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Thread: The Shadows

  1. #1

    The Shadows

    This is embarrassing...I call myself "Guitar Geek", and yet, right now, I'm getting ready to sit down and listen to The Shadows, really, for the very first time. I've known for ages how important they were to the pre-Beatlemania UK, and in particular, Hank Marvin was the original patent British guitar god who inspired many soon to be guitar gods, including Knopfler, Gilmour, May, etc. He, Bruce Welch, and Jet Harris reportedly had the first Fender guitars to arrive in the UK. And though George Harrison once claimed The Beatles really didn't take much influence from The Shadows, they did have an instrumental early on called Cry For A Shadow, which was a nod toward Hank and the lads.

    I think actually I watched a few videos on Youtube like 10 years ago, but I've never owned anything by them. Until now. Rather than wimping out and just buying some CD reissue of the first one or two albums or whatever, I decided to go whole hog and bought something called The Shadows: The Early Years 1959-1966. This purports to give us all of their recordings (not counting the stuff where they backign Cliff Wassisname) from the era noted in the title, including the five songs they recorded as The Drifters before changing their name so they wouldn't get in trouble with the American Drifters (I guess they couldn't just call themselves The Drifters UK, or The English Drifters, eh?).

    So what of it? Anyone else here into The Shadows?

  2. #2
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    They were so much of the fabric of English rock that it is difficult, at this late date, to unweave them and determine exactly what they DIDN'T influence.

    I hear pre-echoes of Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac, Stan Webb's Chicken Shack, John Mayall, Keef Hartley, Yardbirds, Led Zeppelin... basically everything that followed. Hank Marvin was the godhead.

    Of course it's fun to compare them to The Ventures and Dick Dale as well.

  3. #3
    Member Vic2012's Avatar
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    Recommend a good Shadows album ( without Cliff Richard. I'm only interest to hear Hank Marvin)

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    Hard to go wrong with the original 1963 The Shadows' Greatest Hits with this cover.

    https://www.discogs.com/The-Shadows-.../master/189819

    This would have been invaluable at the time because none of these singles had been on an album before (as was standard in the UK). This is most of their A-sides and some of the B-sides up to and including 'Dance On'. The hits started to dry up by the mid 60s...although the mid-late 70s saw a resurgence.

    Of their albums I love the debut. A couple of vocal numbers haven't aged so well (they got better later) but the instrumentals are great- 'Shadoogie', 'Blue Star', 'Nivram', 'Gonzales' etc.

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    something called The Shadows: The Early Years 1959-1966
    This is a repackage of an earlier set but this new one is considered superior. For anoraks, this repackaged set may well have been the first Shadows release ever to have the stereo mix of 'FBI' on CD. It was done way back in the early 60s for a US album* (a failed attempt to break them in the US...I guess The Ventures/Duane Eddy etc. were deemed to cover this territory) but EMI seemed unaware of it for decades, instead using a crappy 70s fake-stereo mix.

    *https://www.discogs.com/The-Shadows-...elease/7102120
    Last edited by JJ88; 3 Weeks Ago at 12:17 PM.

  5. #5
    Member Vic2012's Avatar
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    Heard a handful of Shadows tracks. Just a mix from the Tube. It's not anything I'd listen to on a regular basis but if you're a Stratocastor fan it's worth a spin. I like Strats so I gave it a whirl. Best song was Thunderbirds Theme. The other tracks were a bit sappy.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Vic2012 View Post
    Recommend a good Shadows album ( without Cliff Richard. I'm only interest to hear Hank Marvin)
    If you're looking for just one album, the first eponymous album is really good. But a lot of their best stuff was on their singles, like Apache, F.B.I, and Man Of Mystery. Of course, in the UK, singles/EP's were typically kept separate from LP's, and The Shads were no exception.

    I think the best thing you can get at the moment is the set I mention in the OP. It's six CD's, has everything they recorded without Cliff during the said era, and it preserves the running order of albums.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Guitar Geek
    something called The Shadows: The Early Years 1959-1966
    This is a repackage of an earlier set but this new one is considered superior.
    Yeah, the liner notes mention the original version of the set came out in 1991, but this version is from 2013.
    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88
    For anoraks, this repackaged set may well have been the first Shadows release ever to have the stereo mix of 'FBI' on CD.
    According to the liner notes, the master tape was missing for nearly 50 years, having only been tracked down in 2008. There's a few other songs that appear in proper stereo for the first time on this set, too, like Lady Penelope, another one where the master tape had gone missing decades.
    a failed attempt to break them in the US...I guess The Ventures/Duane Eddy etc. were deemed to cover this territory
    You had two things happening. One was the number of homegrown instrumental acts we had over here. The other problem was how many people recorded essentially the same tunes. For instance, The Ventures had the hit with Walk Don't Run, but The Surfaris subsequently recorded their own version. Conversely, The Ventures recorded their own version of The Surfaris' hit Wipe Out. The Ventures also recorded versions of Pipeline (The Chantays' hit), and numerous tunes properly associated with others.

    In the case of The Shadows, their version of Apache got beaten Stateside by a recording by Danish guitarist Jorgen Ingmann. The Ventures also recorded Apache, and I'm sure every other instrumental band with a record deal at the time recorded it too.

    I think that happened to a lot of people, you'd record a song and release it as a single, expecting it to at least be modestly successful, but then someone else's version would end up squashing your recording like a bug.

    So you kinda had this saturation thing happening, whereas I imagine in the UK, The Shadows were relatively unique, the marketplace probably wasn't as crowded as it was here, and also because they were Cliff's back up band, that kinda gave them a degree of visibility that they wouldn't have if they were just an otherwise anonymous quartet trying to break into the big time.

