Sunday, July 3, 2011

30 Songs, 30 Days (2011 Edition), Day Twenty One: (I Know You) Shake It by The Elvis Brothers

Okay, we're over the let's move on with this amazing number by an amazing band you've prolly never heard of.

I first encountered this Illinois trio when they opened up for Big Country during their Crossing Tour at the Roseland Ballroom. They had just released Movin' Up. the first of two albums from Epic subsidiary Portrait, and this was an early date I had with a woman I was involved with briefly. She wore a red dress that night--and oddly enough, the first single off the album was called "Red Dress." I loved pretty much everything about these guys, from their rockabilly-meets-power-pop music to their Retro 50's dress...hell, I may actively have liked this band more than the one we had originally come and seen.

I haunted the record bins of St. Marks Records to uncover vinyl versions of both Movin' Up and, two years later, their follow-up, Adventure Time. And after that...

Nothing. They were dropped by their label after a regime change and that was the last I ever heard of them until recently, when I discovered a blog that posted not only these two long out of print albums, but a third the group made for indie label Recession in 1992.

I wonder why this band never got any bigger. I suspect part of it is because they might have been lumped in with the other Rockabilly Revival bands and--as such--got overshadowed by The Stray Cats and, later, The Reverend Horton Heat. It's a shame, because this is a great, meat and potatoes pop band. "(I Know You) Shake It" may not be a groundbreaking piece of music, but it does successfully capture what made rockabilly so great--a danceable beat, an upbeat set of lyrics and a sheer energy that makes you want to move. That this trio were also able to produce more nuanced work like "City on Fire" only made them all the more valuable.

The three albums that comprise The Elvis Brothers' discography are now ultra-rare...even the two-in-one reissue of Movin' Up and Adventure Time can go for upwards of a hundred used on if you go to the excellent blog Power Pop Criminals and know where to look, you might find some samples.

Here's the video made for this song for the Now See This Video EP the Brothers put out...

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