Johnny Kidd & The Pirates: Shakin’ CD

12th July 2019

Title: Quivers Down the Backbone

Label: Jasmine

When your name is Fred Heath and you run a band called the Five Nutters, then you could be forgiven for thinking that that your future career might not be too far from the checkout counter at Tescos. But Fred was the one and only Johnny Kidd, joined by Alan Caddy (guitar), Tony Docherty (rhythm guitar) and Ken McKay (drums). That group evolved into the Pirates. EMI Would quickly snap them up.

The band hit the ground running with the excellent Please Don’t Touch in 1959 and then toddled along with half-decent covers and so-so originals until Heath created, what he thought would be, a B-side to one of those covers. The latter was Yes Sir, That’s My Baby but it was the B-side that would astound. Shakin’ All Over would move to the A-side, top the UK charts and amaze everyone in the country that a song like that – that would become a world-wide hit – could even be written by someone in the UK. To put it another way, everyone was incredulous that Shakin’ All Over was not penned by an American.

Johnny Kidd & The Pirates: Shakin' CD

The UK music industry wasn’t quite mature enough to know how to cope with that success and the band floundered rather afterwards.

This Johnny Kidd & The Pirates CD features 33 tracks including the two tracks mentioned above plus A-sides and B-sides from various singles, previously unreleased studio tracks and a grand total of 10 live tracks recorded between 1959-1961.

In mastering terms, the only slight emphasis could be heard at high volumes during guitar crescendos and slightly straining vocal sequence but that wasn’t particularly offensive, especially as the original sources would have been compressed to high heaven. Overall, there is an admirable neutrality across the frequency spectrum. A great CD package from a great band.

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