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on June 26, 2007
As the author of the Jefferson Airplane book "Take Me To A Circus Tent" and a former radio disc-jockey, I am often asked to write and or discuss various recordings from the 60's and 70's.

It's not uncommon that a rock and roll band has a history that is forgotten about. Many times, it is for the proper reasons. Deep Purple`s first incarnation "Mark I" had three terrific records. If they never created another note, they could be proud to have composed such great material.

While to most of the musical universe Deep Purple is "Mark 2" featuring the intense and strong vocals of Ian Gillian and Roger Glover on bass, the prior story begins in 1968. Rod Evans (One of the most underrated singers of the era) and Nick Simper (Bass) may not be household names but were very much a part of the foundation.

"Shades Of" isn't "In Rock." That is not a swipe in the least. It is only a warning to those that are looking for the more metal and improvisational side of the band. What the initial album consists of is terrific material and well-blended rock with Ritchie Blackmore already way ahead of the curve and only to get better.

"And The Address" opens with a tasty riff that you don't forget. It's a solid choice to lay down the landscape of what will follow.

"Hush" is indeed the cover of the Joe South tune. Purple may very well have the definitive version. It is still played on rock radio to this day.

"One More Rainy Day" features a well-crafted sound by Jon Lord on the keyboards. Evans vocal feel is superlative.

"Prelude"/"Happiness"/"I'm So Glad" covers the musical spectrum in a bit over seven minutes. "I'm So Glad" is the timeless tune written by Skip James that was made famous by the incredible Cream version. Purple chooses not to intensify it to that degree but finds a perfect direction using a mid-tempo arrangement and first rate drumming from Ian Paice.

"Mandrake Root" is Purple's first journey into the land of improvisation. As they explore uncharted waters, the band jells well. Jon Lord's keyboards are mixed high and it give a memorable performance.

"Help!" needs no introduction. The Beatles classic (Lennon/McCartney) is slowed down to a totally different and unique arrangement. The vocals are heartfelt and the results are pleasant!

"Love Help Me" pays homage to the psychedelic sounds of the 60's Although it may be the least known song on the record it clearly belongs.
"Hey Joe" closes the festivities. There is debate if Billy Roberts wrote the song but never a question how endless versions from Hendrix to Purple will live forever. This rendition isn't full of fire but it packs enough of a punch to get the job done.

Make sure to purchase the remaster with the five bonus tracks because "Shadows" is strong enough to have been included on the original disc.

Enjoy the music and be well,
Craig Fenton
Author of the Jefferson Airplane book "Take Me To A Circus Tent"
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on June 25, 2005
Ever since SHADES OF... appeared, Deep Purple set a pattern of being years ahead of their time.

When you first hear the opening track "And The Address," you are calmed by Jon Lord's Hammond organ, then he cranks it up for a sonic blast, he is joined by guitarist Ritchie Blackmore, drummer Ian Paice and bassist Nick Simper for the full on assault! Classic Deep Purple! "Hush" follows and is so psychedelic and ahead of its time....no wonder it's timeless! Then comes my favorite, the beautiful "One More Rainy Day" with it's nifty drum work to showcase Paice's talents. Then you slide right into "I'm So Glad" which really brings out the vocals of Rod Evans. And then there's "Hey Joe." Total excellence. I am convinced that this is a better cover version than Hendrix's. The jamming "Mandrake Root" is a great filler, something most bands never obtain. The Beatles song "Help" is also covered. It works! John Lennon once said, "That's the way the Beatles should have done it". Enough said. The rest of the songs (including bonus tracks) are great, too. The playing and the singing is fantastic. The sound quality is excellent.

This is vintage, progressive rock ahead of it's time for 1968. Sit back, crank this up, turn down the lights, and the sounds will take you away. Folks, this is a classic and a stellar way for Deep Purple to launch their historic career. Quit comparing and just enjoy this unique and cool first album. Totally underrated.
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on July 20, 2006
Spitfire Records is a subdivision of Eagle Rock Entertainment located in New York, United States.

