Deep Purple : Shades 1968 – 1998 : 4CD Box Set (USA)

Quick Video Review (5mins) This came out 3 years before the UK 6CD Boxset ‘Listen Learn, Read On.

Both are now out of print, but I thought it would be good to do a quick comparison.

This is a quick kind of supplementary video in support of the recent one I did on the Deep Purple box set, Listen, Learn and Read On. That came out in 2002, and I’ve managed to track down the US version, which came out a couple of years before that, called Shades 1968 to 1998.

So, let’s have quick look inside and look at the difference. The UK one is a six CD affair, and this one is four CDs, so not quite the same size.

The booklet, however, although not quite as big as the UK equivalent, does have some photographs in it that are completely unique to this set. The way it’s laid out, as well, is a bit peculiar, you might say, in that it kind of mixes up all the different lineups of Deep Purple without any kind of chronologic order which you might expect, so that you’ve got Tommy Bolin next to Machine Head.

But it does have some great stuff in it. A great story from the US perspective. Lots of memorabilia. It was pulled together by Simon Robinson from the Deep Purple fan club in the UK. He was heavily involved as he couldn’t get any traction for the UK to do a Deep Purple box set at the time. So he was always heavily involved in the UK one. And I think with the UK one he was given more control to bring in more obscure stuff like the pre-Purple tracks, where this box set is purely Deep Purple from 1968 to 1998.

There’s nothing pre-Purple in here at all. Lots of Tommy Bolin and Deep Purple Mark III photographs. Some of these you may have seen before but some will be quite new. There’s a track by track commentary, which is really cool to see from a different perspective. And then it goes into the different line-ups of Deep Purple right up to and  including Slaves and Masters with Joe Lynn Turner. There is an overview of the albums up to that point until Abandon. And even the reunion stuff and Steve Morris on the other side.

if you were in the USA at the time this was released a lot of the extra tracks that were on the UK CD Remasters would have been new to you.

You’ve got some of the stuff from In Rock from the CD re-master there. Jam Stew, Cry Free. There’s a lot of tracks from Fireball, probably more than any other Deep Purple album. I think that’s because in the USA the track listing Fireball was different. They didn’t even know what Demons Eye was, as it wasn’t actually on the release itself. Included are Freedom as Strange Kind of Women and Slow Train which is a very good track. You’ve also got Painted Horse from Who Do We Think We Are. You’ve got Lazy from Made in Japan. There are quite a few tracks from Who Do We Think We Are itself and Burn.

The missing track for me is Mistreated. That’s the only place where this falls down, They probably put Coronarius Redig on as it’s a rare B side, but maybe they could have put Mistreated on rather than Might Just Take Your Life?

Then there are three tracks from Stormbringer, two from Come Taste the Band (Comin’ Home, the opening track, and not You Keep on Moving). For the Reunion you’ve got the rare track  Son of Alerik, which is a B side from the 12 inch version of Perfect Strangers (although they’ve given you the seven inch version here).

There is a rare track from Slaves and Masters, Slow Down Sister.  A shame they didn’t find the Snow, Ice and Fire track . The box set finishes with A Castle Full of Rascals (Purpendicular) and Seventh Heaven from Abandon respectively.

So well worth getting if you look on eBay. They say it’s quite rare, but if you are a completist like me, then it’s worth getting.

Phil Aston


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