The Shadows

Live at the Paris Olympia

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On the one hand, the Shadows are among the last throwbacks to a brand of utterly professional, painstakingly precise package rock & roll that existed in England before the Beatles and their contemporaries came along and substituted passion for a degree of virtuosity. On the other, the Shadows were among the biggest boosters of the electric guitar in a culture that still wasn't certain of its feelings for American-style jazz, much less rock & roll. This expanded version of the live album they cut at the Paris Olympia showcases the group's virtues and flaws about as well as anything they ever did, and may be the best way -- other than picking up a handful of hits like "Apache" -- for the uninitiated to discover the Shadows. They were really "on" that night, in the midst of a European tour concurrent with their first chart success ("Let Me Be the One") in a dog's age. What's more, although the Shadows are known best as an instrumental outfit, they did sing occasionally, and reveal themselves as surprisingly good singers in a sort of sub-Beatles/ELO manner on songs like "Lady of the Morning," "Music Makes My Day," and a handful of other vocal numbers. And they show a lot of spirit, if not unbridled passion, throughout this show -- the Ramones had nothing to fear from the Shadows, except maybe from the virtuosity of Hank Marvin's fluid lead lines and the group's overall precision. All of the hits are here from across their career, along with several '50s rock & roll standards by which they do very well.

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