Absolutely on of the greatest voices of metal and hard rock ever, is Ian Gillan. Gillan is the former/current/former/current, etc lead vocalist of Deep Purple. He first left Deep Purple in 1977 and formed The Ian Gillan Band who released two albums before giving way to Gillan, the band. Gillan is not a "solo project" but was a band formed with bassist/songwriter John McCoy in July '78. The band stayed together through December of '82, after which time, Ian had a short stint with Black Sabbath before rejoining Deep Purple. Between all his many other solo projects including a solo album with Deep Purple's Roger Glover, Gillan (the band) put out a number of excellent albums, all of which are currently only available as imports. In later incarnations of Gillan, Janick Gers became the band's guitarist. Janick also performed on Bruce Dickinson's first solo album and now performs with Iron Maiden.
This is one of the best 70's Deep Purple albums, ah, I mean Gillan albums ever. "Mr. Univers"e may not quite be the classic that was Purple's "In Rock" or "Machine Head" but it still an awesome album and better than some of the material Deep Purple recorded after Gillan's departure. The album starts off strong with the atmospheric instrumental "Second Sight" only to explode into one of Gillan's fastest and heaviest songs "Secret of the Dance." "Vengeance," "Roller" and "Message In a Bottle" are all excellent songs as well. This Virgin reissue has six bonus cuts includung an excellent testosterone driven live versions of "Vengeance" with Ian Gillan giving the vocal performance of his life. There is also a dramatic live version of "On the Rocks" as well as Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water." Tracks 11-12 were recorded live at the Reading Festival, August 29,1981. Tracks 13-15 were recorded live at the Reading Festival, August 22,1980.
An incredible British heavy metal CD by John McCoy and Ian Gillan. There is plenty of heavy axe grinding tunes on this disc, but there is also some killer blues based songs as well. "Running", "White Face", "City Boy" and "Unchain Your Brain" are the albums most vicious attacks. A live version of "Unchain Your Brain" made it onto the infamous "Live and Heavy" compilation. I also really like the blues based "If You Believe Me" as well. Really the entire disc is stellar. The bonus tracks are a nice addition. Most are experimental studio outtakes.
Gillan - Double Touble (Repertoire) 1981
1. "I'll Rip Your
Spine Out" (4:30)
"Double Trouble" is the fifth album from Gillan and was released during the heyday for the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, when heavy metal was seeing a resurgence especially in Gillan's homeland. Many, including Ian Gillan himself, rank "Double Trouble"as the band's pinnacle; their finest moment. On the studio tracks producer Steve Smith manages to capture the raw, heavy feel of the band that was sometimes missing in past albums. The studio album featured two hit singles, “Restless” and “Nightmare”, which were unfortunately only released in Europe.
Back in the days before CDs "Double Trouble" was one of the most sought after LPs in my collection. Once I obtained it, it was one of my prized album. The album is titled "Double Trouble" because originally this was released as a double LP set with one record being the new studio material and the rest being live material, mostly taken from England's 1981 Reading Festival. The one exception is "If You Believe Me" which was recorded at London's Rainbow Theatre, March 4, 1981. The album was the first to feature guitarist Janick Gers, who replaced Berne Torme. Of course, Janick Gers went on to record with Bruce Dickinson and eventually joined Iron Maiden.
The CD insert is excellent and features some interesting liner notes by Chris Welch and comments by Ian Gillan and bassist/co-founder John McCoy. The original LP was a gatefold cover.
Gillan - Magic (Virgin/Japan) 1982
1. "What's the Matter"
The last Gillan album before the big Deep Purple (Mach II) comeback in the 80's. Once again, Janick Gerrs is on board and has some writing credits on this disc, however it is the Gillan/McCoy/Towns team that do much of the songwriting and are the core of the band. Gillan's last disc is perhaps his heaviest and certainly one of his most complex and compelling. However, it's also his most slickly produced. Frankly, if some of these songs had been given a beefier, heavier production, this album would have been even better. There are fast rockers ('What's the Matter'), heavy Black Sabbath-like songs ('Bluesy Blue Sea'), blues based cuts, excellent covers and even a couple ballads all wrapped up into one excellent CD. Gillan, Gers, Towns and McCoy were certainly at their best here. Fortunately for fans of Deep Purple, Ian moved on and helped resurrect Purple. Unfortunately for those of us who were hooked on the team of Gillan, Towns, and McCoy, this would be the last of a long and musically rich relationship. *sniff* Excuse me while I go get a tissue.
