Before they were metal, before Gillan and Glover, Deep Purple were on the edge of something deeply progressive. The album ‘Deep Purple’ was the last with the Mark 1 line-up, before Rod Evans and Nick Simper’s obvious lack of hard rock attitude would see them unemployed. With the album closer ‘April’ Jon Lord was starting in the direction that would lead to Concerto for Group and Orchestra.
Just so you and understand each other, let me be clear.
I Love Concerto for Group and Orchestra.
In fact, I think everyone should have to do a pretentious classical crossover album for their fourth or so. Labels shouldn’t be allowed to drop a band until they’ve recorded their Concerto album.
Anyway, I digress.
Lalena kind of sticks out in the catalogue of Jon Lord organ solos. it’s so mellow and bluesey. This isn’t an overdriven Marshall stack, highway start kind of sound. He uses a drawbar setting that’s somewhere around 486000000, it’s a sound along the lines of Paul Schaeffer’s solos in the Blues Brothers Band. Anytime you don’t have that first drawbar pulled fully out you’re in funkier territory.
Listen though, go on. A few times.
You’ve probably been underestimating Jon Lord, admit it. You didn’t think he was doing anything quite this tasteful.
I recently got invited to a jam session in Bury featuring the legendary Mike Walker on guitar. He really is a special player with a wealth of ideas and inspiration, it was a pleasure to play with him and I managed to come through the whole affair without having my pants pulled down (metaphorically, you know).
Anyway, I was sent a bunch of videos of it and was blown away with the sound of my Crumar Mojo on them. You plug in at gigs and just take everyone’s word for it, ‘it sounds just like the real thing’, ‘it sounds amazing’ etc.
But anyway, I think it sounds just like the real thing. And it sounds amazing.
People will have no problem pointing you to fast, aggressive, distorted, screaming organ solos but it’s rare to hear one that’s such a dramatic, melodic and indispensable part of the song as this one. It’s at 1.34 on this video clip, but you’d be a fool to skip forward to that point and the whole thing would mean less if you did. You’d miss the gentle pause of the piano chords that precede it and snap you out of the song for just long enough to be fully re-engaged when this happens.
The organist in the Full Tilt boogie Band was Ken Pearson, he went on to do quite a few albums with the McGarrigle sisters and a couple with Louden Wainwright III.
I always hoped I’d be able to put down an organ part that meant as much as this one.
At one point we were looking like we might be contenders in the field of music production. Everything we were doing sounded pretty well, work like this with Plan B was putting us on the radar of a few production management companies.
When something sounds pretty well but you haven’t yet put a face to the work, you can be forgiven for thinking there might be something there worth investing in.
Giles had taken a number of calls from London based management companies, so it was agreed and set up that him and I would travel down there and have a few meetings.
LESSON 1- Send the good looking American. Don’t send yourself with your Lancashire accent. Don’t send the guy with no teeth. They will NOT respect you.
We met at Piccadilly Station in Manchester, had a pint and then went to buy a ticket to London. Faced with a choice between the more direct Virgin line and the more meandering Midland Mainline service we opted for the latter, as they sold bottles of Bitburger. The four and a half hour journey time gave us extra time to enjoy that.
LESSON 2- You keep forgetting to learn this lesson. Don’t show up pissed at critical life moments of any description. It may seem like it went okay, but invariably it didn’t.
We were confident but inelegant by the time we arrived, swearing more than would be considered professional and sweating more than would be considered attractive or acceptable. The lady who’d been tasked with meeting us at ‘Management Company 1’ was very polite and soldiered on with the interview sportingly. She asked questions of us, genuinely interested as to how two oafs like ourselves could be capable of what we assured we were. Probably the main selling point we kept giving her over and over again was ‘We’re WELL cheap’. We also said ‘We can work for fuck all’, ‘We can make albums really cheap’, ‘Honestly, we do them for nothing’ etc etc.
LESSON 3 (Today’s most important lesson)- You will not attract a business partner who is interested in working for commission by repeatedly telling them how cheap you are, regardless of how novel and honest you think this is. You should generally avoid spreading rumours of how cheap you are within the business, it cannot serve you in anyway.
It didn’t work out but I have always since recommended the Midland Mainline Service.