The Deep Purple spin-off project Paice Ashton Lord were formed by ex-Deep Purplers Ian Paice (drums) and Jon Lord (organ) with Tony Ashton, who had been in the Remo Four during the British Invasion era and then in Ashton, Gardner & Dyke (famous for "Resurrection Shuffle"). When they got together in mid-1976, Deep Purple had just broken up; for the sole Paice Ashton Lord album, the sound was filled out by guitarist Bernie Marsden and bassist Paul Martinez. That LP, Malice in Wonderland, was not nearly as heavy as Deep Purple had been, though it still owed much to mainstream British hard rock. However, there was a fair amount of jazz influence in the arrangements (which sometimes included brass) and some soul ingredients to the songwriting. All of this didn't add up to anything more than an average mid-'70s rock album, the kind you could have heard as filler on numerous AOR-oriented FM stations at the time. You didn't, though, since the album didn't sell much, and Paice Ashton Lord disbanded, although they did start work on a second LP.
Ian Pace (drums)
Tony Ashton (vocals, keyboards)
Jon Lord (organ, keyboards)
Bernie Marsden (guitar)
Paul Martinez (bass)
A great and very different album from some world class musicians. PAL was comprised of Paice and Lord, fresh out of the ashes of Deep Purple, Bernie Marsden, ex-UFO and Babe Ruth, Tony Ashton, ex-Ashton, Garder & Dyke and Family, and bassist Paul Martinez, ex-Stretch. A unique group of musicians, who together put together an infectious debut LP that completely missed the public's radar screen. Critics raved about it, but the record buyers avoided it like the plague. It wasn't like Deep Purple, or Family, or Babe Ruth or Stretch, it was different. Maybe too different. I just know that from the first time I heard it, I loved it. It's got a groove to it that is just unstoppable. In particular, Ian Paice plays his drums like he never did in Purple. This is jazzy, R&B, with a dash of rock, a pinch of soul and a little bit of everything else thrown in for good measure. The only downside is in the vocal department. Tony Ashton has a pretty much one-dimensional voice, rough and gravelly. It works for awhile, but for an entire album it's too much. Bernie Marsden does a decent job of singing on a couple of songs, but his voice is a bit bland at times. Still, it might have fared better if he'd have sung the whole album. That aside, I'd highly recommend this one to fans of talented musicians taking chances. Too bad they folded before their second album was complete, PAL had potential. Even sadder is the fact that half the band eventually wound up in Whitesnake. Marsden wrote some great songs in that band and maybe he would have written them for PAL instead. In the hands of a real band, they could have been magnificent.
Rip from CD 256@ (full artwork included)