From: Shadsfax Issue 36 (2002) 6–8
Cliff Richard & The Shadows
The Shadows Tony Marsh intro + Apache-Shazam! / Shadoogie / Wonderful Land / All My Sorrows (vcl) / Quarter To Three (vcl) / Nivram / Little ‘B’ / FBI
Cliff Richard & The Shadows Tony Marsh intro / Do You Wanna Dance / Dim, Dim The Lights / My Blue Heaven / Razzle Dazzle / Rovin’ Gambler / Save My Soul / When The Girl In Your Arms / I Got A Woman / ‘The Young Ones’ medley: Lessons In Love / Got A Funny Feeling / The Young Ones / We Say Yeah
This limited edition is termed a “CD Special Version”, the CD being dwarfed by its packaging, a 7” x 7” foldover sleeve with compartments housing four b/w prints of Cliff and a facsimile of the original concert programme. A regular release is promised for later in the year.
It was tantalising to find as large as life in the 1997 4CD Box Set ‘The Rock ’n’ Roll Years 1958–1963’ two Cliff & The Shadows’ numbers from the Kingston concert, a concert taped and processed long long ago, only to be left lying idle in the EMI vaults. And since EMI had originally intended to make the entire concert part of the Box Set and then had a change of heart*, Shadows’ fans were left wondering when on earth they would get the chance to hear anything of the group’s own contribution to the proceedings.
Well, it’s all here now, and it’s easily as good as the earlier samples suggested it might be. As there is a lot of ground to cover, I will pass over the background details to the recording, since these are discussed by Peter Lewry and Nigel Goodall in the accompanying annotation.
In one sense the set is not anything out of the ordinary, in that it is entirely typical of the high standards of stage performance attained by 1962. I attended two Cliff & The Shadows’ concerts (my first ever) in early February 1962. I do not pretend to remember the entire programme, though Quarter To Three was definitely part of it**. But I do recall being bowled over by the sheer professionalism of both Cliff and the group, and in particular by their easy-going rapport with a very excited and excitable audience — exactly as on the CD.
To turn to what is on offer. First, a slight niggle. Why isn’t Tony Marsh’s introduction given its own track allocation, as it is for Cliff subsequently?
The labelling of track 1, Apache-Shazam, is a shade misleading. There’s just a snatch of the killer single before the group launch into a flowing and punchy rendition of the Duane Eddy classic, a regular part of their repertoire in the early 60s. There had already been a live version on the South African EP released (though not in this country) in 1961; UK listeners to Radio Luxembourg would have caught the number more than once on the ‘Me And My Shadows’ sessions.
The same goes for the next one up, Shadoogie (Guitar Boogie on the South African EP). The 1961 LP version was really a one-off; the different sequence on track 2 here at 0:46 (exactly comparable to the South African/Luxembourg versions) seemed to be recurrent in live performances of the 60s, and indeed crops up, in more elaborate form, on the reincarnation Shadoogie ’83 (0:47 onwards).
Wonderful Land is introduced by Bruce as the single released “last Friday”. The group would have learned probably shortly after the concert that it was now lodged in the Top Ten, on its way to Number one. Isn’t it amazing how Hank managed to capture that sound without the aid of a Gretsch?
The following number, All My Sorrows (from The Shadows LP of 1961) provides a nice stylistic contrast: not too quiet a number for the lively listeners!
With Quarter To Three we come to the only real novelty in The Shadows’ set, but it’s one well worth having. Their rendition of this rumbustious 1961 hit by U. S. Bonds demonstrates that The Shadows knew how to rock like the rest of them.
Recorded material, actual and prospective, makes up the rest of this part of the concert. Nivram comes over well: Bruce’s exhortation “So if you’ll just sit back and relax” is not heeded by females — or males — in the audience, even before Jet steps forward to do his solo. Little ‘B’, for which Bruce introduces the “new boy”, though recorded next month, would not appear on record until October. The evergreen FBI, with some robust drumming from Brian B., whips up the audience into a frenzy of excitement, but they would have to be patient through the interval and two further acts before Cliff and the group came on to finish the job.
EMI’s publicity for this release, echoing the sleeve-notes, makes the point that Cliff’s set consists of a number of songs “never recorded in the studio before or since”. This is only part of the picture. Bill Haley’s Dim, Dim The Lights and Ray Charles’ I Got A Woman, together with the gospel-tinged Save My Soul, all figured in the Radio Luxembourg sessions referred to previously; in fact, Rovin’ Gambler could well be the number entered as ‘The Gambler’ in Bo Larson’s listings for the programme of 27 January 1963 (which also as it happened included I Got A Woman and Razzle Dazzle). It’s worth noting as well that on one Luxembourg programme Cliff and The Shadows together performed Quarter To Three.
It is clear from all this and from a few other indicators that Cliff and the group held in reserve a fair number of unrecorded songs, to be drawn upon as the occasion demanded. At a quite different venue shortly after (the NME Poll Winners’ Concert of 15 April), they performed the more obvious numbers on this Kingston set, Do You Wanna Dance, Razzle Dazzle, The Young Ones: Medley, We Say Yeah.
Shadows’ fans at these 60s concerts could count on a real treat, since it was at this point in the proceedings that Hank, after sticking pretty faithfully to the classic instros, really opened up. He does that here, from Do You Wanna Dance onwards.
There are many other highlights. In the solo of My Blue Heaven (contrast the version on ‘21 Today’) the tempo suddenly — and unexpectedly — quickens, to tremendous effect. Razzle Dazzle has more pep than the studio version, recorded four months later but only released (as one of a collection of leftovers) in 1965. Rovin’ Gambler *** is finely delivered, much in the relaxed manner of Travellin’ Light. Like many a traditional song, its lyrics are variable: Cliff for his part works in a knowing reference to the venue (“I fell in love with a Kingston girl …”) and a joking allusion to Adam Faith (still a teen-idol, though now on the wane). On When The Girl In Your Arms, Cliff enlists audience support: the singalong routine is an effective way of avoiding having a romantic ballad punctuated by shrieks and screams!
The medley from ‘The Young Ones’ comes off particularly well: it kicks off with one of the strongest songs from his films, Lessons In Love (the audience really laps this one up); it closes with The Young Ones itself, with some fab Fender accompaniment from Hank.
Strictly speaking, We Say Yeah should belong to the ‘medley’, but Cliff himself dissociates it from the film (as a B-side it stood at No. 2 that week ****) — a rousing number which brings this memorable concert to a fitting close.
One thing struck me quite forcibly after listening closely to various aspects of this concert. Rather than deploring the long wait, maybe we should reflect on how fine the overall reproduction on Cliff & The Shadows’ recordings from the 60s is, and what a good job EMI has done in preserving and enhancing them for the modern market. Not all record companies have been so conscientious with the treasures in their care.
Cliff Richard & The Shadows
This is the regular release (more easily accommodated on retailers’ racks), a few pounds cheaper than the limited edition which appeared early March. It is not stripped down to the bare bones though. A 12–page booklet is provided reproducing some of the earlier release’s documentation and pics. There is nothing fresh, but the picture on the actual disc (and on the disc-tray) is different — as good a reason as any for the keen collector to invest in this issue too.
|Return to Home / Shadow Music Reviews|