Monday, December 24, 2012
Saturday, December 22, 2012
Sunday, December 16, 2012
Saturday, December 15, 2012
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Sunday, December 9, 2012
Saturday, December 8, 2012
Jim Capaldi drums, lead vocal
Gordon Jackson rhythm guitar, vocal
Dave Mason lead guitar, vocal (joined in 1964)
Dave Meredith bass guitar, vocal
John "Poli" Palmer drums, flute, vibes (joined in 1965)
This talented group was a part of the thriving Worcester beat scene in the early 1960s. Some of the members went on to be involved in the formation of well known and internationally acclaimed bands.
The Hellions were formed in 1963 when Jim Capaldi (born August 2, 1944 in Evesham of Italian parents) who had formerly played drums in a local group called The Sapphires, got together with guitarists Gordon Jackson from a band called Unit Five and Dave Mason who was previously in a local band called The Jaguars.
Dave Mason (born May 10, 1946 in Worcester) was already known locally as a member of The Jaguars, a group that included guitarist Michael Mann and drummer Roger Moss. The Jaguars, heavily influenced by groups such as The Shadows, played mostly instrumental numbers and had taken the initiative to finance the recording of their own limited edition single which they sold at their shows and by word-of-mouth. This "independent" method of recording and distribution is common today but at that time was quite revolutionary.
The early Hellions line-up tried several bass guitarists before Dave Meredith from an Evesham band called The Cherokees was chosen to fill the position. By 1964, the Hellions were becoming well known around Worcester and performed regularly at the Flamingo Coffee Bar.
The Hellions "turned professional" and accepted an engagement at the famous Star Club in Hamburg, Germany in August of 1964 as backing group to Walsall singer Tanya Day who was a minor celebrity at the time after an appearance on Thank Your Lucky Stars. The working conditions at the club were gruelling but the hard work paid off and the band became a much tighter unit due to the long hours of performing. Sharing the same hotel as the Hellions were fellow Midlanders The Spencer Davis Group whose young vocalist Steve Winwood, found much in common musically with Jim Capaldi and Dave Mason.
After returning from Germany, The Hellions soon established a reputation as a musically proficient act and they were hired to provide backing to visiting celebrities such as Adam Faith and Dave Berry. By the end of 1964, the group had made the right connections to secure them a residency at the trendy Whisky-A-Go-Go Club in London where they were seen by visiting American record producer Kim Fowley and songwriter Jackie De Shannon who was at that time writing hits for The Searchers. Jackie was impressed enough by the group to offer them a song to record and helped to arrange a contract for the Hellions with Piccadilly Records, a subsidiary of Pye.
The Hellions first single, entitled Daydreaming Of You, composed by De Shannon, was produced by Kim Fowley, who had previously worked with Birmingham's Rockin' Berries and would later produce the N'Betweens (later to become Slade). The Hellions record was certainly commercial and had an American west coast feel, but neither it or two other underrated singles released by the band in 1965 managed to reach the charts. However, a Hellions composition Shades Of Blue was recorded by lablemates The Rockin' Berries as a track on their first album. Though success in the charts was not forthcoming, The Hellion's work schedule remained busy and they soon went on tour to back the notorious American vocalist P.J. Proby. John "Poli" Palmer joined the band on drums later in the year which allowed Jim Capaldi to front the band as vocalist.
By 1966 with business expenses mounting, The Hellions moved back to Worcester, but the local scene had changed while the group were away in London. Their record company released a final Hellions single entitled Hallelujah but under the group name of "The Revolution" (the band did not find out about this until after the single's release). By this time, Dave Mason had left but undaunted, Jim Capaldi brought guitarist Luther Grosvenor (born 23 December, 1949 in Evesham) formerly from a group called The Wavelengths into the line-up and the band's name was changed to Deep Feeling (see Deep Feeling).
