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Deep Purple - Shades Of Deep Purple CD (album) cover


Deep Purple



3.29 | 538 ratings

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4 stars This historic Purple debut was mainly a cool 60s pop album - which is exactly what the formative band intended it to be. Shades did not make much of an impression in their home country of England, but it was wildly popular here in the states. Probably because the vocal harmonies on the short songs are so awfully similar to those of the Beach Boys.

Prog-wise, what the fuss is all about is a dramatic instrumental which closes the song "Mandrake Root." This instrumental section was a high point of their live shows well into the 1970s, when it had been expanded to the point that it almost served as a separate show in itself. (On 1973's Made in Japan, it is attached to the end of "Spacetruckin'").

Innovative and classy organ work by Jon Lord gives the image of a person running up a steep hill, only to be faced with extreme danger when they finally reach the pinnacle. Then the instrumental suddenly shifts into a highly-distorted, pre- Fripp solo by Ritchie Blackmore. Its topped off by Ian Paice pounding on his drum kit for a few climactic seconds. If this isn't prog, nothing is.

No modern listener in their right mind would shout about this album from the rooftops. But listen to it just for "Mandrake Root."

And.if you really know your prog'll find that a snippet of "Mandrake"s instrumental was later carbon-copied onto Yes's "Astral Traveler." Listen for it.

ldlanberg | 4/5 |


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