    Edit: a cursory glance at my double LP The Best Of The Ventures compilation reveals that The Ventures and The Shadows recorded no less than four of the same songs: Apache, Sleep Walk, Perfidia, and Ghost Riders In The Sky (though I believe The Shadows version of that last one came much later). There were probably others, but those are the ones that are on the on best of I own.
    Last edited by GuitarGeek; 3 Weeks Ago at 03:21 PM.

  8. #8
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Edit: a cursory glance at my double LP The Best Of The Ventures compilation reveals that The Ventures and The Shadows recorded no less than four of the same songs: Apache, Sleep Walk, Perfidia, and Ghost Riders In The Sky (though I believe The Shadows version of that last one came much later). There were probably others, but those are the ones that are on the on best of I own.
    True. 'Apache' aside- written for The Shadows by Jerry Lordan but a hit in the US for Jorgen Ingmann- the others were all instrumental standards of sorts anyway. 'Riders In The Sky' in instrumental form was a hit for The Ramrods, 'Sleep Walk' for Santo And Johnny. 'Perfidia' goes back to big band days at least.

    They also have 'Slaughter On 10th Avenue' (The Shadows' version of this is great but highly 'arranged'), 'Blue Star' and 'Walk Don't Run' (done by The Shadows in the late 70s) in common.

    Cliff Richard himself had some big US hits in the 70s/early 80s but not many before that. I think 1959's 'Living Doll' sold OK for a UK artist at that time. Many of his better 60s hits in the UK were written by The Shadows. (Various members also wrote many of Olivia Newton John hits.)

    Of The Shadows' vocal tracks, I'm particularly partial to a mid 60s one called 'My Way' which is sort of power pop-ish. And I really love the CSN/Simon and Garfunkel-style albums they did under the Marvin, Welch and Farrar banner.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vic2012 View Post
    Heard a handful of Shadows tracks. Just a mix from the Tube. It's not anything I'd listen to on a regular basis but if you're a Stratocastor fan it's worth a spin. I like Strats so I gave it a whirl. Best song was Thunderbirds Theme. The other tracks were a bit sappy.
    Try the earlier stuff- 'Apache', 'Man Of Mystery', 'The Frightened City', 'FBI', 'The Savage'. The track 'Wonderful Land' (which Mike Oldfield later covered) was their first to have strings, I think, and their sound did soften around that time. Also Hank Marvin used Burns guitars a lot starting around 1963 so you're not necessarily hearing Fenders on the later stuff.

    https://reverb.com/uk/news/a-brief-h...h-guitar-brand

  11. #11
    Member Vic2012's Avatar
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    I owned an American Stratocaster in the 70s. And I effed it all up. I painted it, routed the wood, changed the pickups, and I turned it into a worthless piece of junk. I'm still kicking myself over that.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by JJ88 View Post
    Also Hank Marvin used Burns guitars a lot starting around 1963 so you're not necessarily hearing Fenders on the later stuff.
    Right, I remember a piece in Guitar Player back in the 90's, about Burns Guitars, which was suggested that one of the reasons they didn't really become popular Stateside is because their "flagship" model was named after a guitarist that most Americans had never heard of.

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Vic2012 View Post
    I owned an American Stratocaster in the 70s. And I effed it all up. I painted it, routed the wood, changed the pickups, and I turned it into a worthless piece of junk. I'm still kicking myself over that.
    That's why I don't believe in customizing guitars in any irreversible way. It's one thing to change pickups (to hell with Joe Bonnasmasa and his "even the solder joints change the sound" dren), it's another to drop a Floyd Rose into a guitar that didn't have one to begin with. If you wanna put a humbucker in your Strat, get one of those ones that fits into the space of a single coil pickup, like a Seymour Duncan Hot Rails. Unless of coures it had humbuckers to begin with.

    Dropping a Floyd Rose and humbuckers into a Fender that didn't have them originally is a bit like asking your girlfriend to get a boob job. There's who knows how many guitars with that stuff on them already, go play one of those guitars.

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    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    (to hell with Joe Bonnasmasa and his "even the solder joints change the sound" dren)
    Rosin-core solder is warmer than wave solder

    Quote Originally Posted by GuitarGeek View Post
    Dropping a Floyd Rose and humbuckers into a Fender that didn't have them originally is a bit like asking your girlfriend to get a boob job.
    Um.... both are fun to play with, but lower the resale value?

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    Rosin-core solder is warmer than wave solder
    The smiley face suggest you're being facetious, but I did read where Bonnamosa was asked if he'd ever tried changing any of the electronic components on any of his guitars, e.g. different pickups, different value potentiometers or capacitors or whatever, and he said something to the effect that he "got burned" doing that on a couple guitars. According to him, when he swapped back to the original components, he could hear a difference in tone, and blamed it on the solder joints. Yeah, whatever

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    'Apache' was the big breakthrough but they had quite a few flop singles before that...none of which are especially good. Some of these are from when they were called 'The Drifters'.

    Also worth noting that Cliff's first record 'Move It'- an important record in the history of UK rock- actually doesn't have any members of what became The Shadows on it. His (live) debut album uses 'The Drifters' though, they had a few of their own numbers on it.

    Cliff's catalogue is a bit of a mess really, about the best collection of the early rock is this:

    https://www.discogs.com/Cliff-Richar...elease/3345710

    Although even this has an alternate version of one of his best early rockers, 'Dynamite'.

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