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The Shadows - Life Story: The Very Best Of...

Review: Jack Foley

WHAT is there to say about The Shadows that hasn't already been written?

Guitar legends in their own right, and an inspiration to acts such as Clapton, Knopfler and The Who's Pete Thownshend, Hank Marvin, Bruce Welch and Brian Bennett deserve their place in music folklore.

It was during a hot Summer's day, in June 1960, that The Shadows entered Abbey Road's Studio 2 to record Apache, the track that was to become the instrumental hit of the decade. They haven't looked back since.

And this retrospective, entitled Life Story: The Very Best of The Shadows, is a fitting tribute to a great band, which paves the way nicely for their final tour, which includes two dates in the capital.

Comprised of 45 tracks, across two CDs, the album charts the progress they have made over the years, as well as their attempts to remain contemporary - most of which feel a little dated and, dare I say, desperate.

But CD1 is where the magic really lies, featuring the early years, when Marvin and co were setting the standard, and enjoying consistent top 30 success, with five No.1s, started, almost inevitably, by the success of Apache.

That tune, written by Jerry Lorden, is seldom bettered, although the likes of Albatross and the extremely poignant and achingly beautiful Theme From The Deer Hunter (Cavatina) come very close.

Elsewhere, tracks such as FBI, Wonderful Land, Man of Mystery and the sumptuous, Mexican flavoured Guitar Tango, bring back playful childhood memories of raiding my mum's old box of 45s and spinning them on her old record player (and I'm not even that old!).

Throughout, the consummate skill of Marvin's intricate guitar-playing remains a defining feature, flitting between upbeat to downright poignant with supreme invincibility.

The Shadows may have drifted towards the sort of Sunday morning specials of cover tracks designed to appeal to your mother in later years, which forms the basis of the second CD, and tracks such as Crockett's Theme, Every Breath You Take and Dancing In The Dark, but even during these lesser moments, there are some chords to savour.

Quintessential stuff, then, for anyone who has ever hankered after a guitar, and who are keen to rediscover the origins of some of the great guitar idols of the past.


Track listing:
Disc: 1
1. Apache
2. Man Of Mystery
3. Shadoogie '83
4. Shindig
5. Wonderful Land
6. The Rise And Fall Of Flingel Bunt
7. The Boys
8. The Theme From "The Deerhunter" (Cavatina)
9. The Frightened City
10. Theme For Young Lovers
11. Dance On
12. The Savage
13. Albatross
14. F.B.I.
15. Guitar Tango
16. Genie With The Light Brown Lamp
17. Atlantis
18. Foot Tapper
19. Don't Cry For Me Argentina
20. Kon-Tiki
21. Telstar
22. The Third Man
23. Geronimo
24. Equinoxe (Part V)
25. The Stranger
26. Riders In The Sky

Disc: 2
1. Mountains Of The Moon
2. Moonlight Shadow
3. You Win Again
4. Memory (from 'Cats')
5. I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues
6. Thing-Me-Jig
7. Life Story
8. Johnny Stacatto
9. Summer Love 59
10. Turning Point
11. This Old House
12. Chariots of Fire
13. Crockett's Theme (from 'Miami Vice')
14. Midnight Creepin'
15. Going Home (Theme from 'Local Hero')
16. Every Breath You Take
17. Africa
18. Walk of Life
19. Dancing In The Dark

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