Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Shadows - The Shadows' Greatest Hitsdotdotdot
artworkThis is a fine set of greatest hits that is a CD reissue of a vinyl issue from the eighties. While they had almost no impact in the US at all, The Shadows are an essential part of rock instrumental history.
Picks: Apache, Man Of Mystery, F.B.I., Midnight, The Frightened City, Kon-Tiki, The Savage, The Boys, Dance On

Track by Track Review

Apache dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

While the US was treated to Jorgen Ingmann'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.

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.

Wonderful Land dotdot
MOR (Instrumental)

Melodic MOR for those afraid of the power of the guitar. The orchestral accompaniment relegates it to the fair propagated on the Safeway (supermarket chain) Network. If you are a Shadows fan, I'm sure you disagreed. Most that I have talked to think of this as one of their best. I just don't see it.

Stars Fell On Stockton dotdot
MOR Country Noodling (Instrumental)

Likely not titled for California's Central Valley town, though it does sport a certain cowtown feel. "Stars Fell On Stockton" is an MOR track with whistling and soft tones. It's god a nice enough melody, but of the sort that the K-mart radio network likes.

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.

The Boys dotdotdot
Euro Rock (Instrumental)

Like "F.B.I.," this is a melodic and playful track with warmth and friendliness, but little edge. Well written, and entertaining. Cool kettle drums.

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.