turning up in his Rolls Royce!

What really got my interest going on this is that there is a track where you see them jamming in the studio in Munich, which is a really great rock track. It’s a track that didn’t appear on the album, or on the second one, but there some great riffs. It’s fantastic to see behind the scenes in 1976, with the band coming together. So this is highly recommended.

So that brings us to the most up to date version, which is this one. This is the new CD version, which came out in 2019. I think this, aesthetically, is the best one so far. It’s a little mini gatefold sleeve. The booklet has not been skimped on at all. It’s got all the extra tracks on that you knew from before. They’ve all been tweaked, and actually the new tracks do sound better than the other version I showed you. This has a lot of photographs that I’ve not seen before. Some are from the program or from the vinyl album. But it really is well worth it.

If you haven’t got this, then I would definitely go for this. I think it’s such a well put together package, and it’s less than £10 pounds. The CD is in its own little sleeve, instead of just wedging it in the gatefold, which is what they normally do, with a couple of pictures that I hadn’t seen before and they’ve even got some pictures on the CD itself. I think it’s really well put together.

So I hope you liked looking through the different versions of Paice Ashton Lord. As I said, this is the one to get, which is the new 2019 edition. It’s got everything you need. It’s got the second unreleased album. It sounds great. Yes, there is that earlier version with the live tracks on, which I personally like, but this is the one you can get for less than £10 in the UK it’s a very well put together package.

So, Paice Ashton Lord, Malice in Wonderland, a brilliant album.

Thank you for watching, as usual, and I’ll see you again.

Thank you.

Phil

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