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    The Shadows

    the shadows

    The Shadows 8 ( 1961 ) more best albums...
    Shadoogie / Blue Star / Nivram / Baby My Heart / See You in My Drums / All My Sorrows / Stand Up and Say That / Gonzales / Find Me a Golden Street / Theme from A Filleted Place / That's My Desire / My Resistance Is Low / Sleepwalk / Big Boy

    You might not like The Shadows, in fact you probably don't. Still, they had a massive 69 UK hit singles, 35 as 'The Shadows' plus 34 as 'Cliff Richard and The Shadows'. That's not bad you know? More than The Black Eyed Peas will ever enjoy, at any rate. Rather random comparison I know, but there is meaning in the madness. This debut album of theirs charted in only two countries, according to my incomplete records, hitting number one in the UK and number three in France, of all places. The album was recorded at the famous Abbey Road studios, although it was yet to be famous. The Beatles made it famous, but even the Beatles owed a stylistic debt to The Shadows, if nothing else. True, George Harrison was no Hank Marvin but the idea of a fully-formed, independant British group started with The Shadows, at least, as far as popular public concensus is concerned. I'm reviewing 'Cliff Sings' at the same time as writing this, listening to both together. When Cliff had the orchestra backing him and not The Shadows he sounded a hell of a lot less interesting. There is also a tie-in with Joe Meek, a huge favourite of mine. The Shadows eventually became a sanitised, acceptable version of what Joe Meek was trying to do with many of his instrumental groups, but that's to take nothing away from The Shadows who were at this stage a pretty exciting bunch. Sure, they may have been no Fabulous Flee-Rekkers, but Fabulous Flee-Rekkers only had one hit, The Shadows had 69. This is the only Shadows album by the way that features the original Shadows line up, Harris resigned in 1962. Ah, Jet Harris MBE, I thank you. In 1998 he was awarded a Fender Lifetime Achievement Award for his role in popularising the bass guitar in Britain, his brief tenure with The Shadows went on to influence many bass players during the Sixties and right through the to the Seventies. That he ended up as a brick-layer after having several hits with (also former shadow) Tony Meehan is something of a disgrace.

    Ah, I want to throw this in. A full three years before The Beatles debut LP wrote in history forever than British groups previously relied on American songs, this album features 7 original compositions, of which 'Shadoogie' at least is utterly superb and really showcases the talents of all involved. But ah, Jet Harris. Based on this album alone you could say he was amongst the greatest of all British bass players, alongside Chris Squire and Peter Hook, in my own private reckonning. Well, not private any more, but listen to the guy on 'Nivram' and try to tell me he wasn't utterly superb - what a feeling! 'See You In My Drums' proves what great musicians these guys were - were 'Yes' ever influenced by The Shadows, does anybody know? Great Piano on 'Stand Up And Say That' and I do admit something of a guilty pleasure as far as Sixties instrumental music goes. Well, British rather than American, never could quite fall in love with 'The Ventures' in quite the same way. A truly electric and exciting 'Gonzales' continue to ensure the album thrills and then 'Find Me A Golden Street' is utterly wonderful atmospherics. 'My Resitance Is Low' features several Joe Meek effects and it's a shame he never got to work with the group. Still, this a thoroughly absorbing album all should hear.

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    Readers Comments

    Mike Worcester
    The first album they made AND to my mind STILL the best overall Album. Fantastic tunes all through. The only EP that comes near this classic album is also entitled The SHADOWS , featuring : Shotgun, Theme from Shane, Mustang, ( My fav shads track) and theme from Giant.AS a Jet harris type Bass player myself I am a fanatic for these guys.

    top of page Out Of The Shadows 7 ( 1962 )
    The Rumble / The Bandit / Cosy / 1861 / Perfidia / Little "B" / Bo Diddley / South of the Border / Spring Is Nearly Here / Are They All Like You? / Tales of a Raggy Tramline / Some Are Lonely / Kinda Cool

    The Shadows, with or without Cliff Richard, were hot property in 1962. 'Out Of The Shadows' hit the UK top spot and spent the best part of three months there, stretching into early 1963. A word about Hank Marvin, naturally his lead guitar carries the sound, yet the rhythm section of Jet Harris on bass and Brian Bennett on drums are also crucial - particularly Bennett. 'Little B' is his main moment to shine, five minutes of drum heavy instrumental where he gets to showcase his many and varied talents - always nice (and rare) to find a melodic drummer. Opener 'Rumble' penned by American Jazz bassist and band leader Ike Isaacs swings in typical Shadows fashion, it dramatically rumbles towards its well-arranged close in just under two minutes total running time. 'The Bandit' proves once more that a vocal led 'Shadows' were little more than average 'beat' music, although being fair, we do get some surprisingly nice vocal harmonies. The thing about the likes of 'The Bandit' is of course it offers variety across the albums 13 tracks. At a time when albums and singles were entirely different entities and never the twain shall meet, 'Out Of The Shadows' is sequenced in a thoughtful way providing a mix of highs and lows, soft and hard. For soft, we get for instance the lovely romantic guitar instrumental ballad 'Cosy'. For the hard, we get offered the aforementioned 'Little B' alongside 'Bo Diddley' and 'Tales Of A Raggy Tramline'. Naturally, we're using a loose sense of the term 'hard' - The Shadows were hardly about to re-invent rock'n'roll, rather lead the way for a lot of British 'rock/pop' groups to come.

    Joe Meek lovers will adore the very Meek instrumental '1861' which segues nicely into the similar 'Perfidia', the best bit of which is the 'oooah!' backing vocals here and there, and Brian Bennett's entertaining drum fills. A final word for 'South Of The Border' which wins the award for finest 'twang' of the album.

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    top of page this page last updated 01/06/13

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