So now that we know that, let's talk about Deep Purples' Shades Of Deep Purple. It took the industry long enough but they finally got it right for the earlier Deep Purple. These guys did it right. First of all this CD was digitized from the original master tapes. Before this CD the recordings where very bad, definitely not from first generation tapes, if from tape at all. The second thing, they did the remastering at Abbey Road. The sound is really great. They also did a great job with the liner notes. If you buy "Shades Of Deep Purple", "The Book of Taliesyn" and "Deep Purple" these liner notes pretty much all together tell you the early story of the Deep Purple. I am very glad I purchased this CD. I only wished I would have done this earlier. I highly recommend this whole Spitfire series. I don't believe this will ever get any better. By the way for all of you who believe that this band didn't contributed to the hard rock era. Living through it I can remember the actions of people when Hush came out. The older generation of the time S#?t a brick.. The fuzz the rawness and the harshness. This was definitely a group that contributed to Hard Rock. It may not match what happened after these guys MK1 broke up but they did help shape it.
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For years on CD Deep Purple's debut featuring the Mk1 line up with Rod Evans (Captain Beyond) on lead vocals and their hit single "Hush" was from a dub of the vinyl (the matertapes were shipped to the U.S. label and not returned to EMI until this remaster)now finally for the first time on CD we get the original mastertapes as the source for the album.

Remastered in 2000 by Peter Mew the first U.S. reissue of the album finally appears on Eagle Records (the same label that reissued Rory Gallagher's albums on CD)with five bonus tracks, an excellent booklet describing both the creation of the group, the making of the album and the reception (it was a big hit in the U.S. while was received, at least initially, cooly in the U.K.).

Although the remastered version features the characteristic overuse of digital noise reduction that was typical of EMI in 2000 (and was characteristic of Mew's mastering approach at the time), this version STILL beats every other version out there because of the superior source tapes.

We get five bonus tracks of varying quality with "Shadow" an outtake from the album that has been bootlegged for years, "Love Help Me" an instrumental version without the finished vocal, an alternate mix of the band's cover of The Beatles' "Help" (which clearly U2 later listened to as they performed the song as a ballad in concert as early as 1984-5 as a ballad more in line with John Lennon had imagined for the song at the time), "Hey Joe" from the "Top Gear" TV show and, finally, a live performance of "Hush" from a U.S. TV appearence.

Despite the overuse of digital noise reduction this is the edition of the album to own simply because it is from the mastertapes (which have also been restored by Peter Mew). For fans who loved the Evans era Deep Purple more than later editions (that would include me), this album is essential.

Recommended.
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on September 23, 2006
Band Personnell:
Rod Evans - Vocals
Ritchie Blackmore - Guitars
Nick Simper - Bass and Backing Vocals
Ian Paice - Drums
Jon Lord - Organs and Backing Vocals

This was the time right after they changed name from "Roundabout" to "Deep Purple", in this period they tried to find their sound, because of this 50% of the album contains cover songs from Joe South, Skip James, The Beatles and Billy Roberts, they only used a couple of days to complete the whole album.
The cover song "Hush" by Joe South was their most successful song from the poineering lineup, "Help" was a slower version than the original version by The Beatles, and the final song "Hey Joe" was earler covered by Jimi Hendrix also became very popular from this lineup.
All in all this album is a very good beginning of new Deep Purple fans, just to get the feel of how it all began.
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on April 5, 2005
Shades Of Deep Purple (1968.), Deep Purple's first studio album

'Shades of Deep Purple', Deep Purple's first studio album, released in 1968 marks the start of the career of one of the great rock bands that there has ever been. Deep Purple had over the years a constantly changing band line up, the most famous being the Mark II line up which would produce some of the band's finest material in the early '70's. Most people therefore consider the Deep Purple career to start in 1970 with the release of 'Deep Purple in Rock' but what they overlook is the fact that the band had released 3 pretty good albums before this. As a result, the Mark I Deep Purple line up (the 5 members which feature on the first 3 albums) often get overlooked and underrated.

