DEEP PURPLE – Shades Of Deep Purple [Hi-Res Remastering] (2015)
HighResAudio is a music download service for audiophiles offering albums and songs in 24-bit at sampling rates from 44.1kHz up to the highest in 192kHz. It’s a company similar to American HDtracks, but established in Hamburg, Berlin.
Warner Music Group International has commissioned to HighResAudio for their 2015 remasters of the first three DEEP PURPLE albums. These early recordings needed a re-vamped sonic treatment, and the results are pretty awesome.
Let’s go with Deep Purple’s first album ever: “Shades Of Deep Purple“.
The usual perception of early Deep Purple is that it was a band with a lot of potential in search of a direction. And that might be true of their debut LP, put together in three days of sessions, but it’s still a hell of an album.
From the opening bars of “And the Address,” it’s clear that they’d gotten down the fundamentals of heavy metal from day one, and at various points the electricity and the beat just surge forth in ways that were startlingly new in the summer of 1968.
Ritchie Blackmore never sounded this clean thanks to this remaster, as the original mix doesn’t exactly favored the heavier side of his playing, the rhythm section of Nick Simper and Ian Paice rumble forward, and Jon Lord’s organ flourishes, weaving classical riffs, and unexpected arabesques into “I’m So Glad,” which sounds rather majestic here.
“Hush” was the number that most people knew at the time (it was a hit single in America), and it is a smooth, crunchy interpretation of the Joe South song.
But nobody could have been disappointed with the rest of this record – one can even hear the very distant origins of ‘Smoke on the Water’ in “Mandrake Root,” once one gets past the similarities to Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady”; by the song’s extended finale, they sound more like The Nice.
Their version of “Help” is one of the more interesting reinterpretations of a Beatles song, as a slow, rough-textured dirge.
“Hey Joe” is a bit overblown, and the group clearly had to work a bit at both songwriting and their presentation, but one key attribute that runs through most of this record — even more so than the very pronounced heaviness of the playing – is a spirit of fun; these guys are obviously having the time of their lives rushing through their limited repertoire, and it’s infectious to the listener; it gives this record much more of a ’60s feel than we’re accustomed to hearing from this band.
This HighResAudio sound is notably superior to any prior version of the album, with textures far closer and crisper than have ever been heard before.
A piece of history restored in great form.
1 – And the Address
2 – Hush
3 – One More Rainy Day
4 – Prelude: Happiness / I’m So Glad
5 – Mandrake Root
6 – Help
7 – Love Help Me
8 – Hey Joe
Rod Evans – lead vocals
Ritchie Blackmore – guitar
Jon Lord – organ, backing vocals
Nick Simper – bass, backing vocals
Ian Paice – drums
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