Wednesday, 7 May 2014

7 Inch Singles Collection: Shakin' Stevens - Oh Julie

It's Shaky!:


A-side: Oh Julie
B-Side: I'm Knockin'

(Epic 1981)

Poor old Shaky - he's pretty much considered risible and an object or ridicule these days by so many people. He was once a very credible and important figure in the Rock 'n' Roll revival movement of the late 70's, but then he started having hits - and the old rock 'n' rollers didn't really approve of this kind of sellin' out so he was kind cut off from that movement and became a popstar instead, and nobody really takes popstars seriously, and when the hits dried up people forgot that once he was a really good entertainer. You can tell he means serious Rock 'n' Roll business by the way he forgoes the letter G from the ends of words.

Oh Julie is from his early popstar days, and considerin' it's 1981 it's a pretty odd fish to have landed at the top of the charts. It's written by Shaky himself, and so is not the standard 50's classics we were used to hearin' from him at this time. Also the lead instrument that carries the melody is not some rockin' guitar or pumpin' piano it's an accordion. An instrument that only ever normally bothered the charts whenever The Wurzels rolled into town. The result of this is that the whole record has the feel of a good ole Cajun two-step. If you've never listened to any Cajun music I'd recommend you do so now, I'll wait. Have you done that yet? Good. Enjoyable isn't it? It can get a bit samey if you listen to too much in one go though. Anyhow, the point that I'm trying to make is that like all those good Cajun tunes Oh Julie brings a smile to face, it is played with great verve and gusto, and makes you want to get up and dance. No - it's more than that it makes you feel like you can dance, even if the Number 19 bus could actually do a more graceful waltz than you. Yes, it's ephemeral fluff, but it's solidly entertaining ephemeral fluff.

On the flip-side we find another Shaky penned tuned. I'm Knockin' is much more in the classic Rock 'n' Roll mode that we would expect. It's 2 1/2 minutes of high energy rock 'n' roll fun. It's more of a Dave Edmunds 70's vibe than an Elvis 50's one - but that doesn't hurt the record at all. It bops and bounces in all the right places, and has a proper old-fashioned walkin' bass sound. The only thing that I find wrong with this record is that my copy has a slight warp in it which makes it have an occasional wobble sound, even that doesn't dispel any enjoyment.

Now I've gone and admitted an admiration for Shakin' Stevens I could be made a social pariah for life.

Next time some U2 wannabes from Cheltenham...

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