From: Shadsfax Issue 28 (2000) 9–10

The Shadows
"50 Golden Greats"
EMI 7243 5 27586 2 3 [2CD]
Released 31 July 2000

CD1 Apache* / Man Of Mystery* / The Stranger / FBI* / Midnight / The Frightened City* / Kon-Tiki* / The Savage* / Shadoogie / Wonderful Land* (undubbed version) / Sleepwalk / Guitar Tango* / The Boys/ Dance On!* / Foot Tapper* (single version, mono) / Atlantis* / Shindig* / Geronimo* / Theme For Young Lovers* / Perfidia / Mustang / Cosy / Nivram / Little ‘B’ / The Rise And Fall Of Flingel Bunt* / Rhythm And Greens / Genie With The Light Brown Lamp*

CD 2 Mary Anne / Stingray* / Don’t Make My Baby Blue / The War Lord* / Thunderbirds Theme (stereo remix) / I Met A Girl / A Place In The Sun* / The Dreams I Dream / Maroc 7* / Slaughter On 10th Avenue / Something / Let Me Be The One / Don’t Cry For Me Argentina / Theme From The Deer Hunter / Rodrigo’s Guitar Concerto / Riders In The Sky (single version) / God Only Knows / Going Home (1983 promo single version) / Albatross / Nights In White Satin / A Whiter Shade Of Pale / Imagine: Woman / Memory

As expected, the enormously successful “20 Golden Greats” provides the basis for this new collection: the titles on that are starred above.

For the residue, as track-sequencing as well as track-selection shows, EMI have leaned very heavily indeed on the top-notch John Friesen 2CD compilation from 1990, “The Original Chart Hits … Plus Other Classic Tracks”; just look for starters at its Disc 1, tracks 1–9 and 10–25, and you’ll see exactly what I mean.

In fact, all but three of the forty-four EMI numbers on this new issue (Something, Rodrigo’s Guitar Concerto and God Only Knows) are to be found in the Friesen collection. In line with this, to mention only the more obvious sonic divergences, on “Original” / “50 Golden” Foot Tapper is in mono and The War Lord is in stereo, whereas on the “20 Golden” CD the former is in poorly focused stereo while the latter is served up for some reason in congested mono. On the other hand, while “Original” offered the reasonably clean-cut mono version of Midnight, “50 Golden” has opted for the unattractive stereo mix.

With a further two numbers the new compilation has parted company with both of its illustrious predecessors: (i) Theme For Young Lovers has that superfluous initial double note found on the mismastered “The Early Years”. It has made its escape to other lands, unfortunately, so it will probably never be eradicated! (ii) Wonderful Land is in its undubbed state, as on the 1993 CD (now deleted) “Everything Of Value”. But is a version without strings and things attached really appropriate for a hits collection of this kind? I was fully expecting to hear the sparkling stereo version which first saw the light of day on “Original”.

In incorporating Roll Over / Polydor material the marketing people at EMI clearly set out to have the best of both worlds. TV coverage highlighted the Golden Oldies/cricket bat side of things, whereas a widely distributed flier from the company declared: “This new compilation contains Shadows interpretations of well known songs like Nights In White Satin …”, and so on.

I really wonder if the tacking on of a mere half dozen tracks of this nature has had or will have much of an effect on sales. In any event, as an ardent admirer of such gems as Chattannooga Choo-Choo and The Flyder And The Spy, I would definitely take the fifty tracks of “Original” to my desert island in the sun rather than this latest assortment.

On the other hand, if your collection doesn’t yet take in this stripped-down Wonderful Land and the DJ edit of Going Home (for what it’s worth), then here’s your chance to get a hold of them without breaking the bank.


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