So who were the origianal band members in Deep Purple. Rod Evans was the original vocalist who sadly often languishes in his successor Ian Gillan's, shadow. He's, in my opinion not as good a singer as Gillan but he still has a pretty good voice and fronts the line up very well. Similarly, Nick Simper is the forgotten but certainly more than able bass player. The rest of the band though are the more famous members of the great Deep Purple. John Lord, from the very start of the album shows us just how brilliant a keyboard player he is and for me, his playing shines out the most on this album. Ian Paice's drumming is also excellent on this album - he is seriously the most UNDERRATED drummer of all time! Ritchie Blackmore, the guitar genius also debuts for Deep Purple too - his contributions are very good even if they are not quite at the level his playing would reach with the later DP and his years with Rainbow (i.e. he doesn't do as many solos on this work).

With 'Shades of Deep Purple', the band hadn't yet discovered their classic sound that they would produce in the 1970's but they certainly show signs of it, with great promise. The album, by its general nature is pretty psychedelic with plenty of extravagent keyboard dubs - but its very listenable. The band achieved very limited success in the UK with the work but had a hit with 'Hush' from the album and certainly had a good reception in the US. The issue to get of the album is the remaster edition which contains the bonus tracks - avoid the original album issue which has extremely poor sound quality. The bonus tracks themeselves make nice additions. 'Shadows' is a catchy outtake - the other extras include an alternate take of 'Help', a live performance of 'Hush which has poor quality sound to it and some other versions of 'Love Help Me', 'Help' and 'Hey Joe' which all feature on the album.

So, to the 8 album tracks themselves. John Lord kick starts the opener 'And the Address' in style and it develops into a great instrumental track which features some catchy guitar lines from Blackmore. 'Hush' is the real gem on the album, a cover of a song orignally penned by Joe South - some great vocals over some pretty atmospheric instrumentation. 'One More Rainy Day' opens with a storm effect follow by a pretty extensive bit of keyboard playing giving it quite a psychedlic feel. 'Prelude/I'm So Glad' has an instrumental start which leads into the main song - the vocals are a bit repetitive overall. 'Mandrake Root' has a bluesy style in parts and some powerful vocals - a great track and an early concert favourite for the band. 'Help' is a Beatles cover - not too bad, lots of keyboard again. 'Love Help Me' is another heavily psychedelic styled track - grows on you after a few listens. 'Hey Joe' is a good attempted cover of the classic Hendrix song which he played on his immortal 'Are You Experienced' album - Rod Evans sings it pretty well - the track has a classical influence to it at the start, using some of the instrumentation from 'The Three Corenered Hat', a Spanish suite.

Overall, a pretty solid effort showing great potential for the band. Theres lots of covers on here which Deep Purple put their mark on quite well as well as some fine efforts at their own writing. This incidentally is not the place to start if you are beginning to listen to Deep Purple - start with the classic sound Mark II line up with albums such as 'Machine Head' or 'Fireball'. For any Deep Purple fan, get this album, its a great acquisition.
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on May 25, 2012
this fantastic debut by Deep Purple has a great early progressive sound to it--but for me the best selling point is Jon Lord's masterful organ work--if you want to hear some of the best keyboard work this side of Keith Emerson or Rick Wakeman listen especially to the Skip James classic "i'm so glad",probably my all time favorite song.of course "hush"speaks for itself.the Purple do a wonderful version of "help",and the finally released little gem "shadows"is icing on the cake.Ritchie Blackmore and company do themselves proud on their debut but to me the real star is Jon Lord.if you are a prog rock fan get this,you'll be "glad" you did.
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on September 13, 2008
The Deep Purple mk 1 line up recorded this album in 1968 so what you can expect is heavy rock in a psychedelic and jazzy style that frankly just cannot be compared to any other psych band of the time. The sound is muddy but all the better for it really.

This line-up had (in true Purple tradition) a different singer and bassist in the shape of Rod Evans and Nick Simper respectively who contribute well to the overall sound, especially Simper, a busy bassist with a heavy sound. Evans is more restrained than the later Ian Gillan.

Lord, Blackmore and Paice weave their magic of course, but some of the songs would really benefit from some rhythm guitar, something that Blackmore didn't like. What was wrong with that guy? Paicey gets his jazz boots on in some of the songs and Lord even rips off excerpts from Sheherezade by Rimsky-Korsakov and Spanish excerpts from Manuel de Falla. No matter. It was the '60s.

