Saturday, October 4, 2014

Green Bullfrog - S/T (1971)

There has been a huge number of side projects or other bands Deep Purple family was involved in. Trapeze with Glenn Hughes, Paice, Ashton & Lord, Jesus Christ Superstar with Ian Gillan, Roger Glover's Butterfly Ball with again Glenn Hughes and David Coverdale. But there is one project, one album that not a lot of people are familiar with and that is Green Bullfrog.

What Green Bullfrog has in common with Deep Purple? It was produced by Derek Lawrence and engineered by Martin Birch, who at the time were working with DP, but most importantly, Ian Paice and Ritchie Blackmore were involved in the project. Having those two you can already imagine what sort of stuff it is packed with. Recorded during Deep Purple In Rock sessions and released the next year, it contains some covers as well as originals, most notably Makin' Time originally by The Creation. Other musicians involved in the project were: Tony Ashton and Matthew Fisher (ex-Procol Harum) on keys, Chas Hodges (Chas and Dave) on bass, Big Jim Sullivan (the one who gave Ritchie guitar lessons, well-known session musician and ex-Tiger), Rod Alexander and Albert Lee on guitars and Earl Jordan on vocals. Despite the interview on Guitar Player magazine from September 1978, Roger Glover was not involved in the project.

The first side (My Baby Left Me, Makin' Time, Lawdy Miss Clawdy, Bullfrog) is one heavy rock guitar jam. It is pretty difficult to notice who is playing which solo since both Big Jim Sullivan and Ritchie Blackmore have similar technique, but a guess will always be close. Fantastic drumming all the way through and solid bass as well. Makin' Time is an outstanding track that's for sure and the riff is heavy 'n' groovy. Bullfrog is an extended jam of what was originally Deep Purple's 'Jam Stew' where every member has a chance to do a solo. Side two (I Want You, I'm A Free Man, Walk A Mile In My Shoes, Loving You Is Good For Me Baby) is dominated by funk/soul rock feel, so don't expect Ritchie Blackmore on this (he is always picky about funk and soul). Additional horn section and backing vocals extends the variety on this album. The last track however is a blues type with an interesting rhythm.

This album ain't easy to come across, I was lucky to find get it in my local shop. The album, originally released in 1971, was reissues in 1980 and later became available on CD. If you ever see Green Bullfrog - pick it up. The production is great for one-off project and musicianship - outstanding. Album, that will make you groove and headbang at the same time. Ritchie Blackmore claims it is awful even without hearing it, but it's just Ritchie being Ritchie.


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