Daydreaming Of You/Shades Of Blue (Piccadilly 7N 35213) 1964
Tomorrow Never Comes/Dream Child (Piccadilly 7N 35232) 1965
A Little Lovin'/Think It Over (Piccadilly 7N 35265) 1965
Hallelujah/Shades Of Blue (Piccadilly 7N 35289) 1966 (released as by "The Revolution")
Deep Feeling - Pretty Colours(1968)
Friday, December 7, 2012
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Sunday, December 2, 2012
Friday, November 30, 2012
Wednesday, November 28, 2012
Monday, November 26, 2012
Indfødte lyde / Native Sounds -
Denmark Record Labels Vol.7
01 - Ode To The Aged
02 - Can't Stop Now
03 - Plastic Phantastic
04 - Wonderland
05 - Du Og Jeg Vil Altid Vжre Venner
06 - Шnsk Mig Held
07 - I Feel Okay
The Lonely One
01 - Dancing All The Night
02 - Tra-La-La-La
03 - Let Me Go
04 - Whoґs Gonna Walk You Home
05 - One Monsieur Dupont
06 - Komm Allein
07 - Kidieo
08 - Inspiration
09 - On A Day
10 - Birds In The Sky
11 - Kidieo (early take)
12 - Baby Blue (early take)
13 - Det Er Mig
14 - Ode To Billy Joe
15 - I Got News
16 - Baby Blue
17 - Youґre Haning So Low
18 - What Keeps Us Together
19 - Some Morning
Saturday, November 17, 2012
The Soul Album 1966
Otis Redding's talent began to surge, across songs and their stylesand absorbing them , with the recording of The Soul Album. In contrast to The Great Otis Redding Sings Soul Ballads, which was an advance over its predecessor but still a body of 12 songs of varying styles and textures, rising to peaks and never falling before an intense, soulful mid-range, The Soul Album shows him moving from strength to strength in a string of high-energy, sweaty soul performances, interspersing his own songs with work by Sam Cooke ("Chain Gang"), Roy Head ("Treat Her Right"), Eddie Floyd ("Everybody Makes A Mistake"), and Smokey Robinson ("It's Growing") and recasting them in his own style, so that they're not "covers" so much as reinterpretations; indeed, "Chain Gang" is almost a rewrite of the original, though one suspects not one that Cooke would have disapproved of.
He still had a little way to go as a songwriter -- the jewel of this undervalued collection is "Cigarettes And Coffee, co-authored by Eddie Thomas and Jerry Butler -- but as an interpreter he was now without peer, and his albums were now showing this remarkable, stunningly high level of consistency. Also significant on this album was the contribution of Steve Cropper, not only on guitar but as co-author of three songs. Further, as revealed in the remastered Rhino CD, Stax Records was starting to put more into his LPs in thew recording, taking more time and delivering a better, fuller sound than on the two preceding albums, especially where Al Jackson's drums and the Mar-Keys' horns are concerned.
Otis Blue: Otis Redding Sings Soul 1966
Otis Redding's third album, and his first fully realized album, presents his talent unfettered, his direction clear, and his confidence emboldened, with fully half the songs representing a reach that extended his musical grasp. More than a quarter of this album is given over to Redding's versions of songs by Sam Cooke, his idol, who had died the previous December, and all three are worth owning and hearing. Two of them, "A Change Is Gonna Come" and "Shake," are every bit as essential as any soul recordings ever made, and while they (and much of this album) have reappeared on several anthologies, it's useful to hear the songs from those sessions juxtaposed with each other, and with "Wonderful World," which is seldom compiled elsewhere. Also featured are Redding's spellbinding renditions of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction" (a song epitomizing the fully formed Stax/Volt sound and which Mick Jagger and Keith Richards originally wrote in tribute to and imitation of Redding's style), "My Girl," and "You Don't Miss Your Water." "Respect" and "I've Been Loving You Too Long," two originals that were to loom large in his career, are here as well; the former became vastly popular in the hands of Aretha Franklin and the latter was an instant soul classic.
Among the seldom-cited jewels here is a rendition of B.B. King's "Rock Me Baby" that has the singer sharing the spotlight with Steve Cropper, his playing alternately elegant and fiery, with Wayne Jackson and Gene "Bowlegs" Miller's trumpets and Andrew Love's and Floyd Newman's saxes providing the backing. Redding's powerful, remarkable singing throughout makes Otis Blue gritty, rich, and achingly alive, and an essential listening experience.
