Chad Allan & The Expressions aka Guess Who
Listen – Guess Who – Shakin’ All Over – MP3
I hope everyone has had a most excellent week.
Things hereabouts have been somewhat stressful but the wave looks to be breaking and making way for something positive.
The tune I bring you today is a longtime fave of mine; the song itself, and expecially this version.
Back in the day, when I was assaulting the drums and wailing for the Phantom Five, it was not unheard of for the band, once drenched in sweat, ears ringing, eyes popping, to whip a little ‘Shakin’ All Over’ on the assembled multitude (as it was), during which there was much caterwauling, feedback, flash, crash and thunder, as well as the occasional medley/segue into some Bo Diddley, on into even more volume and sometimes, if the proper crescendo had been reached the drums might even have been kicked over as my eyes rolled back into my head.
It was a thing of beauty (at least from my vantage point).
I can’t say for sure if the late, great Johnny Kidd (with the help of his Pirates) had any idea how powerful an instrument he forged upon his anvil, but if you can listen to the opening riff – faithfully recreated in most cover versions – without getting (in the words of the mighty Kidd) quivers down your backbone, you mon frere are asleep at the sensory wheel. This song is perhaps the first great English rock song, and as solid in its 48 year old original version as it was when retooled by countless artists in the ensuing decades.
My all-time favorite cover of ‘Shakin’ All Over’ comes to us courtesy of the group originally known as Chad Allan and the Expressions, who, when they dropped this record were billed on the label as ‘Guess Who?’, the name (after losing the question mark) they would carry with them to years of major chart success.
The Guess Who version of ‘Shakin’ takes the stark vibe of the original and wraps it up in a rolling, reverb soaked overcoat, with a thundering bass and an odd (but likable) tinkling piano.
I’ve always dug how our brethren up north in Canada were – thanks to the BBC – digging on Johnny Kidd and the Shadows and producing their own take on rock and roll. Everyone on the North American continent was digging Chuck Berry, but the folks in the great white north were seasoning their gee-tar twang with a dash of Hank Marvin.
Though I burned up a portion of my high-frequency hearing with the Who’s powerful rendering of this song on ‘Live at Leeds’, once I heard the Guess Who version, it was all over.
You made me shake and I liked it baby.
See you on Monday.