Sound — 8
"Shades of Deep Purple" is the first Deep Purple's album, released in 1968. It must be said that the Mk1 sound was very far from the classic hard rock that will characterize the band. Since the first track "And the Address" the psychedelic rock influence can be heard, but the legendary styles of Blackmore and Lord can be already noticed. The organ has more importance than the guitar, maybe because the songwriting was leaded more by Lord than Blackmore. "Hush" it's probably best known track of the album, as it was released as single wich reached the #24 position on the Billboard charts of the US. The band was best known for this cover until the single "Black Night" was released, making the fans discover the new sound of the band. Anyway, about the album, an interesting track is "Prelude: Happiness\I'm So Glad" Before the song (written by Skip James), the band plays the first movement of "Scherezadade" by Rimsky-Korsakov. The influence of classical music that will follow the band in every future album can be already heard. "Mandrake Root" is a really good song especially for the solos on it. The structure of the song during the solos will be used during the live versions of "Space Truckin," it can be clearly heard in the version in "Made in Japan." There are another two covers: "Help!" by Beatles and "Hey Joe" by Jimi Hendrix Experience. It is hard to judge an album with four covers over eight. Surely the band had to grow up. But if not compared with the classic albums of the band, it is a good album, and it deserves to be heard, especially if you like '60s psychedelic rock.
Lyrics — 6
The singer Rod Evans was less aggressive than Ian Gillan, but it doesn't matter because I think his voice is perfect for the sound in this album. Nothing of great, just a good singer for this good album. About the lyrics it must be said that he wrote only three songs on eight: "One More Rainy Day," "Mandrake Root," "Love Help Me," and nothing so special at all.. His way of singing is similar to the classic '60s rock singers, and maybe for this Blackmore, Lord and Paice would have decided to change style and create a new exciting sound that will influence all the '70s bands.
Overall Impression — 8
"Shades" is the first of the Mk1 albums, and it shares with them the same sound. It really deserves to be heard, especially the solos on the tracks. In my opinion, if the band would not change style, it would have been a good Psychedelic\Progressive rock band. I think that every Purple's fan should listen to it, so take 45 minutes free, forget blistering guitar licks, stunning distorted solos, pick slides and the distorted Hammond sound, and listed to the '60s side of on of the best hard rock band of all the times!