The Shadows, England's most popular and longest-lived instrumental rock & roll group, have been anthologized countless times. The wide availability of comprehensive and hit-oriented collections reduces the appeal of The Original, a budget package from Holland's Disky label. The Original compiles 18 original recordings spanning the group's career through changing lineups from 1961 to 1980, and includes several big British hits. Only one of the group's British number ones is presented (the lushly orchestrated "Wonderful Land"), and many of the selections are not hits at all but covers of famous tunes by like-minded instrumental rock acts such as Duane Eddy ("Shazam"), Link Wray ("Rumble"), and the Ventures ("Walk Don't Run.") Most of the recordings are drawn from the early and mid-'60s, but two cuts represent the Shadows' late-career efforts: a long version of "Perfidia" and a disco rendition of "Riders in the Sky" that nearly cracked the British Top 10 in 1980. The sound quality is fine, but the haphazard repertoire and lack of liner notes are indicative of the budget price.
AllMusic Review by Greg Adams