The CD reissue features a slew of bonus tracks including Helter Skelter' a Beatles cover and 'Smokestack Lightning' a Howlin' Wolf cover. Both tracks were recorded for the album but were left off, for whatever reason.
"The Best of Gillan" should be properly titled "The Best of Ian Gillan" as this compilation is not a compilation of Gillan (the band) material. Rather, this is a compilation of Ian Gillan's many solo projects. Ian's solo material fluctuates; some of it is good, some is absolutely brilliant, some of it sucks! This makes any compilation of Ian Gillan material a mixed affair. The other thing is, I don't really care for "best-of" collections. Most of them are hap-hazardly thrown together by record companies that give little thought to the track listing or order. This CD seems to be no exception to that rule. However, back when this was released, none of his solo discs were readily available in the U.S. on CD. So, when I found this disc for a mere $3.99 I snapped it up. For the die-hard there is plenty of non-LP tracks, as well as a good smattering of Gillan/Towns/McCoy rockers and even a couple from the Ian Gillan & Roger Glover project. Personally, I could have done without yet another live version of "Smoke on the Water." I would much rather have had another Gillan track like "I'll Rip Out Your Spine", "Unchain Your Brain" or perhaps another rarity, of which there are plenty. Apparently Gillan and his cohorts were constantly recording at Gillan's home studio. so there is a wealth of non-album material. My personal favorite from this compilation are "Mr. Universe," "Born To Kill," and "M.A.D. (Mutually Assured Destruction)". There are some great songs on here, but I always keep the skip button handy.
Gillan "Live at the BBC" is a 2-CD set mostly drawn from the Reading Rock Festival on August 25th 1979 and the Paris Theatre, London on September 24th 1980. Some bonus tracks are featured on disc one were also recorded at the Paris Theatre in London on September 19th 1979. By the end of the 70's Ian Gillan had formed his new band Gillan and left the experimentation and jazz fusion of the Ian Gillan Band behind. Instead he jumped head-long into heavy metal, bridging a gap between the jams of Deep Purple and the heaviness of Judas Priest. The band at this point was Ian Gillan - vocals, John McCoy - bass, Colin Town - keyboards, Bernie Torme - guitars and Mick Underwood - drums. Many Gillan fans consider this to be the classic Gillan line-up, even though it only lasted for a few years.
Gillan - Live Wembly 17th December 1982 (Angel Air) 2004
1. "Clouds and Rain"
OK, I know this is not a Gillan (the band) album, but if I created a separate page for all the ex-Deep Purple members and their various side projects, this site would be gigantic. Before their work with Deep Purple, Roger Glover and Ian Gillan already had a history together. The two were actually invited to join Deep Purple together in 1969, debuting with the band at the Speakeasy Club in London on July 10. What is surprising about this disc, and what shocked me when I first heard this disc was how much it did NOT sound like Deep Purple. This disc is surprisingly light and relies more on pop structures and cool R 'n B rhythms. There is the occasional rocker like "I Can't Dance to That," but otherwise this disc doesn't even touch the heavy metal of Gillan or the heavy rock and roll of Purple. What is most surprising is that I really like this disc. It's just good quality rock and roll and perhaps better than some of Deep Purple's more obscure albums. Their cover of Lloyd Price's "Can't Believe You Wanna Leave " is outstanding. "Telephone Box" is a very 80's sounding new-wave pop rock song, that is also featured on Gillan's best of album. The blues based, harmonica lead album closer "I Thought No" is another outstanding number and proves that Gillan and Glover are just as at home with their roots as with the hard rock they helped perfect. "Accidentally On Purpose" is a quality album that shows two veteran musicians stretching out and successfully trying other kinds of music.
I've actually owned this disc for many years, but recently upgraded to the Japanese copy with several excellent bonus tracks. The original UK Virgin release only contained ten songs, while the Japanese edition contains thirteen.
Ian Gillan - Naked Thunder (S&P) 1990
1. "Gut Reaction"
Not quite as aggressive, nor as heavy as the Gillan albums, 'Naked Thunder' seems a bit more like Ian Gillan attempting to appeal to a 'more mature' audience. Some of the songs on this disc, like 'Talking To You' could have fit on some of the newer Deep Purple discs, but overall this is much more mellow and pop oriented than anything I have heard from Ian Gillan. The ballads on this disc are outstanding, and surprisingly some of the most solid material contained herein. Unlike any other Ian Gillan disc, I would label 'Naked Thunder' as AOR. Gillan is a legend and his voice is one of the most recognizable in rock history, but somehow I just prefer him singing over the heavier music, or even the blues and funk based songs of his early career. The packaging for this disc is nice. The disc is wrapped around a digi pack that is unlike any I have seen before, then the digi-pack is wrapped with a slipcase of the cover art.