One thing I particularly like is the extra song "Shadows", a lovely, psychedelic melody that wouldn't be out of place on a Nuggets compilation. The live cut of "Hush" on Playboy, however, sounds like it was recorded straight of the tv with not enough depth or presence. No matter. Its an interesting document.

All in all, I was surprised by this album. Its heavy, rocky, colourful, interesting, overlooked and, above all, just great!
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on February 7, 2006
I don't have the remastered version.....but I can say 1 thing,

at 3.50 being the lowest priced copy available - You would be considered foolish if you DIDN'T BUY this one !!!

In fact, I am going to go as far as to recommend the entire catalouge !! Sell yer wedding bands and get the lead out friends

This is 1968, I was a year old - and I'll be playing this stuff to my kids in their mothers WOMB !! Mr. Blackbore ( I know I hate too even write it, but some of his releases with this dear wife, just don't cut the Grey Poupon for me........nevertheless, buy them too...after you have all the Purples,Rainbow and Dio albums !!!!

Ronnie J. Dio is pushing 65 ................yee haw !!!!!

While we are at it - Ritchie B'mores Rainbow, the debut is worth it's weight in tetra-hydra-cannibanal !!!!!

If you know a lesbian - buy them a Rainbow album, play dumb and pretend you thought it was pro-lesbian. Then retreive it from the wastebasket for yerself !!!!!!!!! Peace All
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on June 26, 2007
As the author of the Jefferson Airplane book "Take Me To A Circus Tent" and a former radio disc-jockey, I am often asked to write and or discuss various recordings from the 60's and 70's.

It's not uncommon that a rock and roll band has a history that is forgotten about. Many times, it is for the proper reasons. Deep Purple`s first incarnation "Mark I" had three terrific records. If they never created another note, they could be proud to have composed such great material.

While to most of the musical universe Deep Purple is "Mark 2" featuring the intense and strong vocals of Ian Gillan and Roger Glover on bass, the prior story begins in 1968. Rod Evans (One of the most underrated singers of the era) and Nick Simper (Bass) may not be household names but were very much a part of the foundation.

"Shades Of" isn't "In Rock." That is not a swipe in the least. It is only a warning to those that are looking for the more metal and improvisational side of the band. What the initial album consists of is terrific material and well-blended rock with Ritchie Blackmore already way ahead of the curve and only to get better.

"And The Address" opens with a tasty riff that you don't forget. It's a solid choice to lay down the landscape of what will follow.

"Hush" is indeed the cover of the Joe South tune. Purple may very well have the definitive version. It is still played on rock radio to this day.

"One More Rainy Day" features a well-crafted sound by Jon Lord on the keyboards. Evans vocal feel is superlative.

"Prelude"/"Happiness"/"I'm So Glad" covers the musical spectrum in a bit over seven minutes. "I'm So Glad" is the timeless tune written by Skip James that was made famous by the incredible Cream version. Purple chooses not to intensify it to that degree but finds a perfect direction using a mid-tempo arrangement and first rate drumming from Ian Paice.

"Mandrake Root" is Purple's first journey into the land of improvisation. As they explore uncharted waters, the band jells well. Jon Lord's keyboards are mixed high giving a memorable performance.

"Help!" needs no introduction. The Beatles classic (Lennon/McCartney) is slowed down to a totally different and unique arrangement. The vocals are heartfelt and the results are pleasant!

"Love Help Me" pays homage to the psychedelic sounds of the 60's Although it may be the least known song on the record it clearly belongs.

"Hey Joe" closes the festivities. There is debate if Billy Roberts wrote the song but never a question how endless versions from Hendrix to Purple will live forever. This rendition isn't full of fire but it packs enough of a punch to get the job done.

Make sure to purchase the remaster with the five bonus tracks because "Shadows" is strong enough to have been included on the original disc.

Enjoy the music and be well,
Craig Fenton
Author of the Jefferson Airplane book "Take Me To A Circus Tent"
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