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Ian Gillan: Access All Areas

Sweet child temporarily out of time.

Recorded in 1990 during Gillan’s second spell out of Deep Purple, this CD/DVD set features the touring band he’d formed to promote his Naked Thunder solo album of the same year.

Originally broadcast for a British TV show called Bedrock (that bizarrely went out on ITV at 3am), its irregular appearances over the years have given this show a collectable kudos that it scarcely merits.

The Sensational Alex Harvey Band’s rhythm section – drummer Ted McKenna and bassist Chris Glen – and keyboard player Tommy Eyre provide a solid enough foundation, but guitarists Steve Morris and Mick O’Donaghue add little beyond the serviceable, possibly reminding Gillan of the difference between sidemen and band members.

As for Gillan himself, he seems happy enough to be there. He works the studio audience (who mostly look as if they’re moonlighting from Nottingham’s Rock City down the road) but even he would admit that it wasn’t one of his more productive periods.

The four songs from Naked Thunder are just adequate. More interesting are Puget Sound from Mr Universe; I Thought No, a neat 12-bar jam from Accidentally On Purpose with Gillan blowing harmonica; and a sinewy, tough cover of Stevie Wonder’s Living For The City.

There’s also a couple of obscure Purple songs: Demon’s Eye from Fireball and When A Blind Man Cries, an outtake from Machine Head that only became a live favourite once Ritchie Blackmore left the band. Plus Smoke On The Water, of course. Has Gillan ever finished a show without it since 1972?/o:p

Hugh Fielder has been writing about music for 47 years. Actually 58 if you include the essay he wrote about the Rolling Stones in exchange for taking time off school to see them at the Ipswich Gaumont in 1964. He was news editor of Sounds magazine from 1975 to 1992 and editor of Tower Records Top magazine from 1992 to 2001. Since then he has been freelance. He has interviewed the great, the good and the not so good and written books about some of them. His favourite possession is a piece of columnar basalt he brought back from Iceland.