Gillan - Toolbox (S&P) 1991
1. "Hang Me Out to
My opinion on this album seems to differ from the majority of reviews I have read. Most people seem to not care for this disc as much as earlier Gillan discs, but I am of the opinion that 'Toolbox' is one of the finest discs since those early albums. Ian's vocals are still quite amazing, his range is unbelievable. Songs like the powerful "Don't Hold Me Back" shows that Ian can still wail like he did in the days of 'Machine Head.' The high falsetto vocals are simply mesmerizing. Other tracks like the humorous 'Dancing Nylon Shirt' are simply catchy and infectious. The whole disc is heavier than Ian's last solo disc 'Naked Thunder' as well. One minor irritant is that despite the use of the Gillan logo, this disc is not really a Gillan-the band album. Gillan bassist/songwriter/producer John McCoy is nowhere to be found. Still, despite the absence of any other original members, Ian has always been the heart and soul of the band, as is quite apparent on 'Toolbox.'
1. "Chandra's Coriander"
As the title and cover art suggest, Gillan is experimenting with more "Tribal" sounds on this disc. The album starts off with an acoustic number called "Chandra's Coriander" that mixes tribal sounding rhythms with melodic keys, an acoustic guitar and Gillan's enchanting vocals. The album continues in like fashion adding various instruments like sitars and congos. Several songs, like "Gunga Din" are more folk in nature. This particular song has an explanation in the liner notes by Ian Gillan. Apparently this song is about the death of his father and whiskers. (You gotta read the story to understand.) "You Sold My Love For A Song" is a Chicago-style blues number with some nice guitar work. All songs were performed by Ian Gillan accompanied by Steve Morris. Quite the mellow album for Ian Gillan, but catchy and enjoyable nonetheless. Can't say I like it as much as I do his 80's metal albums, or even his late 70's Jazz-Rock fusion experiments, but if I am in just the right mood it's a fantastic listen.
There are three different versions of the album. The European edition consists of twelve tracks, which was released in 1997. The Japanese edition includes of two extra tracks and was also released in '97. The US edition was remixed by Bob Katz, the order of the songs was changed and it has a different cover. It was released in 1998. I own the US version (cover pictured above). I've yet to hear the European version, so I don't know how different the "remix" actually is.
Gillan - Gillan's Inn (Immergent) 2006
1. "Unchain Your Brain"
Ian Gillan is one of the foremost vocalists of heavy metal and hard rock. He has long been a favorite of mine, regardless if he was singing for Deep Purple, Black Sabbath or his on band Gillan. This CD was recorded and releasted to honor his 40th anniversary as a recording artist, so the songs on here aren't all new material. There are a few Deep Purple classics, including "Speed King". "Demons Eye" and a nicely reworked version of "Smoke on the Water". Some of my favorite material here is Gillan originals such as "Unchain Your Brain" and the humorous "No Laughing in Heaven". The biggest disappointment to me was "Trashed". I had always heard how much Gillan hated the production of the "Born Again" album, so with Tony Iommi on guitar I was expecting a smokin' heavy version of this Black Sabbath song. Unfortunately the reworked version falls flat in comparison to the original. The style of the music on this disc is not surprisingly, very diverse. However despite there being everything from blues to heavy metal present here, the album flows very well and is enjoyable to listen to from beginning to end. One thing that I found odd is that the mastering on this CD isn't quite up to par. I think the 5.1 DVD audio actually sounds the best, although I rarely, if ever, listen to music on DVD. I suppose it's also important to list the impressive guest list on this CD. "Gillan's Inn" features performances by Joe Satriani, Janick Gers, Uli Roth, Dio, Jon Lord, Roger Glover, Ian Pace, Micheal James Jackson, Steve Morese, Joe Elliot, Jeff Healey, Tony Iommi, Don Airy etc.
The DVD features a TON of bonus footage. The main feature is the 5.1 audio, but it's all the bonus features that make this DVD such a joy. There is a documentary on the making of the CD, a track commentary by Ian Gillan, hand written lyrics by Gillan, a photo gallery, and a section where you can listen to different guitarists and mixes of "Smoke on the Water", live videos of Deep Purple, and pre-ripped AAC and WMA files.
Ian Gillan & Tony Iommi - Who Cares (ear music) 2012