From: Shadsfax Issue 33 (2001) 6–7
CD1 The Third Man / Thing-Me-Jig / Runaway / All I Have
To Do Is Dream / It Doesn’t Matter Any More / Johnny B. Goode / Over In A Flash /
Summer Love ’59 / Oh Boy! / Crying In The Rain / Arty’s Party
With so many pedestrian releases around it is refreshing to see something that is actually out of the ordinary. True, CD1 saw the light of day twelve years ago (Polydor 839 349 2), and CD2, drawn from a performance at the Liverpool Empire in 1989, has already been issued, though illicitly, in digital format: that same year it was purloined from a Japanese Laserdisc by an Italian outfit, for want of a better term, and given the pretentious title "The Definitive Live Album" (HQ Records, HQ 06). Here however is a chance to get a hold of the two performances, the second remastered by Dick Plant and Brian Bennett, at less than the going rate for a full-priced single disc. You have your editor to thank by the way for yet another inspired release: as it says in the liner notes, this pairing was "an idea originally conceived by Tony Hoffman".
Neither of the previous CDs offered any comment or guidance on programme. That is put right now. A brief introduction from Rob Bradford is followed up with an extended (and eloquent) appraisal of group and music by David Martin, who has done so much to promote the cause of The Shadows, particularly with his popular ShadowMusic Website and with his fine Burns-based group, Legend, who include such neglected gems as The Flyder And The Spy in their repertoire. Some good action pics from Dave Holbrook and Dave Hawley contribute further to the release’s appeal.
The description applied to the Liverpool performance by the video release, "At Their Very Best", may be fanciful, but there is still much to enjoy, in both sets. On CD1 Over In A Flash, as it title implies, is very much a one-off, but an entertaining one. The Shadows (unlike The Hunters, for example) never committed to vinyl an instrumental of one of the enduring hits of the 60s, Del Shannon’s Runaway, but they offer a vocal version of it here, taken at a relaxed pace, with some fine harmonies and an expressive lead guitar. None of the other five vocals formed part of their studio output either. On CD2, of most interest to fans of the mature Shadows sound must be Captain Haddock Is Missing, a seven minute tour de force from Brian Bennett. The solitary vocal, True Love Ways, is another unique track, on official releases at any rate.
There are some errors in the annotation, but the only major grumble I have is with the inaccurate track-listing for CD2/2, taken over from the video or from the Italian job mentioned above.
I know that many collectors have regretted not investing in the "Live At Abbey Road" CD when it first appeared. See For Miles will presumably want to keep this choice issue on their books for some time to come, but you never know: I would snap it up while the going is good. We are not likely to see another release as distinctive as this until the BBC collection finally finds (or should that be "fights"?) its way into the shops.
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