• Source: Pipeline 73 (2007) p. 57
  • Reviewer: Alan Taylor

    Presented as 432 pages in a 4 1/2” x 6 1/4” soft cover format at a very reasonable price, this is a book that every Shadows fan should buy. Malcolm Campbell is well known for his series of Shadows discography books which make invaluable reference works for collectors of their music on vinyl and CD. With his latest publication Malcolm takes a different approach as he examines each track from a musical point of view. Taking every number in chronological order of release results in a fascinating history of the group as viewed from their recorded output, which is how most fans would have experienced it.

    Malcolm gives an introductory overview for the year, and then goes on to give a track by track analysis covering the recording date, original release date, format and number plus the composer credit. He then goes on to discuss the track’s musical merits and provides background information on its evolution and, where appropriate, any alternate Shadows versions. This makes the book far more than a reference work and much more readable than its predecessors. It transports the reader back to those halcyon times when a green Columbia label or laminated sleeve meant so much and fans will avidly devour the sections covering their favoured decades. As with the recordings, I suspect that the last few pages will be of least interest to most fans.

    For his previous book Malcolm worked with Les Woosey and this time he has also involved Rob Bradford. Along the way a draft was sent to Stuart Duffy, Mo Foster, George Geddes, Ulrich Sasu and Ray Steer for comment, so it is factually authoritative and almost certainly error free. However, whenever anyone expresses an opinion there is bound to be someone somewhere who disagrees, and particularly so when it is about an art form such as music. The Lady In Red: “one of the finest Shadows cover versions of the decade”? Hmmm … well I guess that’s not saying much, but describing The Moody Blues’ 1967 original of Nights In White Satin as “an overblown and self-indulgent sign of the times” does cause some concern in these parts.

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