I’m Shakin’

I’m Shakin’ by The Blasters

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The Blasters: “I’m Shakin” Play this track

Isn’t this track amazing? Surely, the vocal, the performance … heck, the *vibe* are all curiously driven. An unusual track for sure.—Rock Stamberg

When I hear this song, I visually see a hipster “walkin’ the walk,” and the lyrics are “talkin’ the talk.” This could be a song from the Musical “Hades Town.” All I know is shoulders are swingin’ and fingers are poppin’. —John Stix

Terry Evans: “Shakespeare Didn’t Write That” Play this track

What a segue. Laid back swing, soulful vocals and Ry Cooder licks. This tune is slippery and wet. I am a sucker for this kind of shuffle, subtle and sweet. —JS

Beatles: “I’m Looking Through You” Play this track

There’s something about this alternate take from Beatles Anthology 2 that’s so alluring. Having heard all the outtakes from various Beatles albums I always figured they picked the right versions to release officially. This take is so good I wonder if it’s the exception. —RS

A stripped-down take that invites you in and you want to stay. This is the kind of track that NHT was made for. —JS

Marshall Crenshaw: “Rockin’ Around NYC” Play this track

Marshall Crenshaw – Rockin’ Around NYC
Music has many functions, one of which is to express and share joy. This song does that for me. Marshall Crenshaw’s debut LP remains a masterpiece of melody, hooks and yes, joy. Are you listening? And are you smiling? My point exactly. —JS

Marshall Crenshaw’s first album should be in your music library. —RS

Vulfpeck: “Boogie On Reggae Woman” Play this track

With just voice and the bass, Vulfpeck own this tune the way Joe Cocker owns his take on “With a Little Help from My Friends.” The second half of the song features a bass and Rhodes piano duet and that kills as well. The last section is a Rhodes / guitar duet. Arranging is king here and it all happened without anybody noticing. —JS

Carl Perkins and Friends: “Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby” Play this track

Boy this is good. And boy is this a fun listen. They all left their egos at the door. —RS

This one is a two-base hit. First you have one of the best guest bands in memory with Perkins, Ringo, Harrison, Clapton, Edmunds, Setzer and more. They play as a tight and inspired band. The second surprise is that it happened on television. You can marvel at the visual if you see it or the music as you hear it, or both. Any way you come out at this, it’s a hit. —JS

Robert Palmer: “Maybe It’s You” Play this track

John and I love Robert Palmer’s music. Here’s an obscure one from his Maybe It’s Live partially “live” / partially studio album. Rockin’. —RS

A great rocker I never heard until Rock pulled it out. Talk about a chorus with a hook. This one could land Moby Dick. —JS

Pete Townshend: “Dirty Water” Play this track

This is a demo? Kenney Jones’ drums here are among the best he ever contributed to The Who camp post-Keith Moon, in my opinion. He just pushes this excellent abandoned track hard. —RS

PT doing his Tulsa rock. This could have been Dire Straits or Dave Edmunds, or a certain time in EC’s career. Townshend is rockin’ and I’m there with him. Great drumming. —JS

Andy Partridge: “I Gave My Suitcase Away” Play this track

A pure pop masterpiece. XTC’s Andy Partridge can really write ‘em. —RS

This reminds me of the Squeeze school of songwriting. It could have been a hit, but it wasn’t. —JS

Harry Nilsson: “You Can’t Do That” Play this track

A love letter to the Fab Four. —JS

This is the one that caught The Beatles’ collective attention. They dubbed Harry Nilsson as their favorite group. —RS

Ben Kweller: “I Need You Back” Play this track

I just love BK’s music. Master songwriter, strong performer. This is just a taste of his prowess. —RS

Buckingham/Nicks: “Don’t Let Me Down Again” Play this track

So good that Fleetwood Mac put this song into their live repertoire immediately after welcoming Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks into the fold. —RS

Another great Tulsa shuffle. —JS

Deep Purple: “Getting Tighter” Play this track

Betcha didn’t know this was Deep Purple, did ya? From 1975’s Come Taste the Band, the only album on which the late guitarist Tommy Bolin appeared. —RS

Bert Lahr: “King of The Forest (From the Wizard of Oz)” Play this track

Where we finally get the answer to the question, “What puts the ape in Apricot?” —JS

Pete Townshend: “A Friend Is a Friend (Live)” Play this track

I love both the message of the lyric and how it is delivered. This is from my “Best Performances” folder. —JS

John and I loved this song (the studio version) when we first heard it back in 1989. Great song, great message. —RS

Procol Harum: “Foxy Lady (Live)” Play this track

The opening track to 1974’s Exotic Birds and Fruit album, this is a truly epic Procol Harum track with, of course, an amazing Gary Brooker lead vocal. —RS

Aretha Franklin: “Wonderful (Acappella)” Play this track

She was born with these pipes and knew how to use them. Aren’t we lucky. Check out the scat at the end of the tune. —JS

Stephen Wrembel: “Bistro Fada (From Midnight in Paris)” Play this track

Love this lilting guitar waltz. At times it has a drunken, behind-the-beat move that effortlessly slides back into place. —JS

Paul Simon: “Heart and Bones” Play this track

A beautiful and unusually autobiographical song about Paul Simon’s brief marriage to Carrie Fisher. The entire Hearts and Bones album is stellar and worth checking out. —RS

I place this in my Familiar Flags in Foreign Places folder. A well-known artist doing a song that is not a “hit” and the song deserves more recognition. A song made for NHT. —JS