Friday, November 16, 2012
Indfødte lyde / Native Sounds
Denmark Record Labels Vol.6
01 - Johnny Guitar
02 - Trambone
03 - Seven
04 - Moonshot
05 - Big Boss Man
06 - Last Date
07 - Dr. Feelgood
08 - I Understand
09 - Fannie Mae
10 - Too Much Tequila
11 - Who Cares
12 - Great Balls Of Fire
13 - My Blue Heaven
01 - For You
02 - I Can Tell
03 - Orange Blossom Special
04 - Under The Boardwalk
05 - Stop Your Sobbing
06 - If You Need Me
07 - You've Got To Hide Your Love Away
08 - Can't You Hear My Heartbeat
Bobby Vee & The Crickets - Bobby Vee Meets The Crickets (1962)
He launched his career as a fill-in for the recently deceased Buddy Holly, Bobby Vee scored several pop hits during the early '60s, that notorious period of popular music sandwiched between the birth of rock & roll and the rise of the British Invasion. Though a few of his singles -- "Rubber Ball," for one -- were as innocuous as anything else from the era, Vee had a knack for infectious Brill Building pop, thanks to his ebullient voice as well as the cadre of songwriters standing behind him.
Born in Fargo, ND in 1943, Robert Thomas Velline was still in his teens when he formed his first combo, the Shadows, with his brother Bill and their friend Bob Korum. The trio were playing around the area when their big break came, at the expense of one of Bobby's musical idols; the Winter Dance Party package tour, with Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper were on their way to Fargo when their plane went down in Iowa, killing all three. The Shadows were scheduled to play the date instead of Holly, and several months later, producer Tommy "Snuff" Garrett supervised their first recording session and the release of the single "Suzie Baby" on Soma Records. Liberty/RCA picked up the single later in the year, and though it just barely scraped the pop charts, the label kept plugging with Vee as a solo act, recording him on Adam Faith's "What Do You Want?," which also failed to move.
With the collective might of the Brill Building behind him, though, Vee was guaranteed to make it; his third single, "Devil or Angel," hit the Top Ten in mid-1960, followed by "Rubber Ball" later that year. One year later, Vee's biggest hit, "Take Good Care of My Baby," spent three weeks at number one, followed by the number two "Run to Him." His fame appeared to wane after the 1962 Top Ten single "The Night Has a Thousand Eyes," due in large part to the success of the Beatles and other English acts. Vee appeared in several movies (Just for Fun, Play It Cool) and briefly tried to cash in on the British phenomenon -- with the disappointing Bobby Vee Sings the New Sound from England! -- but also recorded songs by his early influences, including Buddy Holly and the Crickets. Bobby Vee continued to chart throughout the '60s, and even hit the Top Ten again in 1967 with "Come Back When You Grow Up," but after a brief attempt at more serious recordings, he hit the rock & roll oldies circuit.
The reissue of this enjoyable album includes ten bonus tracks, including alternate takes, unreleased songs, and the "Buddy Holly Medley," a recent recording by Vee And The Crickets.
Buddy Holly The Crickets - The Chirping Crickets (1957)
The debut album by the Crickets and the only one featuring Buddy Holly released during his lifetime, The "Chirping" Crickets contains the group's number one single "That'll Be the Day" and its Top Ten hit "Oh, Boy!." Other Crickets classics include "Not Fade Away," "Maybe Baby," and "I'm Looking for Someone to Love." The rest of the 12 tracks are not up to the standard set by those five, but those five are among the best rock & roll songs of the 1950s or ever, making this one of the most significant album debuts in rock & roll history, ranking with Elvis Presley and Meet the Beatles.
The "Crickets" started out as pure fiction -- the name a ruse used by Buddy Holly, Jerry Allison, and Joe B. Mauldin to avoid the provisions of a 1956 contract that Holly had signed with Decca Records, that would have prevented the release of their then-new recording of "That'll Be the Day" on the Brunswick label. The name stuck, and for the next 15 months, there were records by the Crickets and records by Buddy Holly -- which were virtually interchangeable -- and they were billed as Buddy Holly & The Crickets. By the end of 1958, however, the references to "Buddy Holly and the Crickets" were becoming valid in the worst possible way -- Holly's shifting and expanding musical interests, coupled with his move to New York and marriage to Maria Elena Santiago, and the differing relationships that the three had with their manager, Norman Petty, led to a split between Holly and his bandmates in the months immediately prior to Holly's death in a plane crash on February 3, 1959.
