Sunday, April 19, 2009

Nothin' Shakin'

It's a breezy, sunny, drop-dead gorgeous HarriSunday today, but all I want to do is drop dead myself. Apparently I am getting too old for bachelorette parties. I mean, the party I went to last night was amazing, honestly, just heaps and heaps of fun, but I clearly overindulged, and now my head weighs twenty thousand pounds. For most of the afternoon I've been on the couch eating leftover Easter jellybeans and watching Beatles Anthology DVDs and trying to regain the will to live.

So I've been putting off my usual Beatles listening all day, but here I am at last with a Live at the BBC track-- because these songs are light and breezy and easy to listen to, and because I don't have the energy to take on a bona fide masterpiece. "Nothin' Shakin'" is a pretty cool ditty, though.

The song was originally released by Eddie Fontaine, who might be better known as an actor who got caught trying to hire someone to kill his wife than as a rockabilly star-- I'm personally unfamiliar with his work, though his discography seems impressive enough. Anyway, his record came out in 1958. A scratchy rendition for you:

I actually feel that "Nothin' Shakin'" is as solid a HarriSunday song as any other I've done. It's actually one of my favorites of George's early vocals-- you know how sometimes George's vocals sound a little tentative, or something? I don't know, maybe it's me, or maybe it's the inevitable comparisons with John and Paul, who are both (in my opinion) better vocal performers. (Sorry, George.) Sometimes the tentative sound works, e.g. "Do You Want to Know a Secret," but sometimes I don't love it as much, e.g. "I'm Happy Just to Dance with You."

But ANYWAY, there's nothing tentative about this performance. George sings "Nothin' Shakin'" with his gut-- it's just an awesome, awesome vocal. And his guitar work is nothing to sneeze at either. George was a huge rockabilly fan, probably more so than John or Paul (though about on par with Ringo, who couldn't get enough of it), and you can hear it in the way he just nails the twangy, spirited guitar sound. I particularly love the blue treble grooviness of the intro. "Nothin' Shakin'" is a country-fried lament about the travails of teenage love that also happens to have a huge sense of humor, which might make it the song that George was born to sing at this point.  With George rocking the vocals and guitar, the rest of the boys are practically a backup band, which works just fine-- pretty beautifully, in fact.

So yeah, this could definitely make me feel better.

"Nothin' Shakin'," released in the U.K. and the U.S. disc 2 track 13 of Live at the BBC, November 30, 1994.

1 comment:

  1. I think the same thing. I was gonna say this song was especially well suited to him vocally, but I think you nailed it, it's just a great vocal performance for him. As such, I'm fonder of this than of a lot of his other early work.