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Deep Purple – Gettin’ Tighter 1968-1976
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Martin Popoff
Deep Purple – Gettin’ Tighter 1968-1976
Power Chord Press
2008
Classic Rock
Greg Schmitt
www.martinpopoff.com
N/A
Rating:
5.0 stars

Martin Popoff is quickly becoming one of my favorite music journalists. If you’re reading this, I’m sure you’re familiar with his work at Brave Words & Bloody Knuckles, or his multiple interviews in Goldmine or Guitar World, or perhaps his contributions to countless album liner notes etc. The thing that’s great about him is that he’s obviously a fan first and foremost (think a literary Eddie Trunk). This is the third book of his I read, and like the first two (UFO – 'Shoot Out The Lights' and BLACK SABBATH – 'Doom Let Loose') I just couldn’t put it down.

'Gettin’ Tighter' primarily examines the recorded history of DEEP PURPLE from its inception in 1968 through their first disbandment in 1976. Following the same format as its predecessors, you get it all laid out for you chronologically, with each album getting its own chapter. Utilizing the 30+ interviews he’s done with past and present band members as well as collaborators, contemporaries and acquaintances, Popoff is able to dissect each record track by track, giving each song its appropriate focus with quotes throughout the years by those who actually created them, as well as adding his own perceptive critical analysis. Additional insight is culled from many classic rock magazines of the era. It’s all here, every archived moment, including B-sides and key solo cuts.

Great tour stories in-between albums help carry the narrative along. I couldn’t image a more thorough band bio, with plenty of soap opera drama from the Man In Black and company. Line-up changes, musical direction tensions, in-fighting and drugs all make for a fascinating study. Yet it never feels gossipy or sordid because it’s all told straight from the mouths of the players themselves! Blackmore, Gillan, Glover, Lord, Paice, Coverdale, Hughes, Bolin – some of the most important and classic figures in hard rock - are all documented here for the ages. As the tale unfolded, I couldn’t help but pull out the old CDs, rediscovering subtle nuances to many of these iconic (and in some instances, overlooked) tracks.

One might argue “too much information” for the casual fan. But that alone is the beauty of it. For them, a magazine article might suffice. To my eyes, these books aren’t intended for those folks. Martin’s work reads as a labor of love, and is created for those die-hard fans that truly live these records. And for them alone, I can’t recommend Gettin’ Tighter highly enough. That being said, I will definitely be on the lookout for Volume 2 (1984-present) later this year. Judging by his track record, I’m sure it won’t disappoint.




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