Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Record Collection Random Choice (RCRC) - S: The Shadows - 50 Golden Greats

After The Beatles and The Stones, The Shads (as the cool kids would probably call them) are arguably the most successful British Band of all time.

In excess of 30 million records sold (in all guises of their career), 5 Number Ones, 16 Top 10 singles, plus another 30 or so as backing band to Cliff Richard.

This compilation is an update of the multiple selling 20 Golden Greats from 1977, and brings together the the big 50s and 60s hits, and adds later material and cover versions into the mix.

They effectively stopped producing new material and became a cabaret / covers band between the original release and the end of the 1970s.  But hey, when the songs and the playing is this good who cares - Hank B Marvin, you have one of the most recognisable playing styles in the world of all things Rolling and Rocking.

And all the big hitters are here - "Apache" (which was later "re-appropriated" as the basis beat for early hip-hop via Michael Viner's Incredible Bongo Band), the twang of "FBI", the shrill tones of "Man Of Mystery", the sheer swing and happiness of "Dance On", the cinematic sweep of "Wonderful Land" (now there's a tune crying out to be appropriated by Quentin Tarantino) - and many more that will make you think "why do I not listen to The Shadows more often? they're bloody good, they are".
As are a choice selection of the later interpretations of popular tunes ("Something", "Riders In The Sky", "Cavatina" (the Theme from The Deer Hunter), even The Shads take on Fleetwood Mac's "Albatross").
The later material somehow don't feel as essential, and at times feel like "music by numbers" or like your stuck in an elevator, but the playing is top notch, the production is up there, and you just know there is an air of total professionalism about it - they're not just doing it for the money, they are wanting to give the very best performance each time.

Put it on, sit back, get on with your day (this is music to do stuff by, it is not hard work, or "stop in your tracks and concentrate" stuff), and 2 hours later the world isn't such a bad place after all.

I've owned this for a few years, and a couple of other Shadows compilations take up shelf space, but I have (as far as I recall) knowingly said to myself: "Tonight, I will be mostly listening to The Shadows".

More fool me!!


Ghost Riders In The Sky

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