If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a million times, for every band out there on mainstream radio, there are 500 bands that are better than that band – you just don’t know who they are. The Shadows of Knight is one of those bands. This band had everything The Animals had, they just didn’t get the airplay. Don’t get me wrong, I love and respect Eric Burdon and his band, but The Shadows of Knight did it with just a touch more sarcasm and hate. Listening to the ‘Shadows, as many of there fans referred to them as, is not unlike listening to an early version of The Stooges. It is so fucking refreshing to be reminded that the 1960s weren’t only about flowers, love, and not taking baths.
When Live 1966 was recorded, the liner notes talk about how the band was nearing at the end of their popularity, as a few of the singles hadn’t done as well as they had in the past. This is why the audience size is significantly smaller than what they were used to. To me, this makes the record awesome. The sometimes non-existent applause mixed with the sporadic teenage screams only works to set the tone for this beautifully ugly record. I think there was a bit of angst, due to perceived failure, in the way they perform on this record. The recording quality is good, but not great, and again this makes the record that much better. Covers of songs by Wilson Pickett and Solomon Burke are played with such ferocity, fuzztastic sloppiness and anger that the melding of soul and hate only serves as a precursor to The Stooges. This record feels like an archivist’s dream – not unlike the field recordings from The Library of Congress, but for punk rock instead of blues.
With all it’s sarcastic jabs and calling out of the audience, this piece of history stands tall with its effort to reinforce my initial notion that there are a multitude of great fucking bands that the mainstream couldn’t or wouldn’t handle. This concept rings true even more so today. It’s easier today. The amount of bullshit being played out in popular culture today does nothing but force us all to look deeper in the bins to find music that matters. When was the last time you heard a record from a new mainstream artist that smashed your face, or even had some decent fucking guitar on it? Where the fuck is all the guitar? Well, Live 1966 by The Shadows of Knight may not have wanky technical guitar playing on it, but Jesus fuck it’s heavy. The packaging is great with it’s old-school 60s formatting on the front cover and it’s liner-note style back cover. The sound quality is not the greatest in the world, but it still sounds fucking raw and awesome. Frankly, it wouldn’t be nearly as good if it was all shiny and polished. The ugliness of the recording quality only serves to make this record better. After a few wobblies and a hoo haw off the silly stick, these sarcastic garage rockers had me ready to run amok. For that, I say thanks. Great fucking record. Get out to Vertigo Records in Ottawa, and pick up a copy for yourself. Fuckin’ Eh Right!
THE SHADOWS OF KNIGHT – LIVE CHICAGO 1966