Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: An Evening In Nivramdotdotdotdot
artworkThe Shadows were to Europe what the surf bands were to America, except that they survived in the mainstream for 30 years, and produced a lot of MOR material. Their sound was lighter and rounder, fewer notes employed, less energy expended, and they often augmented their records with strings. In their early years, they created some very good guitar instrumental rock. Hank Marvin created that Shadows guitar sound. They were Cliff Richards backup band as well. Their music has been the subject of tribute CD's before, but not as interesting or varied as this. An Evening In Nivram is a very solid compilation of music, not just a tribute CD. There is some surf here, though not much, but that only means more variety of instro sounds. I didn't care much for the Instrumental Fire compilation (also on MuSick), due to the inclusion of a bunch of lo-fi and so many tracks being from other CD's, but this is a different story. There are many great tracks, lots of fine performances, plenty of variation, and good musicianship. It is entirely instrumental, with the exception of the Boss Martians' "Don't It Make You Feel Good," which is a mediocre vocal number. This is a great CD, well worth adding to your growing instro library.
Picks: Main Theme, Apache, Gonzales, Atlantis, Man Of Mystery, The Savage, The Lute Number, Evening Comes, Tomorrow's Canceled, Tales Of A Raggy Tramline, Maroc 7, The Rise and Fall Of Flingel Bunt, Zambesi, Theme For Young Lovers, Back Home

Track by Track Review

Main Theme dotdotdot
Shadows Lounge (Instrumental)

One of the Shadows less interesting tunes, played well by the Omega Men. The guitar and organ are playing the same melody line, giving it an eerie sound. There are few changes, so I found this track to be quite repetitious.

Apache dotdotdotdot
Shadows Indian (Instrumental)

Canada's Falcons have finally issued something new, and it's about time. This Canadian band has a decidedly spaghetti-desert dramatic sound, which lends itself well to the Shadows music. This rendition of the Jerry Lordan song (made famous in the US by Jorgen Ingman) is stellar. It is highly rhythmic, and their variant of the bridge is very interesting. It's a grand and infectious track, well played and well recorded.

Gonzales dotdotdotdot
Shadows Surf (Instrumental)

The Huntington Cads deliver a hot and infectious performance on this highly rhythmic and wet rendition of this song made famous by the Shadows (not an original for them). It shows the power of surf damped guitar when applied to an otherwise non-surf tune. I think this is a truly fine arrangement, and does wonder for this song. Acording to Strato Cossack, Gonzales was really written by Bruce Welch, the Shadows' rhythm guitarist, but their manager (or somebody in the record company...) got the songwriting credit, as things happened back in '60.

Atlantis dotdotdotdot
Shadows (Instrumental)

One of my favorite bands does a pristine version of one of my favorite Shadows classics, and a fine Jerry Lordan composition. This band that was playing clean melodic spaghetti western and lounge six years ago, when no one thought it was cool. They pioneered the surfization of Martin Denny, and made way for bands like King of Hawaii and the Human Tornados. It is more than fitting that they appear here, with a fine version of this song. Miles Corbin makes it ring with his perfect tone and playing. Spectacular. This is a band to see if you get the chance!

Man Of Mystery dotdotdotdot
Shadows Mystery Surf (Instrumental)

A band overdue for another CD does a pretty strait cover of the Shadows doing this classic Carr song. I've always liked this song. The whammy chords give this a rich and almost Hawaiian sound. It's infectious, and clean. Nice version. The sax break is a nice touch, adding a diversion from the Shadows' sound, especially the Steve Douglas effect. Good track.

The Savage dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A pedestrian Shadows tune played very well.

The Lute Number dotdotdotdot
Acoustic Shadows (Instrumental)

An acoustic performance, recorded as a special project for this CD by Ivan Pongracic (aka Strato Cossack of the Space Cossacks) - lead guitar, his father Ivan Pongracic, Sr. on rhythm guitar, Catherine Gray (Space Cossacks) - bass, and Al Penzone - percussion. It is very pretty, and a solid change of pace here. Very nice track.

Evening Comes dotdotdotdot
Hawaiian Shadows (Instrumental)

How Hawaiian can you get? This is a solid song owing much to "Bali Ha'ai." It has those notes, and the proper Adventures In Paradise lap steel sound. Very sweet, and totally cool. I found myself coming back to this track, enjoying it each time. Where's my mai tai?

Tomorrow's Canceled dotdotdot
Shadows Tiki Bar (Instrumental)

Pretty standard fair for the Tiki Tones, pretty, but unremarkable. I could have done without the vocal harmonies in the background.

Tales Of A Raggy Tramline dotdotdotdot
Biker Fuzz (Instrumental)

Never have the Shadows sounded so big! King Fuzz and company issue forth another fuzz monster. With all the edge and grodiness you've come to expect from Davie Allan, this is a fine melodic adventure in Americanizing a British tradition. Hot grinding powerhouse.

Maroc 7 dotdotdot
Bachelor Exotica (Instrumental)

With oboe and electric sitar guitar tones hinting of Morocco, and those uncertain tones of the theremin, this is an interesting adventure in recreating the exotica craziness of the fifties with more energy and oomph. The vocal harmonies are perfect for the cheesiness of the track. Quite fun...

The Rise and Fall Of Flingel Bunt dotdotdot
Orange County Shadows (Instrumental)

Named after the Rick Griffin cartoon character that graced the pages of Surfer Magazine, this is one of the few Shadows tunes that the Southbay surf scene bands adopted (as opposed to the Orange County sound that is usually thought of as thee surf sound). Satan's Pilgrims deliver a strait cover filtered through their Orange County sound, recorded with ambient drums that are weak in the mix.

Zambesi dotdotdotdotdot
Plucky Shadows (Instrumental)

Deoras deliver a mighty infectious track here. Lot's of melodic energy, and Mike's pristine playing. This is thick and chunky, plucky, unpretentious, and damn fine. Totally fun, and glorious sounding. Maybe the best track on the CD.

Theme For Young Lovers dotdotdot
Shadows (Instrumental)

Teisco Del Rey delivers a pure and respectful performance on his tribute to Bruce Welch and the Shadows. The low-E vibrato guitar playing in sync with the lead is great, as is the duet, and the guitorgan (a classic and ancient merger of organ and guitar that only the ever cheesy and inventive Teisco Del Rey would play. It's a perfect instrument for loungie music. A fine interpretive performance. Fun and cool.

Back Home dotdotdot
Shadows Cowboy (Instrumental)

Country licks and layered sound from this ex-Sparks member. It's finely recorded, infectious, pretty, whammified, and very strong. The guitar playing reminds me a bit of the Baronics, though a lot less surfy.