Top critical review
Speaking For Myself Only - I Don't Like This Music
on March 13, 2016
I bought this CD based on reviews I found on Amazon. Those reviews were by people who grew up with the music and were happy to have such a comprehensive collection available on CD with remastered sound. If you are one of those people, you'll probably be very happy with this CD (according to other reviews).
I'm coming from a completely different point of view. I wasn't alive when the Shadows were popular and I never lived in the UK, so this music is not nostalgic for me. I was curious about Hank Marvin and the Shadows, since they influenced so many famous rock acts from Britain (in the same way Duane Eddy, Eddie Cochrane, Dick Dale, etc. influenced American guitar based rock acts), and I was a bit familiar with Cliff Richard's hits from the 1950's-80's.
Since I never heard the songs before, I can't say how good the remastering is by comparison. I can say the music sounds loud and clear (which is good). I can also say that, to me, it sounds like it was cheaply done on a 4-track machine during more recent years (are these re-recordings? They don't sound like 1960's recordings... Were they recorded that well during the 1960's?) and the mix is hard panned left/right (i.e. fake stereo), with the acoustic guitar far too loud and the bass and drums too quiet. Everything's recorded dry except for the lead guitar which has far too much reverb (as do the vocals, on the few songs that have vocals).
To me, not a single song is that catchy, even after 3 listenings. The playing is sloppy and life-less and lacks any sense of groove. I was hoping to discover a British version of The Ventures, but there is no comparison to them or the many American instrumental bands of the 1950's and 60's (which were often made up of studio session players). I've heard the American versions of "Apache" and "Sleepwalk", for example, which are far superior in every way, and very different from The Shadows' versions. Even the Beatles' "Cry For a Shadow" instrumental is far catchier and has more life to it than any recording on this CD.
I took a chance buying music without hearing it first and I expected it to be something it was not. All the same, the price was cheap, so I don't feel too bad about the expense. If you're interested in great old classic instrumental hits, check out the great 4-CD collection by Rhino, which covers the 1950's-70's (and there's no Shadows on it).