The result of their split was a separate existence for the Crickets. Jerry Allison became de facto leader of the group, and they were soon a quartet again, with Sonny Curtis on guitar and Earl Sinks as lead singer. In 1959, still managed and produced by Norman Petty, they recorded "Love's Made a Fool of You" backed with "Someone, Someone," which failed to chart. Their next serious assault on the charts -- a version of Curtis' "I Fought the Law" cut for Coral Records -- vanished without a trace in 1959, and their rendition of "More Than I Can Say" also failed to find an audience for them, though it did wonders for Bobby Vee and, by extension, for Curtis as its composer. They recorded a handful of singles for Coral Records, and later signed to Liberty Records with Jerry Naylor in the lead singer spot (sometimes switching off with Sonny Curtis), in addition to recording with Buddy Holly soundalike Bobby Vee.
The group recorded for Liberty for four years, from 1961 through 1965, even doing their versions of several Beatles songs, but apart from a pair of minor hits, "My Little Girl" and "Please Don't Ever Change," were unable to generate any enthusiasm. One of Naylor's successors, David Box, died in a plane crash in 1964. They did find some lingering success in England, and the group even managed to appear in two jukebox movies on either side of the Atlantic, Just for Fun (1963) in England (doing "My Little Girl" and "Teardrops Feel Like Rain") and The Girls on the Beach (1965) in America (doing "La Bamba"), but by the end of the '60s, Mauldin had left music while Allison was singing lead; he and Curtis were also working as session musicians, and Curtis scored a huge success at the dawn of the '70s as the composer of the theme song for The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
Allison and Curtis were the core of the group in the early 1970's, mostly working as a touring act rather than a recording outfit, though new records did appear on various labels, including Mercury and MCA. In the wake of the revival of interest in Holly's music at the end of the '70s, the Crickets re-formed on a steady basis, with Joe B. Mauldin returning to the lineup after more than a decade out of music. In 1986, Curtis left the fold to re-establish himself as a solo performer, and was replaced by Gordon Payne on vocals. In 1988, they recorded the single "T-Shirt," produced by longtime fan Paul McCartney, which became a minor hit and led to the release of an LP of the same name from Epic Records -- their presence in record stores, however, is usually restricted to the Buddy Holly period and their early-'60s history.
The Crickets - Still In Style (1992)
The Shadows are usually thought of as the quintessential British instrumental group and, along with the American band the Ventures and the Swedish group the Spotnicks, one of the most popular instrumental groups in the world. But that barely tells the story of their true significance in the history of British rock & roll -- including the fact that they were the first home-grown British rock & roll band to dominate the U.K. charts; or that they weren't originally an instrumental group, either. The band's roots go back to Chesthunt, Hertfordshire, in early 1958, when a young Indian-born singer/guitarist named Harry Webb joined with drummer Terry Smart and guitarist Norman Mitham to form a group that they ended up calling the Drifters -- at the time, none of the records by the American R&B group of the same name, founded by Clyde McPhatter, had been released in England, so they had no inkling of the name's already being used.
The group played their first performance in March of 1958 at a dinner dance and, after a few weeks of local performances, they debuted at the 2I's coffee bar in London's Soho. The 2I's was renowned as the venue where Tommy Steele had been discovered, and was occasionally visited by producers, recording engineers, and managers in search of new talent -- it had, thus, become something of a rock & roll Mecca. the Drifters weren't signed overnight, but they did become immensely popular, playing some very convincingly American-style rock & roll, at least by the standards of the time in London. Indeed, at their shows, audiences were usually packed in too closely to dance, and the ten pounds they made each week between them in the beginning was serious money for three amateur musicians. In the course of their 2I's gigs over the next few weeks, they picked up one fan, John Foster, who became their first manager, and another, Ian Samwell, who joined them as a guitarist -- interestingly, they had no bassist in their lineup and didn't for quite a while, which set them apart from other bands but didn't seem to impede their progress.
