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Shakin' Street - 'Shakin' Street' http://rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/fd/b8/84/shakin-street-shakin-street-59-1413063422.jpg Hot

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It’s not a classic by any means but a record with its own unique charm.

Sometimes the story behind a band is just as interesting as the music, as is the case with 1970s band Shakin’ Street; a Punk-influenced French group whose biography can genuinely claim bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult and even Manowar as supporters and personal friends. The band was fronted by Tunisian-born beauty Fabienne Shine, a former model, actress and long- time girlfriend of Jimmy Page, who was advised to put a band together by her friend Robert Plant. The band eventually put out their debut album ‘Vampire Rock’ in 1978 to moderate interest, but it was only when they supported BOC in Paris that they came to the attention of BOC producer/manager Sandy Pearlman, who not only agreed to produce the next album, but also got them a worldwide deal with CBS and found them a replacement guitarist in The Dictators’ Ross The Boss.

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With Boss settled in alongside rhythm guitarist Eric Levi, bassist Mike Winter and drummer Jean Lou Kalinowski, the band recorded this self-titled effort in San Francisco in 1979, which Pearlman spent almost a year mixing. With an eclectic sound that merges Hard Rock and Punk, the likes of ‘No Compromise’, ‘No Time To Lose’ and ‘So Fine’ have an unmistakable New Wave influence amongst the rock solid riffs, but there’s also a cleverness at work on the arrangements of ‘Susie Wong’ and ‘Every Man, Every Woman Is A Star’ that add different flavours to the mix. Whilst it was sometimes hard to make out the lyrics due to Shine’s heavy accent, there’s no doubting that she has a powerful set of pipes and a voice that sets her apart from most other female Rock singers of the time.

The hardest hitting and best songs on offer include the peculiarly-titled ‘I Want To Box You’ and their calling card, the simple and direct ‘Solid As A Rock’. But look deeper and you’ll find some rather unexpected contributions from ex-Santana percussionist Amando Peraza and keyboard player Alan Pasqua (yes, the future Van Stephenson, Rick Springfield and Giant man!), as well as BOC’s Allen Lanier. The album did fairly well at the time and they toured with BOC, AC/DC and Sabbath, during which the legendary Ronnie James Dio introduced Boss to Sabbath crew member Joey DeMaio, indirectly bringing about the formation of Manowar. ‘Shakin’ Street’ still sounds good today; it’s not a classic by any means but a record with its own unique charm. The band reformed for some shows a few years back and now have a new album reviewed within these very pages.

Phil Ashcroft

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