Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

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“Zambesi”: Hank Marvin for President

What a revelation it must have been in the early 1960s when folks first encountered the clear, ringing tone of Hank Marvin’s Stratocaster on such soaring guitar instrumentals as “Mustang,” “Kon Tiki,” “Spring Is Nearly Here,” and “Thunderbirds Theme.”

Who else was getting that kind of sound out of an electric guitar at that time?   Answer:  nobody.

Shadows 1961 LP

Of course, it wasn’t Hank Marvin alone but the sound of the group – the strummed acoustic guitars, for instance, that command your attention in the opening of “Apache” – that made The Shadows, along with The Ventures, the two leading lights of the 1960s instrumental scene.

A great example of The Shadows’ group chemistry at work is “Zambesi” from 1964’s original 14-track release, Dance with the Shadows:

“Zambesi”     The Shadows     1964

How fun to see the bass player picking off an exquisite little solo run at one point in the arrangement.  “Zambesi” – the final track of a 4-song Dance with the Shadows EP released in UK and Australia – was originally written by Nicolaas Cornelius Carstens, a South African accordionist and songwriter [click here for the original version].

Zambesi 45

Interesting to discover that Columbia also released “Zambesi” as a single, but where – in South Africa, perhaps?  It is unclear — this UK singles discography, for instance, does not show a 7-inch release for “Zambesi.”

Shadows 1964 LP

How predictable, and no less disheartening, to learn that the US version of the original UK EMI album, Dance with the Shadows, is shorn of a couple tracks.   Atlantic would release a 12-track version of the album in 1964 and re-title it, The Shadows Know!!!  (get it?)

Check out Hank’s guitar sound on 1962’s “Wonderful Land” – Dutch TV

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