The first of two name changes came up when they got an outside booking in Derbyshire -- at that point, Foster decided that "the Drifters" wasn't impressive enough as a name by itself, and wanted their vocalist to have lead billing. At that point, as the singer observed 40 years later, "[Harry Webb] didn't sound very rock & roll." And so, after some pondering of the possibilities, he picked up a stage name, Cliff Richards, with Samwell recommending that the "s" be left off. And Cliff Richard & the Drifters were born. A little more than 40 years later, he was Sir Cliff Richard.
By that time, the group was a quintet of Richard (who still played guitar as well as singing, in the early days), Mitham, Samwell, Ken Pavey (on third guitar), and Terry Smart -- and still no bassist. This five-man group recorded a demo in June of 1958, of "Breathless" b/w "Lawdy Miss Clawdy," which found its way to Norrie Paramor, a producer at EMI who, after seeing them in an audition, signed Richard to the company's Columbia label. And in July of 1958 the group, augmented by session guitarist Ernie Shaw playing lead and Frank Clarke on bass, backed Richard on his debut single, "Schoolboy Crush" b/w "Move It," credited to "Cliff Richard & the Drifters." The A-side was a pleasant, loping slow-tempo piece of teen pop/rock worthy of Fabian at his wimpiest; but "Move It" -- authored by Ian Samwell, no less -- was a pounding, driving rocker in the best Elvis Presley manner. And fortunately for all concerned, the record was "flipped" and "Move It" became the A-side. The record, released in late August, reached number two on the charts, and as it was climbing the listings, Cliff Richard began a series of appearances on the television show Oh Boy! in mid-September. All of these events -- the recording contract, the single, the chart placement -- ensured Richard's emergence to stardom, but the Drifters, at first, were another matter. Although he was willing to use the group on Richard's recordings, Paramor already felt compelled to use session musicians to enhance their sound in the studio; and as their audience grew along with the demand for shows in bigger and more competitive venues, it was clear that the group would have to adapt.
It was John Foster who, in the summer of 1958, went to the 2I's in search of a Liverpool guitarist-and-singer he'd heard about named Tony Sheridan -- he wasn't there, but Foster did find a pair of virtuoso guitarists named Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch; they were already members of a top skiffle group called the Chesternuts, and had made a couple of records. By September of 1958, Mitham and Pavey were gone from the group, replaced by Marvin and Welch. With a lineup of Richard, Marvin, Welch, Samwell, and Smart, they proceeded to play before crowds that were completely unprecedented for a home-grown British rock & roll band. Richard also abandoned his guitar, just as Elvis Presley had, and found the experience liberating, as his stage moves became all the more intense and downright provocative, so much so that they were regarded as highly controversial in the press. And the shows filled up and the bookings and the fees skyrocketed -- their sound was still a bit raw on-stage, but even that worked to their advantage at the time, giving the music still more authenticity than was typical for the time in England.
For that first year, the music was pure rock & roll on-stage and in the studio. The group's sound was toughened further in November when Ian Samwell dropped out of performing in favor of further cultivating his songwriting (which served him in good stead, along with producing, for the rest of his life); he was replaced by Jet Harris, who became the first stylistically important and notable rock & roll bassist in England, and almost single-handedly popularized the electric bass in British rock & roll. A second hit, "High Class Baby," made it to number seven in December of 1958, and a follow-up, "Livin' Lovin' Doll" b/w "Mean Streak," reached the Top 20 in January of 1959. And in early 1959, Tony Meehan, a drummer who was already making a good living in his mid-teens as a session musician, replaced Terry Smart, the last of the original Drifters. This was the version of the group that was finally signed in their own right to EMI. An album followed in February of 1959, cut live before an audience of extremely fervent fans at Abbey Road's Studio No. 1, which was issued under the title Cliff.
