On The Wings Of A Russian Foxbat is a live album by Deep Purple Mark 4 (with Tommy Bolin) recorded at the Long Beach Arena in California in February 1976.
It has also been released as:
- King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents: Deep Purple in Concert
- Live at Long Beach 1976
I much prefer the On The Wings Of A Russian Foxbat title because it’s got a lot more character. What is a foxbat? It was the MIG-25 fighter plane.
At this time, Deep Purple were touring to promote the Come Taste The Band album. I know it’s not a classic like Machine Head or In Rock but I’ve always liked it… perhaps because it was the first Deep Purple album I ever owned.
An early concert in Japan has also been released under the titles of Last Concert in Japan and an extended version as This Time Around: Live in Tokyo from December 1975. Rumour has it that Tommy Bolin was unable to play properly at this concert and the Last Concert In Japan version is light on guitar.
Deep Purple On The Wings Of A Russian Foxbat
- Burn (from the album Burn)
- Lady Luck (Come Taste the Band)
- Getting Tighter (Come Taste the Band)
- Love Child (Come Taste the Band)
- Smoke On The Water (Machine Head)
- Lazy (Machine Head)
- The Grind (while it’s called The Grind the song is actually Highway Strut from the Tommy Bolin album Teaser)
- This Time Around (Come Taste the Band)
- Tommy Bolin guitar solo
- Stormbringer (Stormbringer)
- Highway Star (version 1)/Not Fade Away (Machine Head)
- Smoke On The Water/Georgia On My Mind (Machine Head)
- Going Down (blues classic written by Don Nix and recorded by Freddie King)
- Highway Star (version 2) (Machine Head)
You’ll have spotted that there are two versions of Smoke On The Water and Highway Star. That’s because the album has been supplemented by a few songs from a Springield concert in January 1976. I’ve read that it was this second concert that was originally intended to be broadcast on the King Biscuit Flower Hour but there were recording problems. I have mixed views about this being added and I’ve separated them out on my iPod but left Going Down which was often played as an encore.
The set includes 4 songs from the Come Taste The Band album which is the only studio album recorded by Deep Purple Mark 4. Surprisingly it only includes the two title tracks from the other two Coverdale/Hughes Mark 3 version of Deep Purple in Burn and Stormbringer.
If there were doubts about Bolin on the Japan concert, he was in fine form two months later with sizzling guitar solos and powerful riffs spread out throughout the entire album.
Deep Purple purists will say that he’s not Ritchie Blackmore.
And it’s true but I think he may be even better.
I really like his solo stuff and work with the James Gang and I’ve bought more of it than I have Blackmore’s outside of Deep Purple. It’s very sad that Bolin died later in 1976 from a drugs overdose.
Both Smoke On the Water and Highway Star are very good versions but they’re owned by Mark 2 Deep Purple and it’s like a good karaoke band playing these heavy rock classics with different vocalist, lead and bass guitar players. If you want the real versions live, listen to Made In Japan.
The band was:
David Coverdale – lead vocals
Tommy Bolin – guitar, backing vocals
Jon Lord – keyboards, backing vocals
Glenn Hughes – bass, backing vocals
Ian Paice – drums
What People Say About This Album
Buying Deep Purple On The Wings Of A Russian Foxbat or King Biscuit Flower Hour Presents: Deep Purple in Concert or Live at Long Beach 1976
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