The Tomcats were a British R&B/Mod band formed in Ealing in 1965 but it is in Spain they were most well known. The story goes that just before they were about to make it big on the R&B scene in London the band jumped in a van (bought by one of the band’s mum) and headed for Madrid.


They were booked for some gigs at Club Consulado but whilst sightseeing they had hordes of people following them around; primarily for the fact they had long hair. This caught the attention of a local newspaper who popped along to take some photographs of this British oddity who told the hacks they were “as famous as The Beatles and sold more records than The Rolling Stones”…their fate was sealed. They had hordes of fans, played radio and clubs and released a handful of EPs before returning to the UK to become cult psychedelic favourites July.

This compilation boasts all the band’s EP releases as well as other rare recordings and some tunes by The Second Thoughts, an earlier incarnation of the band. There’s a few tracks in Spanish, a handful of covers, including a great version of the aforementioned Stones’ Get Off My Cloud, Satisfaction and Paint It Black and all in all it’s very good indeed. The recordings are mainly very basic and in mono, but don’t let that put you off as Running At Shadows is a time capsule of the mid-sixties R&B sound on disc. My favourite tune on the album is La Neurastenia which is another Stones’ cover…this time it’s 19th Nervous Breakdown but there’s also a great cover of The Beatles’ Yesterday.

The CD comes with extensive sleevenotes featuring quotes from band members (including Tom Newman who would later engineer Tubular Bells) and lots of photos of the band whilst in Spain.

Whilst Running At Shadow may certainly a throwback to a different era it represents a collection of tunes that are interesting and a back story that beggars belief.


Stuart Smith


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