the Drifters name was changed to The Shadows in mid-1959 to avoid a conflict with the American R&B group, which had experienced a resurgence of popularity and whose records -- starting with "There Goes My Baby" -- were getting issued in England. The newly rechristened Cliff Richard & the Shadows dominated British rock & roll for the next four years. And beyond Richard's fame, Marvin, Welch, Harris, and Meehan all became stars in their own right, with Harris and Meehan regarded as one of the best rhythm sections in the business, with a huge fan following of their own, while Marvin and Welch were directly responsible for the sales of tens of thousands of electric guitars to teenagers. A story out of the early history of the Beatles illustrates their dominance -- John Lennon and Paul McCartney, both in their mid-teens at the time, knew that Richard and The Shadows were to appear on television one evening, and both were watching from their respective homes to look at Hank Marvin to see exactly how the intro to "Move It" was played. There was an effort early in 1959 to push Richard as a star in his own right, separate from the band, but it didn't come from the music side of the entertainment business -- rather, he was signed to play an important supporting role in the gritty juvenile delinquency drama Serious Charge. Later that same year, he and The Shadows were all seen in the comedy/drama Expresso Bongo, essentially playing dramatizations of themselves.
Practically overnight in the fall of 1958, the Drifters-cum-Shadows had become the top rock & roll band in England, a status they maintain even as Richard's singing career was gradually steered toward more mainstream pop and ballads. The band began to emerge as a recording act on their own while they were still known as the Drifters, in January of 1959, with the single "Feelin' Fine," a group vocal effort, the B-side of which, "Don't Be a Fool with Love," even featured them doing Belmonts-style harmony singing. A second single, "Jet Black" b/w "Driftin'" (still credited to the Drifters), was released in July of that year. And a third record, "Saturday Dance" b/w "Lonesome Fella," credited to The Shadows, and featuring vocals, was released in late 1959. All three were ignored by the public.
And then, in June of 1960, they recorded "Apache," an instrumental composed by Jerry Lordan that had previously been done by guitarist Bert Weedon -- and it topped the charts, riding the number one spot for five weeks. Over the next three years, they charted high with the singles "Man of Mystery," "F.B.I.," "The Frightened City," "Wonderful Land," and "Kon Tiki," the latter two reaching number one. All of these records showed phenomenal evolution in the group's sound from their rock & roll origins -- mixing electric and acoustic guitar sounds in a unique meld, they were catchy, memorable, hook-laden pop masterpieces, some with a hard rock edge but more often showing a unique level of precision for the work of a rock & roll outfit. And "Wonderful Land" also demonstrated a special command of orchestral timbres in juxtaposition with electric instruments (one must also ask how much credit producer Norrie Paramor, who had cut his share of instrumentals as a recording artist, deserves for some of these successes). The group's influence during this period can be measured not just by their chart success, but their obvious influence on other artists -- Sweden's Spotnicks, who became stars in their own right, emulated The Shadows' instrumental sound; and the Beatles, in their earliest official recording sessions (backing Tony Sheridan), in Hamburg, Germany during 1961, were allowed to cut a pair of songs of their own and gave one of those slots to a John Lennon/George Harrison-authored instrumental called "Cry for a Shadow," that was both a tribute and a gentle send-up of The Shadows' style.
The Shadows had also developed a stage presentation behind Richard in which they did little steps in unison. It seems incredibly hokey in retrospect, but one must remember that in the late '50s and early '60s, rock & roll in England was thought of as just another part of "show business" and entertainment, and the idea of dressing up the act with little contrivances wasn't so bizarre in that context. Other groups of the time, seeking success, emulated them -- and you can see the movie A Hard Day's Night poking fun at the band choreography, when the Beatles are clowning in the TV studio. On a more obscure but equally telling level, in the rock & roll/juvenile delinquency drama Some People (1962), directed by Clive Donner, one can see the members of the Bristol-based rock & roll band at the center of the movie running through the title song and suddenly start to do choreography that parodies The Shadows' stage moves.
In the fall of 1961, Tony Meehan left the band, owing to his unhappiness at the constant touring, and was replaced by Brian Bennett, another 2I's veteran, who had previously played with the house band on Oh Boy! and been a member of both Marty Wilde's and Tommy Steele backing bands. And six months later, Jet Harris left the band, to be succeeded by Brian Locking (aka Licorice Locking), another 2I's alumnus. These lineup changes were major events in the British music press at the time, and there was some question as to whether The Shadows could hold on to their audience -- especially when Harris and Meehan teamed together for a recording, "Diamonds," that bumped The Shadows' then current record from its chart position.
