Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Shadows - Shadows Are Godotdotdot
artworkThe Shadows set the tone for Euro instros. I much prefered ex-Shadows Jet Harris & Tony Meehan, who IMHO were far superior with gems like "Diamonds" and "Scarlet O'Hara." The Shadows influenced a million other bands, and there's no denying their importance in that. They hold the position in Europe that the Ventures hold in the US, chameleons of rock instros, influencing many, but in the end, not particularly remarkable on their own in most instances. I know the Euro fans out there are gonna kill me, but I think they were way overrated.
Picks: Apache, Man Of Mystery, The Stranger, F.B.I., Midnight, The Frightened City, Kon Tiki, 36-24-36, The Savage, Peace Pipe, Mustang, Wonderland, Guitar Tango, Dance On, Spring Is Nearly Here, Perfidia, Atlantis, Shotgun, Theme For Young Lovers, The Rise and Fall Of Flingel Bunt, Stingray, A Place In The Sun, Thunderbirds Theme

Track by Track Review

Apache dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

While the US was treated to Jorgen Ingman's superior version of this Jerry Lordan classic, and then later Sonny James' vocal rendition, Europe was bathed in the Shadows rendition. Different, and much less delicate than Lordan's version, and missing the fingered string swipe arrows entirely.

Man Of Mystery dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

Intense sounding lead and a simple progression. It's nice enough, but so what. OK, so I enjoy it. It's just not very intriguing.

The Stranger dotdotdot
Euro Spaghetti Western (Instrumental)

Spaghetti Western-esq tune with a cool melody and a gentle energy.

F.B.I. dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is more like it, not that it's a killer tune or anything, but after some of the MOR podunk these guys have produced, it is a pleasant change to hear an actual rock instro. A simple progression / melody played mostly on the low-E over a light weight bed. It doesn't seem to suggest the title organization, either from the red-white-and-blue they're the best point point of view or the J. Edgar Hoover abused his power and set up his enemies point of view.

Midnight dotdotdot
Islandic MOR Rock (Instrumental)

Semi islandic MOR track, with very nice guitar work, but so tame it could please old granny in the rest home. As a side bar to a great set from a real surf band, this would work fine, but within a set of relatively boring tracks like much of this, it just doesn't stand out. I could see it in a surf set, but not as a featured item.

The Frightened City dotdotdot
Euro Whammy (Instrumental)

"The Frightened City" is a jerky tune with maximum whammy action. It's ominous and gentle too. Intense tone without quite getting in your face.

Kon Tiki dotdotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

This is the closest they got to surf. It has an Adventures In Paradise melody structure, but paced a bit faster than that classic TV theme.

36-24-36 dotdot
MOR Rock (Instrumental)

Dream on Bubba... with a meaningless track like this, you'll only see that kinda figure in your imagination, or on the pages of that mag you subscribe to in lieu of having a life. This is definitely NOT music to GET the girls by.

The Savage dotdotdot
MOR Rock (Instrumental)

With a melody closer to "Music To Watch the Girls By" than the savage title would suggest, this slightly aggressive track is a cut above the usual MOR fair from these guys. The tom-tom intro is sorta tribal, and the trotting rhythm track is sorta outdoorsy, but otherwise, it's pretty tame compared to the edge you'd expect from the name.

Peace Pipe dotdot
MOR Noodling (Instrumental)

Slow MOR noodling. Too pretty and tepid for words. Boring.

Mustang dotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

Western stereotype with nothing special to offer.

Wonderland dot
Euro MOR (Instrumental)

Yuk! More MOR crappola.

Guitar Tango dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

Listening to this, it's really hard to imagine that the Challengers actually covered it with more edge and energy than the original, a situation that is the reverse of their usual ploy. Sadly lacking in energy and interest.

Dance On dotdotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

This is the other really cool track on this CD, and was also well done by the Challengers. It has a great melody line, and is infectious, the sort of thing you can really dig while cruising down PCH with the top down.

Spring Is Nearly Here dot
Euro MOR (Instrumental)

Holy slop, Batman, is that really on here? MOR elevator slop. Yuk!

Perfidia dot
Euro MOR (Instrumental)

Jeez, the Ventures do the cha cha cha MOR upper crust prom.

Atlantis dot
Euro (Instrumental)

The strings ruin what might have been a good track.

Shotgun dotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

A slightly more edgy sound doesn't overcome a basically boring track.

Theme For Young Lovers dot
Euro MOR (Instrumental)

Pretty but unremarkable MOR slop.

The Rise and Fall Of Flingel Bunt dotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

Everyone else's version of this song is better than this lackluster rendition, and it's not even a very interesting song to begin with. It's more like Henry Mancini's "Banzai Pipeline" than a surf song worthy of Rick Griffin's classic cartoon character "Flingle Bunt." The Challengers covered this. It's not very surfy, but it has a Paul Johnson-like writing structure and sense of humor, it is a cool track too.

Stingray dotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

Way low-E lead work with distorted tone played really slowly, but with none of the coolness of the Centurions.

A Place In The Sun dotdotdot
Euro MOR (Instrumental)

Vibrato MOR, pretty with it's vibes and shimmer, but the horns foretell the Shadows' total washout into Housewife Rock.

Thunderbirds Theme dotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

Vibrato MOR number with glissandoes (really) and some energy. It's not great, but it is interesting.