Sophisticated Boom Boom: The Shadow Morton Story

Sophisticated Boom Boom: The Shadow Morton Story


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Shadow Morton is one of the legendary cult figures of rock & roll, a mad genius who existed in, well, the shadows. He was one of the great girl group producers, best known for his cinematic work for the Shangri-Las, and he was one of the only Brill Building-related musicians to successfully transition from pop to psychedelia and acid rock, helming Janis Ian's breakthrough 1966 single "Society's Child (Baby I've Been Thinking) before producing heavy hits for Vanilla Fudge ("You Keep Me Hanging On") and Iron Butterfly ("In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida"). The curtain on Shadow's golden era closed with Too Much Too Soon, the second album by the New York Dolls, the melodramatic proto-punkers who were destined to work with Morton (they lifted the opening of the Shangri-Las' "Give Him a Great Big Kiss" for "Looking for a Kiss," after all), after which he returned to the murky shadows from whence he came. Sophisticated Boom Boom: The Shadow Morton Story, a 2013 compilation that's part of Ace's ongoing Producers series and arrives, sadly, just a few months after Morton's death, shines a light on those shadows, both from his '60s peak and in the decades afterward. Mick Patrick's excellent liner notes reveal the extent to which alcohol was responsible for the long gaps of silence at his commercial peak and his retirement, with Morton himself frankly admitting to his reliance on the bottle, but much of his mysteriousness was a witty contrivance: Billy Joel, who played piano on Morton's career-making "Remember (Walkin' in the Sand)," recalls Shadow "wearing this big cape and dark glasses...he's waving his arms in the air saying, 'Give me more purple!'" This love of the dramatic infused all of Shadow Morton's work, whether he was cobbling together "I Saw Her Standing There" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand" for a Fab Four cash-in called "Only Seventeen" by the Beattle-ettes, or barely restraining the chaos of a Mott the Hoople session. All this and more is evident on Sophisticated Boom Boom, but that doesn't mean that it has everything of note Morton did. Most egregiously, "Leader of the Pack" has been left behind, as have several other mini-masterworks Morton made for the Shangri-Las, but it's a testament to the strength of his vision, as well as the work of compiler Patrick, that the 24-track compilation tells a vivid, compelling story anyway. Cut over the course of 16 years, this collection begins with Morton as a Hicksville hustler, knocking out hot rod knock-offs before blagging his way into the Brill Building, where he reunited with old school friend Ellie Greenwich and then carved out his own histrionic, theatrical sound within the confines of the Brill Building. His showmanship served him well whether he was shepherding the sensitive Ian, expanding the horizons of the Blues Project, or delving into the heavy, acid-fried rock of Vanilla Fudge and the Vagrants. In this context, the New York Dolls do seem like a career-capping masterwork, drawing upon everything else Morton tried in the previous decade and a half, but Sophisticated Boom Boom shows that in between the Shangri-Las and the Dolls, Morton created a wild, wooly, visionary body of work that retains its mystique to this very day.

Product Details

Release Date: 07/02/2013
Label: Ace Records Import
UPC: 0029667054621
catalogNumber: 6705462


  1. Hot Rod
  2. I Want My Girl
  3. Only Seventeen
  4. Remember (Walkin' In the Sand)
  5. Give Him a Great Big Kiss
  6. Sophisticated Boom Boom
  7. Baby
  8. You Don't Know
  9. Past, Present and Future
  10. Society's Child (Baby I've Been Thinking)
  11. So Soft, So Warm
  12. Take My Advice
  13. Lost In the Shuffle
  14. Stop the Clock
  15. I'll Never Learn
  16. Too Old To Go 'Way Little Girl
  17. You Keep Me Hangin' On
  18. And When It's Over
  19. Season of the Witch, Pt. 2
  20. In-a-Gadda-Da-Vida
  21. Midnight Lady
  22. Puss 'N' Boots
  23. Stranded In the Jungle
  24. Dressed In Black

Album Credits

Technical Credits

Leonard Bernstein   Source Material
Ian Hunter   Composer
Janis Ian   Arranger,Composer,Liner Notes
Billy Joel   Liner Notes,Source Material
David Johansen   Composer,Liner Notes,Source Material
Ellie Greenwich   Composer,Liner Notes,Source Material
Jerry Leiber   Composer,Liner Notes,Source Material
Genya Ravan   Source Material
Bert Sommer   Composer
Sylvain Sylvain   Composer
Jeff Barry   Composer,Producer,Liner Notes,Source Material
Alan Betrock   Source Material
Artie Butler   Arranger,Composer,Liner Notes,Source Material
Lamont Dozier   Composer
Vinny Gormann   Composer,Producer
Eddie Holland   Composer
Brian Holland   Composer
Doug Ingle   Composer
Lenny Kaye   Source Material
Vince Martell   Liner Notes,Source Material
Tony Michaels   Arranger,Composer,Producer
George "Shadow" Morton   Composer,Producer
Paul Nelson   Liner Notes,Source Material
Mick Ralphs   Composer
Artie Ripp   Producer
Sandy Robertson   Source Material
Joel O'Brien   Composer
Bob Goodman   Source Material
Jud Cost   Source Material
Mary Weiss   Liner Notes,Source Material
Rob Finnis   Memorabilia
Peter Gibbon   Memorabilia
Artie Kaplan   Arranger
Mick Patrick   Liner Notes,Memorabilia,Source Material
Ernestine Smith   Composer
Curry   Composer
Mitch Cohen   References
Eddie Heller   Producer
George Schowerer   Cover Photo
Donovan Leitch   Composer
Timothy White   Source Material
Joe Monaco   Composer
Morgan Neville   Source Material
Charlotte Greig   Source Material
Eric Charge   Memorabilia
Shadow Morton   Arranger,Director,Producer
Jack McDuffy   Composer
Gloria Palmisano   Composer
Erin Amar   References
Ralph M. Newman   Source Material
David Simons   Source Material
Guys   Arranger
David Kamp   References
Rich Arfin   Source Material
Tom Hibbert   Source Material
Sandy Hurwitz   Composer
OWB   References
Dan Corley   References
James Johnson   Composer

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