After a short transition period, however, the band found their popularity just as great as ever, and a string of hits followed across 1962 and beyond: "The Savage," "Guitar Tango," "Dance On," "Foot Tapper," "Atlantis," "Shindig," and "Geronimo." All of those made the Top Ten, with four placing at number one, through the end of 1963, carrying their success into the midst of the rise of the Beatles and the Liverpool sound. The group's first two LPs, The Shadows (1961) and Out of the Shadows (1962), both topped the album charts as well, and their next three long-players, Greatest Hits (1963), Dance with the Shadows (1964), and Shadow Music, all made the Top Five (the first two at number two). They also continued to appear on stage with Cliff Richard and played on most of his biggest hit records of the period. Locking was gone by 1964, replaced by John Rostill, inaugurating the longest-lasting lineup in the group's history, Marvin, Welch, Rostill, and Bennett comprising The Shadows from 1964 until 1973, when Rostill's death eliminated the permanent bassist's spot. From then on, The Shadows would emulate Roxy Music by employing bassists rather than taking them on as ongoing members. Their success was the envy of a lot of musicians, though they were never able to successfully crack the American market as anything more than a cult act -- indeed, on that side of the Atlantic, they tended to be thought of in the same vein as the Ventures, who came along at roughly the same time in the late '50s and have endured at least as long.
The Shadows -- often referred to informally as "the Shads" by their fans -- officially disbanded in 1968, on the tenth anniversary of their signing to EMI. Bennett devoted himself to a second career as a producer and arranger, while Marvin and Welch formed a Crosby, Stills & Nash-type trio with John Farrar in the '70s, with harmony vocals to match. But in spite of some gorgeous recordings, they were never able to leave The Shadows legacy behind, and by 1973, the group had been officially reactivated with Farrar as a member. The group remained active throughout the '70s and '80s, switching to the Polydor label with the start of the latter decade and still selling large numbers of records and CDs, as well as concert tickets in England and around the world. Marvin embarked on a solo career in 1990 which left the Shadows inactive for the next decade or so. But they reunited in 2004 for a series of farewell concerts that ended up being extended into the following year, and yielded a live album and a concert DVD.
The Shadows Vocals (1984)
Cliff Richard - 21 Today (1961)
Not many albums are titled after their release date, but October 14, 1961, was a significant date whichever way you look at it, as Cliff Richard finally advanced into adulthood. He could drink alcohol. He could vote. He could drive a car. He could even have sex. And the fact that he was already the single most popular and successful solo pop star Britain had (or would) ever produced did not diminish the significance of the event. His fifth album even opens with a distinctly stylized Shadows version of "Happy Birthday To You," over which Cliff, the band and sundry friends revel in his new found freedom... "we should get the young ladies a drink," says someone and, perhaps, we should be grateful that the track fades out quickly after.
In fact, it would not necessarily be a bad thing if the entire album followed suit. While by no means the nadir of Cliff's recording career, 21 Today is very much a portrait of the artist on auto-pilot, a succession of pleasant mid-tempo ballads, with Shadows-lite backing, soaring strings a-go-go and - the curse of British MOR later in the decade - the utterly wholesome oohs, aahs and echoes of an army of clean-living backing youths.
A couple of tracks buck the trend - "Without You" and "Tough Enough" are gritty Shadows-led stompers, while Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch's "Y'Arriva" at least packs an intriguingly mock-Spanish backing, to match vocal stylings lifted straight from an old Speedy Gonzales cartoon. There is also a bizarre version of "Tea For Two," Cliff giving it his best well-mannered showband vocal, while the Shadows noodle away in best smokey jazzclub style.
Overall, however, 21 Today is the sound of a singer growing old before his time and hindsight insists that it is no coincidence that, within a year of its release, the arrival of the Beatles had already consigned Cliff to Boring Old Fartdom. How, the sniggering Fabs fans whispered each other, how would he ever escape from those clutches? And, more importantly, would he even want to?
