When Atlantic Records announced that the Shadows were being groomed to take the Ventures' surf guitar crown away, a lot of people had their ears tested. No matter that surfing and the British shore were mutually exclusive concepts; the Shadows' very stagewear (suits and spectacles) set them aside from even the most adroitly turned out beach boy. When Hank and co. went to the seaside, it was to appear in pantomime. They probably didn't even get their feet wet. No matter. Their American debut album was titled Surfing With the Shadows, and the liners to their sophomore set continued the connection. "Listen to any of the Surfing and Hot Rod groups that sprang up on the West Coast during the past year, [and] you will clearly hear the mark of The Shadows...." Hot rods? The Shadows probably still drove Ford Anglias. The Shadows Know! is basically an abridged (ten songs) version of the U.K. Dance With the Shadows album, brought up to strength by the recent singles "Flingel Bunt" (misspelled "Blunt" on the album cover) and "Theme for Young Lovers." The cuts insist such swinging deviations as drummer Brian Bennett's "Big B" are excised, which in turn means it's Hank Marvin's show from beginning to end. Whether this ups the band's surfing and hot rodding quotient, however, is debatable. The Ventures, too, had their fair share of awkward covers and inland seizures, and they never shook the sand out of their shoes. But the four dapper dudes on the cover of The Shadows Know! would look more at home in a bank than a boardwalk, and the promise of "Chattanooga Choo" and "In the Mood" means that most young Americans would like to leave them there. So, yes, it's a great album and Atlantic remains a great record label. But really, would you buy a used marketing plan from them?
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AllMusic Review by Dave Thompson