The Shadows

Out of the Shadows

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The Shadows' second album is one of the group's better efforts, though not a very hard-rocking one. By this time, the Shadows were moving in a direction similar to that of Cliff Richard, aiming for a wider, more mature audience that was attuned to more than rock & roll. Much of what's here, including "Perfidia," "Spring Is Nearly Here," and "Some Are Lonely," could pass for adult pop music more easily than rock & roll, though there is some of that, what with numbers like "The Rumble," "Tails of a Raggy Tramline" (a "Telstar"-like instrumental), the Hank Marvin-Bruce Welch "Kinda Cool," and Brian Bennett's "Little 'B'" (a great drum showcase that doesn't wear out its welcome at all). That material is augmented by the presence of several country & western-style (!) numbers, by way of the Kennedy-Carr songwriting team ("The Bandit," "South of the Border") and the group's own composition efforts, most notably "1861," which would have been a great theme for a Western television series of the era -- the latter showcases lead guitarist Marvin's precise and elegant picking. This repertory seems to have been the group's and producer Norrie Paramor's attempt to tap into the folk music boom of the period, and "The Bandit" is a moment of genius, with the group harmonizing almost like the Kingston Trio. Regardless of the idiom in which they're working, the playing is lean, tight, and melodic, displaying the same qualities that the group brought to Cliff Richard's recordings during the first half-decade of his career. Marvin and Welch play their guitars like they're the same person, and Bennett proves himself perhaps the best full-time band drummer in England at the time, providing tasteful fills and little percussion embellishments that were beyond the ability of most rock & roll drummers at the time, and outdoing himself on "Little 'B'." The one grotesquely weak moment here is the cover of "Bo Diddley" -- the band should have known better than to attempt it, and Paramor, if he understood rock & roll at all, should have declined to release it, instead giving the world what has to be the wimpiest version one is ever likely to hear. There are, indeed, a few too many soft instrumental numbers breaking up the rock & roll that does work, but the album holds up.

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