THE SHADOWS – ANOTHER STRING OF HOT HITS (MUSIC FOR PLEASURE MFP 5630) 1980

“Walk Don’t Run”

A collection of instrumentals from 1967 to 1980

This album set me back £2 from a second-hand shop a few weeks ago and it’s in great shape, probably never been played. It’s the 1983 re-issue version of a collection of Shadows recordings mostly from the seventies.

To be fair, the Shadows were well past their prime when this album came out but there was obviously a demand for their material. So much so that this was repressed a few times. I’m not sure why because the seventies tracks are tripe.

Don’t get me started on the horrendous disco-fused thud-thud-thud mutilation of the opener “Black Is Black”. What on earth were they thinking? Everything is WRONG! The uptempo drum beat, the synth noises and the unforgivable bleep-bleep tom effect / noise from a drum machine. AWFUL.

The Shadows even destroy the classic “Midnight Cowboy”, attempted in 1969 but should have been left in the can. Will anything be worthy on side one? “God Only Knows” – is my question as well as a Beach Boys song they have also murdered in 1975. It starts off sounding like the ‘Steptoe And Son’ theme tune then gets worse. At least they have a go at some background harmonies.

The reverb heavy and tiresomely slow “Stardust” from 1967 was my last hope but it failed to register with me. Considering that the world was going day-glo and way-out in ’67, it’s strange that all the Shadows seemingly wanted to do was snuggle up next to an open fire and play their grandad friendly instrumentals.

When I listen to any album I always play the record all the way through twice. This means I’m going to have to endure these sonic mishaps all over again. When did it all go wrong Hank Marvin?

I can only hope and pray that the Shadows were trying to invent a time machine in 1980 so they could travel back to the pre-Beatles beat era – a period in time when they were recording some masterpieces.

Surely they didn’t rate this material? Everything on “Another String Of Hot Hits” was arranged and produced by the Shadows themselves so they couldn’t even blame someone else with the overall creative and technical control of the entire recording projects.

Can it all get better?

Side two starts off with their version of “Walk Don’t Run” which is a ‘shadow’ of the original but still a decent effort. I can believe in this recording apart from the ‘modern’ drum sound. It appears that the Shadows enjoyed recreating The Ventures classic in 1977.

Nothing much else appeals to my senses, the tunes are just not beaty enough for my particular taste. “The Most Beautiful Girl” is abysmal, the Beach Boys “Good Vibrations” gets their instro treatment but fails to muster up any of my interest.

The plaintive “Trains And Boats And Planes” recorded in 1967 is much better than anything else out of the fourteen track selection. The drums and percussion sound like they should. And is that a Bouzouki being played by Hank? A good tune executed with the skill and the assurance I expect from the Shadows.

“Something” has a decent arrangement and can be considered a success but the next number “Superstar” had me cringing behind my pint of cider. It all sounds just too mechanical, the synthetic drums are a mistake but those electric things were newfangled and commonly used in the late seventies by disco outfits and groups using electronic musical instruments.

charity shop purchase @ £2

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