Saturday, November 19, 2005

Sweet 7"s of the '80s - Shake Shake!

Occasionally I am willing to take a special request. Kenny asked if I would repost some tracks that I originally wrote about in March of this year (under the title "An '80s Obscurity"). I've never come across anybody who has ever heard of Shake Shake!, and since the mp3s were still on my computer, here you go!

Shake Shake! were pretty much a one off. As far as I can tell they put out only one single, 1981's Shake Shake!, released on Tot Taylor's ultra hip early '80s indie label The Compact Organization - home to swanky looking and sounding popsters like Mari Wilson. Google has very little info to offer on them. A group of musicians and studio engineers who previously had worked on Swedish singer Virna Lindt's Attention Stockholm single, they included multi-instrumentalists Jo Dworniak and Duncan Bridgeman. There is a lot more info available on these two as they have continued to be involved in music over the years. Their next project was I-Level, a Britfunk trio (who will be the subject of tomorrow's Funky Friday post), and they also worked as session musicians - they appear on John Foxx's The Garden LP. Duncan continues to record, most recently under the name 1 Giant Leap, who in 2001 released an LP of world music mixed with electronica and lot's of high profile guest vocalists - folks like Michael Stipe, Babaa Maal, Asha Bhosle, Neneh Cherry and Michael Franti. But I digress - the two songs recorded as Shake Shake! are B-52's inspired, sorta funky new wave - the sleeve touts the music as "new songs for a new route" and also informs us that "Shake Shake! play funktional music for every function". Shake Shake! is gloriously herky-jerky in it's rhythms, and features fun female-male vocal interplay spouting lyrics about getting down to the beat. I love the sparseness - drums, bass, keys and the vocals all nicely balanced. Flip it over to the B-side and you get Yellow Ditty, a lurching post-punk dub thing. This track actually kind of reminds me of the music of M (Pop Muzik) - slightly wacky, definitely danceable oddball new wave.

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