Difficult To Cure
1981 | POLD 5036 | Polydor
Recorded at Sweet Silence Studios, Copenhagen, Denmark
Production: Roger Glover
Engineer: Flemming Rasmussen
Cover design: Hipgnosis
Track listing (Side 1):
1. I Surrender
2. Spotlight Kid
3. No Release
5. Vielleicht Das Nachster Zeit (Maybe Next Time)
Track listing (Side 2):
1. Can’t Happen Here
2. Freedom Fighter
3. Midtown Tunnel Vision
4. Difficult To Cure (Beethoven’s Ninth)
Following on from the commercial success of ‘Down To Earth’, thanks to two hit singles in ‘Since You Been Gone’ and ‘All Night Long’, Blackmore seemed to have hit the more radio-friendly formula he’d been seeking…much to the dissatisfaction of Cozy Powell. Powell left after the end of the 1980 tour and was replaced by American drummer, Bobby Rondinelli. Graham Bonnett had also left, but even though the LP had been a successful collaboration, Bonnett had never seemed comfortable fronting a rock band. His image and general ‘rapport’ with the audience jarred with the expectations of die-hard Blackmore fans. So, an American effeminate cabaret singer was hired to replace him! Joe Lynn Turner had a great voice and was drafted in to see if he could hit the notes on the songs Glover and Blackmore had already written for Bonnett to sing. He could (even though the backing tracks were in a higher key than he would have normally sung), and was hired. He was also comfortable with the commercial approach Blackmore was seeking and was more prepared to hone his image to something that more represented a rock band, rather than the Hawaiian shirt ‘look’ favoured by Graham Bonnett.
‘I Surrender’ opens the album and is another track penned by Russ Ballard. Blackmore had obviously been impressed at the commercial success of ‘Since You Been Gone’ and decided to repeat the winning formula. Sure enough, upon its release as a single it reached No. 3 in the UK charts, successfully out-performing the previous top 10 singles.
‘Spotlight Kid’ opens with an intricate riff from Blackmore before exploding with a powerhouse tempo and drumming style from Rondinelli…Cozy Powell would have been proud to be associated with this track. Awesome guitar solo from Blackmore. The song lyrics are interesting in that they could be slightly autobiographical about Blackmore, but one wonders whether they could also be a slight dig at a former lead vocalist perhaps…“You’re audience died, faded away…they love you, but you’re in love with the spotlight…”
‘No Release’ has a nice echoey introduction but is a little bland after the previous track, resorting to a poppy, hand clap middle section. Ok but not great.
Which leads on to ‘Magic’ written by John Brian Moran. Fairly mundane bland pop, perhaps intended as a single but doesn’t sound at all strong enough in its own right.
Nice instrumental written by Blackmore and Airey called ‘Vielleicht Das Nachster Zeit’ which translated from the German into ‘Maybe Next Time’ although it turns out that there was an error in the translation, the corrected German spelling appears on later compilations, live albums etc as “Vielleicht Das Nachster Mal”
Side 2 opens with the next single to be released off the album, the Blackmore/Glover penned ‘Can’t Happen Here’, a damning indictment of the environmental damage and political climate of the time. With a harder riff, it’s a great song, but didn’t fair as well in the charts, only reaching No. 20 in the UK. The B-side of the single featured a non-album track ‘Jealous Lover’. American radio stations picked up on the b-side and played it instead of the A-side, and it’s not hard to see why. It’s a great melodic radio friendly tune with a lovely guitar/keyboard riff. It deserved a place on the album as it’s much better than a couple of the tracks that made it onto the LP, in my opinion.
‘Freedom Fighter’ is next up and is another song that’s ok, not too memorable, but not too bad. This track features lyrics written by Joe Lynn Turner for the first time.
Slightly better and more atmospheric is ‘Midtown Tunnel Vision’, featuring more lyrics from Turner. Nice intro from Blackmore, interesting lyric from Turner that at least isn’t about ‘love’ for a change! Good tune and one of the better ones.
The album finishes with an ‘Ode To Joy’ or Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony as it’s better known, retitled and rearranged by Blackmore/Glover/Airey into the album title track ‘Difficult To Cure’. This would become a live showcase staple for years to come, even venturing into the reformed Deep Purple’s live set. The track concludes with an endless loop (thanks to the runout grooves on vinyl anyway) of Oliver Hardy’s trademark laugh.
OVERALL RATING: 8/10
The first release of the album included a mail-order merchandise flyer:
A fairly young Flemming Rasmussen (23 years old at the time) engineered this album at the studios he co-founded and co-owned. Three years later in 1984 he produced the first of three of Metallica’s seminal albums, ‘Ride The Lightning’, and then ‘Master Of Puppets’ in 1986 and ‘…And Justice For All’ in 1988.
There is a French manufactured version of this LP, identical to the UK release in every respect other than ‘Made In France’ printed on the labels.