The Shadows in Concert Vol. 6

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The Shadows in Concert Vol. 6

Postby drakula63 » Mon Feb 12, 2024 11:07 am

Not everyone will agree, but I really like the short-lived Alan Hawkshaw line-up of the Shads. So, as soon as it was announced, I bought the live CD. Here's my review...

The Shadows without Bruce? Unthinkable. The Shadows without Hank? Impossible! And yet both came to pass, albeit briefly and for completely different reasons, in 1969. After Bruce Welch left the Shadows in December 1968, all went quiet for a while. Then, in the autumn of 1969, the band reconvened in a slightly different form. Bruce was, of course, irreplaceable and so they didn't try... they simply reshaped things a bit and in came the piano and Hammond organ of Alan Hawkshaw. It was a divisive move, but I am one of those who feel that it was the right move and it heralded a period of experimentation that would see drastic changes to the Shadows line-up and sound come and go.

First up we have another CD reissue of the Japanese and European LP release The Shadows "Live" in Japan. Recorded at the Sankei Hall in Tokyo on October 12th, 1969, this 14 number set showcases the new sound of the Shadows, with Hawkshaw's Hammond blazing a trail through Shazam, Dance On and FBI, whilst Apache, Nivram (with thunderous bass solo) and Foot Tapper are augmented by piano. It takes a while to get used to, but it works. There's a nice piano interlude as Alan takes the lead on the Theme from Exodus, and more piano on Don't Make My Baby Blue, The Rise and Fall of Flingel Bunt and Somewhere. It's worth pointing out that The Hawk switches to bass guitar on the vocal A Little Bitty Tear, allowing John Rostill to pick up an acoustic guitar and Brian Bennett utilises his percussion 'junkyard' on the old Skiffle hit Putting on the Style to great effect. His drum solo, Little B, is explosive and one of the most powerful and dynamic ever committed to vinyl (or CD). Hank experiments with a thinner and louder sound throughout, apart from a brief snatch of classical guitar on Slaughter on 10th Avenue and a bit of acoustic strumming on the aforementioned A Little Bitty Tear. It's the Shadows as we've never heard them before and this crystal clear recording is a revelation! But there's more...

Back in Blighty, A shortened version of the previous set is captured in Croydon on 6th November by a member of the audience. If the sound quality isn't quite as good as on the Japanese recording, the performance certainly is. Indeed, in some ways it goes beyond the previous set, with Alan really ripping into that Hammond organ and delivering some extraordinary sweeping and undulating backing throughout Somewhere and Slaughter on 10th Avenue - with both versions being superior in many ways to any other studio or live version. Putting on the Style is the only vocal here and it's notable for Alan's I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside organ interjection and the enthusiastic crowd which claps along with great vigor. Apache benefits from some more Hawkshaw Hammond - which might have been the inspiration for the string synth backing a decade later - and FBI really rocks, again with rapturous audience participation.

And finally, as they say, from Finsbury Park the following night, we have a sadly all too short set of just four numbers, sans Mr Marvin, who was unable to perform due to illness. Flingel Bunt, which kicks things off, is jaw dropping, with Alan taking the lead on Hammond, and improvising some soloing where there would otherwise have been guitar. Again on the organ, Alan displays all his virtuosity on Nivram, before switching to piano for Exodus. The set ends with a truly remarkable and breathtaking version of Little B which features solos from Alan and John before Brian crashes in with the coup de grace. This simply has to be heard to believed and I literally cried out in despair as it faded out after just two and a half minutes. One of the things that's nice about this CD is that Exodus, Alan Hawkshaw's piano tour de force, is the only track that appears three times.

With a glossy gatefold sleeve, featuring colourised black and white photos, an informative centrespread and monotone portrait shots of the lads on the inner sleeve, this (the final volume of this live CD series) is essential listening for those fans who appreciate something a bit (or a lot!) different and want to hear more of this short lived and underrated line-up. One of the best Shads CDs I have bought in a very long time!
Last edited by drakula63 on Mon Feb 12, 2024 1:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The Shadows in Concert Vol. 6

Postby iefje » Mon Feb 12, 2024 11:48 am

It's quite a unique period in The Shadows' history. I heard the "'Live' In Japan" album for the first time about 30 years ago and got quite used to it. The same with the studio album "Shades Of Rock". It was quite a brave move to replace Bruce's rhythm guitar sound with Alan's piano and organ sound and somehow I quite like it. However, I was very pleased to see Bruce return in 1973, starting with the "Rockin' With Curly Leads" album. Also, from 1977 onwards, keyboards became a permanent part of The Shadows' line-up on stage, as well as in the studio, so we got the best of both worlds: Bruce's rhythm guitar, as well as keyboards.
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Re: The Shadows in Concert Vol. 6

Postby JimTidmarsh » Mon Feb 12, 2024 1:32 pm

I was actually at the 1969 Finsbury Park concert that Hank missed!

I remember feeling a bit let down that he wasn't there but the other three did a sterling job in his absence on the four numbers they did play. I wondered if Hanks' absence was 'political' after all the rows that were around when they gave up etc. Don't shoot me down, it's just what I felt at the time!!
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Re: The Shadows in Concert Vol. 6

Postby iefje » Mon Feb 12, 2024 7:00 pm

JimTidmarsh wrote:I was actually at the 1969 Finsbury Park concert that Hank missed!

I remember feeling a bit let down that he wasn't there but the other three did a sterling job in his absence on the four numbers they did play. I wondered if Hanks' absence was 'political' after all the rows that were around when they gave up etc. Don't shoot me down, it's just what I felt at the time!!


I wasn't around at that time, but great to have actually been there! I have always wished I was alive in the 1960s and to have been old enough to see those concerts.

I don't know about the tensions behind the scenes, but I guess Hank would certainly have played during that particular concert, if he wouldn't have been ill.
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Re: The Shadows in Concert Vol. 6

Postby jigsaw » Mon Feb 12, 2024 8:06 pm

I also was at the Finsbury concert. The second half of the concert was billed as Cliff Richard with the Brian Bennett Band. Brian, John and Alan were included in the band but I can’t remember who played lead guitar. I assume Hank would have done that if he hadn’t been ill.
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Re: The Shadows in Concert Vol. 6

Postby drakula63 » Tue Feb 13, 2024 4:02 pm

A shame that there aren't more photos from that period. Obviously that line-up didn't last long, but there must be more pics out there, especially since there was obviously an official photographer at the Sankei Hall gig.
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