[A defense] Deep Purple: Shades of Deep Purple (1968)

shades of deep purple album coverKronomyth 1.0: A DARKER SHADE OF PURPLE. Hammer Films made a small fortune on movies featuring Frankenstein and Dracula that were both stylish and scary. Yes, you could look back from the vantage point of the 1970s or 1980s and say that these films were timid compared to the movies of Dario Argento or John Carpenter, but that would be taking them out of context. I mention this because a similar thing happens to Shades of Deep Purple. People look to the Purple of the future and the heavy metal movement in general, and find this a shade too pale for their tastes. At the time of its release, however, Shades of Deep Purple rose through the ranks of the psychedelic blues beserkers with the “hush” heard ‘round the world (or at least in our corner of the globe). Produced by Derek Lawrence, the record had more than a hint of horrorshow in it: an opening organswirl that crept from the crypt of darkest imagination, a wailing wolf to herald “Hush,” foreboding thunder at the onset of “One More Rainy Day.” Past those points of no return, you entered a world where Cream, The Who and Jimi Hendrix were championed as ideals. Added to these accolades was Jon Lord’s armored organ mounted atop a psychedelic tank. Critics today are apt to throw shade at Deep Purple Mk. I, but they are in my opinion jaded metallurgists with the luxury of Mk. II to compare. How many young bands would have dared approach “I’m So Glad” so soon after Cream, let alone introduce it with a brilliant classical rock piece? Or offer up such a daring interpretation of “Help!” And then there’s the closing cover of “Hey Joe,” which matches Hendrix in intensity and execution. This isn’t a band finding its voice; it’s a declaration of war. The psychedelic traces of “One More Rainy Day” would disappear, the pretty thefts of Hendrix (“Mandrake Root”) and The Who (“Love Help Me”) would pass. You can even forgive the band for accidentally taking credit for “Hey Joe.” The combination of organ and lead guitar strapped to an explosive rhythm section and equipped with a voice that could stop the world with a “Hush” was something remarkable in 1968, a sort of Procol Harum Scarum. Yes, the story gets deeper later, but their opening salvo remains a blast from the past.

Original LP Version
A1. And The Address (Ritchie Blackmore/Jon Lord) (4:36)
A2. Hush (Joe South) (4:11)
A3. One More Rainy Day (Jon Lord/Rod Evans) (3:15)
A4. Prelude: Happiness (Deep Purple) (2:45)
A5. I’m So Glad (Skip James) (4:53)
B1. Mandrake Root (Ritchie Blackmore/Rod Evans/Jon Lord) (5:55)
B2. Help (John Lennon/Paul McCartney) (5:45)
B3. Love Help Me (Ritchie Blackmore/Rod Evans) (3:34)
B4. Hey Joe (Deep Purple*) (7:38)

Arranged by Deep Purple. 

* Incorrectly credited to the band on early pressings.

CD reissue bonus tracks
10. Shadows (album out take)
11. Love Help Me (instrumental version)
12. Help (alternate take)
13. Hey Joe (BBC Top Gear session)
14. Hush (live US TV)

The Players
Ritchie Blackmore (lead guitar, vocals), Rod Evans (lead vocals), Jon Lord (organ, vocals), Ian Paice (drums), Nic Simper (bass guitar, vocals). Produced by Derek Lawrence; engineered (sound balance) by Barry Ainsworth.

The Pictures
Graphic design by Les Weisbrich.

The Plastic
Released on elpee on July 17, 1968 in the US and Canada (Tetragrammaton, T-102) and in September 1968 in the UK (Parlophone, PS 7055) and India (Parlophone, PCS.7055); reached #24 on the US charts. US and UK versions have different covers.

  1. Re-issued on elpee in 1969 in Germany (EMI Odeon, 1C 062-04 175).
  2. Re-issued on elpee (c.1971-3) in the UK (Parlophone, PCS 7055) {black two mark label, “The Gramaphone Co”}.
  3. Re-issued on cassette in the US (Tetragrammaton, T 102).
  4. Re-issued on elpee, cassette and 8-track in 1977 in the UK (EMI Harvest, 7C 054-04175), Italy (EMI Harvest, 3C 254/344 04175), Japan (Warner Bros., P-10332W) and the Netherlands (EMI Harvest, 5C 038-04175). Harvest elpee reissue features unique cover. 8-track features different track order.
  5. Re-issued on cassette in the US (MNI, 3201) and the Netherlands (Red Dog Express, 3201-4).
  6. Re-issued on cassette in Poland (ALF, A-048).
  7. Re-issued on compact disc on June 24, 1998 in Japan (Teichiku, TECW-21717).
  8. Re-released on remastered, expanded compact disc in 2000 in the UK (EMI, 4983362) and the US (Spitfire, 5062-2).

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