Album Review

The Shadows - Out Of The Shadows

The Shadows

Out Of The Shadows


Release Date: October 15th, 1962

Words by: Stephanie Deere
December 4th, 1962


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Although relatively obscure in America, the Shadows were the first instrumental band to dominate the U.K charts. Their trademark was the brilliant rhythm guitar sounds of Hank Marvin and Bruce Welch, as well as bass guitar riffs led by Jet Harris. In 1962, Out Of The Shadows reached number 1.

The impact of the Shadows on the British pop scene of the '60s can only be described as historic. Initially, the group was a backing band for Cliff Richard, arguably one of the biggest pop stars at the end of 1950′s. Nevertheless, the Shadows had tremendous influence on emerging British bands by the early 60′s, including a certain band out of Liverpool.

By the time Out Of The Shadows was released in October 1962, both Jet Harris and Tony Meehan had left the Shadows and had been replaced by the allegedly more malleable, Brian Bennett and Brian "Licorice" Locking.

The record starts off with an instantly gripping snare drum roll, and there's not a wasted note or second in 'rumble's' two minutes as it settles into Marvin's unique rhythm, using a clean sound and distinctive echo.

Out Of The Shadows stylistically acknowledges previous years, and likewise seems to anticipate new developments in British music, like the emerging sound of rock n' roll for instance. There are, indeed, some easy-listening instrumentals on this record, so folks who are attuned to more than rock n' roll will enjoy the daylights out of whimsical gems like 'spring is nearly here' and 'perfida'; while 'cosy' is every bit as satisfying.

Other highlights include 'south of the border', with Marvin stretching out into a bluesy middle section and showcasing his precise and elegant picking. 'Tales of a raggy tramline' was also recorded when Harris was still in the band-co-written by Harris and Bennett—working up a startling pattern and transforming into a piece of prime rock n' roll in this group's hands.

'Bo diddley' is an effort to repeat the success of Bo Diddley's first hit single, but Marvin and Welch both come up with fresh sounds within the same framework. In addition, there's two vocal harmony numbers in 'the bandit'-composed by Michael Carr and Jimmy Kennedy as a solemn Kingston Trio-style tune; and also, 'are they all like you?'– a perfectly compact tune. It's a tender, perhaps even sugary ballad, to be sure, yet it's somehow also full of soul and intimate power.

Best of all, perhaps, 'little b' is a moment of genius. It was the only track released to promote the record when on tour in 1962, as there were no other singles released. Midway through, the guitars take a breather for a crisp drum solo, where Bennett brings jazz flourishes and infectious rhythm into this piece.

The remainder of this record sounds quaintly antique by today's standards, but this music is not about today; it is about back in the day. Out Of The Shadows now enjoys the kind of status that suggests rock n' roll classics are the folk songs of our time.

The record ends with a Marvin-Welch's 'kinda cool', a killer jazz piece on which Marvin's piano sounds as if interweaving around excellent melodic bass lines by Brian Locking. In many respects this is a sensational record, and arguably one of the finest Shadow's albums of them all.

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