1-Cliff Richard -Happy Birthday To You (01:33)
2-Cliff Richard -Forty Days (02:45)
3-Cliff Richard -Catch Me (02:27)
4-Cliff Richard -How Wonderful To Know (02:37)
5-Cliff Richard -Tough Enough (02:14)
6-Cliff Richard -50 Years For Every Kiss (02:29)
7-Cliff Richard -The Night Is So Lonely (02:42)
8-Cliff Richard -Poor Boy (02:57)
9-Cliff Richard -Y'arriva (03:35)
10-Cliff Richard -Outsider (02:41)
11-Cliff Richard -Tea For Two (02:15)
12-Cliff Richard -To Prove My Love For You (01:50)
13-Cliff Richard -Without You (02:05)
14-Cliff Richard -A Mighty Lonely Man (02:13)
15-Cliff Richard -My Blue Heaven (02:26)
16-Cliff Richard -Shame On You (02:08)
Cliff Richard - 32 Minutes & 17 Seconds (1962)
When 1962 dawned, Cliff Richard was the biggest pop star Britain had ever known. By the time it ended, he was all but washed up, trampled beneath the stamping feet of Beatlemania. But did he even raise an eyebrow in concern? Did he, hell. The generation gap may have built a bridge right over him, but Richard wasn't slowing down for anyone. His last album was titled for its release date. His latest was named for its running time. Such brevity would scarcely be considered a selling point today, but still Richard's final release before Brian Epstein rewrote the rock & roll rule book, offers considerable value for money. Excellent versions of skiffle king Chas McDevitt's "How Long Is Forever" and Sid Tepper's "I'm on My Way" rank among his strongest ballad performances in some time, while another Tepper effort, "I'm Walking the Blues," could easily be "Travellin' Light" revisited, so closely (and knowingly) do voice and instrumentation ape that earlier hit. He brings an excellent new voice to "Spanish Harlem" only months after Ben E. King scored his original hit version, while "Let's Make a Memory" steps out of the same kind of arrangements which stirred the soundtrack to The Young Ones, only without the mawkishness which marred that production. There's also a deliciously sultry and echo-drenched "You Don't Know," a song which so desperately wants to be "Fever" that you can almost hear its pulse racing. Covers of "Blueberry Hill" and the Rodgers & Hart showtune "Falling in Love with Love" are little more than an exercise in treading water -- both could have appeared on either of Richard's last couple of albums without any modification whatsoever. But lest they tempt us to write off even portions of 32 Minutes & 17 Seconds as Richard on cruise control, the album also sets its boundaries with deliberate precision and triumphant defiance, and nowhere so volubly as the moment needle hits vinyl for the first time. As if already mindful of the challenge developing in the nightclubs of northern England, 32 Minutes opens with Richard's liveliest 45 of the era, the furiously rock & rolling "It'll Be Me." Indeed, the unaccompanied bellowed opening lyric -- "if you hear somebody knocking"...the flourish of keyboard and the sudden thump of the full band coming in is almost primal, a massive red flag being waved at the bullish young beat merchants gathering to topple his throne. And though he'd never be so vulgar as to say the words out loud, you know what Richard is thinking...let them gather!
1. Cliff Richard-It'll Be Me (01:56)
2. Cliff Richard-So I've Been Told (02:27)
3. Cliff Richard-How Long Is Forever (02:22)
4. Cliff Richard-I'm Walkin' The Blues (02:03)
5. Cliff Richard-Turn Around (02:26)
6. Cliff Richard-Blueberry Hill (02:41)
7. Cliff Richard-Let's Make A Memory (02:04)
8. Cliff Richard-When My Dreamboat Comes Home (01:47)
9. Cliff Richard-I'm On My Way (02:56)
10. Cliff Richard-Spanish Harlem (02:56)
11. Cliff Richard-You Don't Know (02:48)
12. Cliff Richard-Falling In Love With Love (01:44)
13. Cliff Richard-Who Are We To Say (02:43)
14. Cliff Richard-I Wake Up Cryin' (02:09)