Tag Archives: Who Do We Think We Are?

February 17th 1973

“Got first pay 3.70 – 1.50 sub” / “Bort new stylus 70p” / “Took bak Who Do We Think We Are – got £2.50 back” / “Lent Roger Moving Waves” / “Statement from Halifax” / “City 1 Liverp 1”

Aaaaah……… my first proper pay packet, suggesting that I underestimated my anticipated income as £1.70. It actually appears to be £1.85 (£3.70 divided by 2 weeks) for 8 hours work, meaning I was on 23p (34¢) an hour.

I wonder if Mr Ward still has any jobs going? The 2008 downturn in the economy has decimated my savings and investment funds sooo much that 24¢ an hour looks like an attractive wage, and – actually – more than I’ve been earning recently.

Interesting that I did not wait to buy a new stylus before returning that faulty “Who Do We Think We Are” album again. As I recall I actually went through several replacement copies before abandoning it for a cash refund, but I could be wrong. (Do you reckon I maybe taped it first? Disgraceful, right?)

I obviously took some pride in getting my first savings statement from the Halifax Building Society. I’ll say again that had my Dad not gently persuaded me to save money when I was a kid, there is NO WAY I would be as financially savvy and secure as I feel all these years later.

Weird how habits you adopt as a spotty teenager stick with you for your entire life.

I must try and stop that other one sometime.



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February 13th 1973

“Scored 2 in 4-a-side during Gym” / “Dad got me another Who Do We…. – it jumps as well – wrote letter to record co” / “started jigsaw”

Once again my little scoring successes in Gym – a school activity which I despised for everything it stood for – seems worthy of a diary mention.

Maybe I felt it necessary to boast of whatever ‘result’ I got because I was always amongst the kids that were picked last by whomever was deemed to be ‘team captain’ regardless of the sport being played.

I wore specs, I did not have athletic physique at all and I was uncoordinated. I was probably considered whatever the 70’s equivalent of a ‘geek’ was.

Want proof?

This is me, a year later in 1974

Yes, that was my passport photo.
Yes, I look like a girl.
Yes, that is a pudding basin haircut.
Yes, Angela wanted me.
Yes, maybe she did need therapy?

If you can please all stop laughing now so we can return to the matters in hand?

I wrote to the record company, proving again that my predilection for ‘complaining’ (something which I now enjoy almost as a profession) was started very early in life.

It appears that instead of contemplating anything like a date with Angela, I started a jigsaw.

Wild Man!

(I dedicate this post – including that photo, to which she would have undoubtedly gone “awwwwwww” – to my dear old Mum, who passed away in 2005. This week would have been her 79th birthday. I loved and miss her very much)

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February 12th 1973

“Arguverge” / “Bort Who Do We Think We Are – Deep Purple – Very Good except 1st Track Woman from Tokyo jumps a lot – Gonna take it back and change it”

I know it’s not every Deep Purple fan’s idea of the band’s best album ever, but for me “Who Do We Think We Are” is head and shoulders above their other recorded output.

I’m not quite sure why this album has rigidly stuck with me over the years, proving to be something which my i-Pod trots out regularly, even in shuffle mode.

Quite frankly, an album that starts with a track as captivating and instant as “Woman from Tokyo” deserves anybody’s attention. This powerhouse track chugs along thanks entirely to another of Richie Blackmore’s trademark riffs and Ian Paice’s drumming. Ian Gillan, to be frank, sounds a little tired upfront, his vocals somewhat strained… conversely though this relative roughness actually adds something to the cut.

Track 2, “Mary Long” was a thinly-veiled dig at British TV’s moral crusader – and staunch anti-porn campaigner – Mary Whitehouse. The line “we didn’t know you’d had it in you” is STILL a joke I trot out to anyone woman tells me they’ve just become pregnant. This track is driven entirely by Paice’s drumming and is the only song I know which includes the word “titties” in the lyrics.

That sturdy drumming is back – once again – for “Super Trouper” (Not to be confused with Abba’s Super Trooper). I always associate this track with the stereo phasing that occurs throughout, whooshing from speaker to speaker (or from ear to ear in headphones). Good stuff.

Smooth Dancer” is pretty traditional Purple, reminding me a little too often of their infinitely more classic “Black Night” in its composition.

THE cut of the album, for me, is “Rat Bat Blue” (another of my ‘shower songs’ in later years). For some reason I find this song incredibly infectious, never failing to smile when I hear it, Jon Lord’s (almost) circus-style keyboards always entertaining.

Place in Line” (no link) is the most disappointing cut on the album, a traditional blues riff with a so-so feel to it.

Our Lady” wraps the album up and I always felt that it was more of a ‘whimper’ than a ‘wow’. Ian Gillan left the band following the release of this album – the band’s seventh studio effort – and I wonder if he was considering this cut to be something of a swansong? Whatever, it doesn’t work 100% for me, proving itself to be a little too maudlin and somewhat plodding in construction.

As my diary entry states, the album I bought jumped on “Woman from Tokyo”. A problem, as I recall, that occurred on all subsequent replacement copies.

