From: Shadsfax Issue 49 (2006) 9–10
This A5 spiral-bound book is privately published; the paper has an attractive gloss, setting off the plentiful high-quality b/w and colour illustrations. Pagination extends from 1 through to 45, this last page being assigned to the inside back cover. Fourteen of these 45 pages are taken up with full-scale pics of Cliff or the group, two of them in colour, most of the fine b/w shots being credited to Jan Vane. The text moreover is broken up with illustrations of record sleeves and labels, press cuttings, and assorted smaller-scale shots of singer/group.
So, much of the book is pictorial in nature, but that does not mean that it is uninformative. On the contrary, the text is closely written and unswervingly sticks to the point, tracing the Australian links of first Cliff then the group (and offshoots) in the 60s and 70s, interspersing narrative of visits, stage appearances, press comment and so on with valuable discographical detail.
There is space here to comment only on The Shadows’ Australian output and to weigh the analysis offered. In brief, the majority of singles, EPs and LPs were identical or near identical with UK releases. Those which were not are listed on the inside back cover. For The Shadows themselves, they amount to one single, nine EPs, and twelve LPs, but of these, only the single The Boys / The Girls, the EPs ‘Guitar Tango’, ‘Flingle [sic] Bunt’ and ‘Bombay Duck’, and the LPs ‘Greatest Hits Vol. 2’ then ‘Vol. 3’ and ‘Geronimo’ differ as far as musical content is concerned (it would have been useful here to have some asterisks dotted about to provide at-a-glance distinctions). The remaining fifteen differ from the parent issues cosmetically, in respect of artwork and particularly front covers, all of which are illustrated in order of release.
A general observation here: Australian record covers become much more distinctive after the mid-60s; prior to that, they have much in common with French product. Also, it is all very well to have a poke at the cover design of the UK ‘Rarities’ LP, but the Australian picture raises the question of what John Farrar and Alan Tarney had to do with anything.
As for programme, one of the LPs, the 1970 ‘Greatest Hits Vol. 3’, possessed a contemporary importance for collectors which might have been mentioned, in making available for the first time stereo versions of tracks hitherto found only in mono: Bombay Duck, Maroc 7, The War Lord, I Wish I Could Shimmy … and Somewhere. Again, on the Australian ‘Jigsaw’ LP, the point is made that, unlike its UK counterpart, both the mono and stereo issues carried “the same” version of Tennessee Waltz. But which one? Is the longer version in fact available in stereo too, or is the truncated version implemented in both mono and stereo?
But these are details. James is to be warmly congratulated on a first-rate piece of research, which provides a vivid survey of a significant facet of Cliff and The Shadows’ global influence and complements nicely John Campbell’s study of New Zealand releases on his Penumbra Website. It is to be hoped that other enthusiasts will follow these shining examples of specialised research either in print or online.
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