I played that cut so much though – WITH the skip – that even now I expect my CD or MP3 version of it to do exactly the same thing. I actually anticipate that skip and often feel disappointed when it is not there!

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February 5th 1973

“Gra lent me Made in Japan – Deep Purple – Brilliant!” / “Have decided to buy Who Do WeThink You Are with first wages” / “Found out that I was 2nd in Phys”

Over the years, my personal fascination for live albums has diminished considerably.

However, in 1973, I determined Deep Purple’s “Made in Japan” “brilliant“. Hmmn?

The tracks on this live album, recorded in Osaka and Tokyo, are culled mainly from Purple’s “Machine Head” studio album, the whole of Side 4 dedicated to an extended – and admittedly overdone – version of “Space Truckin’

Years later I can’t say I hold any great affection for this album. I certainly haven’t owned it in any format for 30 years or more, so it’s initial brilliance faded quite fast.

In fact my teenage admiration – and it does appear to be admiration – for Deep Purple generally has really not stuck with me at all over the interim 3+ decades.

With the exception of the other album I mention here… “Who Do We Think We Are?” which a) I still play very regularly and b) I shall doubtless talk about in some depth when my diary entry shows I bought it. With my first wages no less!

2nd in Physics eh? Surely there were more than two pupils in my class?

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January 19th 1973

“Lent Tarkus – E.L.P. to Johnny M and borrowed Machine Head and Deep Purple in Live Concert off Gra” / “T-1 day to get Moving Waves (If I have got enough money mite get Focus 3 instead)”

OK, I have officially confused my 50-year-old self here

Most of this is straightforward stuff, but I am having a hard time working out exactly what “Deep Purple in Live Concert” refers to.

I’m pretty certain I am not referring to Purple’s “Live in Japan” album, as I am sure, being something of a stickler for a certain level of teenage accuracy, I would have said “Live in Japan“.

The band, years later, did release a double live album entitled “Deep Purple in Concert” – which consisted of live BBC recordings from 1970 and 1972 – but this was not issued until 1980 at the earliest.

Therefore I am left with two possibilities.

One being that I am referring to Deep Purple’s ill-fated – and somewhat scary – ‘duet’ with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra entitled “Concerto for Group & Orchestra“, an ugly notion that, and please trust me on this, has got NO more prettier with time.

The second possibility is that Gra(ham) loaned me a…. gasp!…. bootleg recording of a concert. I do remember he travelled a lot with his father overseas and usually came back with ‘pirated cassettes’ of all the new release albums whenever he went to China or Japan. Could it be that an overseas foreign music pirate was also selling bootleg tapes? Erm….well, yes!

Machine Head” is much easier to scribble a few lines about.

It remains Deep Purple’s best-selling and most successful album. No wonder really when it contains seven seamless track, including the triple whammy of heavy metal classics that are “Highway Star”, “Space Truckin” and “Smoke on the Water”

Highway Star” was first conceived on a tour bus in the presence of a reporter who had asked the band how they wrote songs. Apparently, Ritchie Blackmore grabbed a guitar and started playing a simple riff to which Ian Gillan sang some improvised nonsensical lyrics. By the time the band had reached their destination, the song had been refined, completed and… was performed live on stage that very night for the first time!

As good as the riff and the song is, the thing that always makes it for me is that extended organ solo from Jon Lord. Stunning.

Talking of extended organ solos, lets do it all again for “Space Truckin” shall we Mr Lord? A sci-fi rock & roll boogie of epic proportions – albeit with dodgy lyrics – which features what can only be described as a “hammond freakout” by Purple’s keyboard player. Here’s a live version from New York in 1973….

Truly awesome

Smoke on the Water” is, for me, the ultimate rock riff. It is the only riff I can play, and to my wife’s continuing chagrin I attempt to play it on almost ANY kind of musical instrument you can think of. I think my highlight may be programming a whole set of children’s toys to play it simultaneously in a WalMart one, otherwise boring, afternoon a couple of years ago.

As most (rock &/or roll) people know, the song tells a true story about the band going to Montreux to record an album where, amongst other scheduling delays, they witnessed the city’s casino burn to the ground. A fan at the Frank Zappa concert being held in the casino’s auditorium shot a flare gun at the ceiling, setting fire to the rattan covering and eventually the whole building. Deep Purple watched the whole thing go up from across Lake Geneva (hence “smoke on the water” – d’UH!).

The rest of the cuts on “Machine Head” are no slouches either, although I’ve never personally cared too much for “Maybe I’m a Leo” or “Never Before”. “Pictures of Home” seems to be a weird showcase for every member of the band’s solo talents whilst “Lazy” is often regarded as another Heavy Rock “classic”.

Although, maybe surprisingly, this is NOT my personal favourite Purple album (I reserve that distinction for “Who Do We Think We Are?” – of which I am sure I shall talk more about later this diary year) it is, without hesitation, the one I always have, and always will, recommend to anyone thinking of popping their toes in Deep Purple (smoke-enhanced, or otherwise) waters for the first time.

My fevered anticipation for “Moving Waves” continues, although I see I have muddied my own pitch by now considering Focus’ ambitious double album “Focus 3” as a possible alternative.

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