|Shake To Date
Featured dB's track:
(Shake/Albion SHAKE 1, UK, 1981)
Shake Records was Alan Betrock's independent record label in the late 70's/early 80's. Betrock, who passed away in 2000, was one of the first generation of what are now known as rock critics. He was one of the great thinkers on pop culture.
The dB's 45 "Black and White"/"Soul Kiss" was the first release on Shake. What became Stands for deciBels initiated as a recording session for two 45s to be released on Ork/Warner UK, one by The dB's and one a Peter Holsapple 45. The Ork deal quickly fell through, at which time Alan made the decision to continue funding the project as a dB's album.
The dB's track on Shake to Date is not particularly rare, compared to many of the other tracks on the album. Most relevant, of course, are the two Peter Holsapple tracks "Big Black Truck"/"Death Garage", which initially appeared on a Car Records 45 (Chris's label) in 1978. (The single contains a third track, "96-Second Blowout".) These tracks are still quite rare, only available on the 45 and this LP.
The Mitch Easter tracks ("Prying Eyes"/"Law of Averages") are the first that ever appeared under his own name, and these songs have never appeared on any other release. (All other tracks on this album originally appeared on Shake or Car 45s.) Mitch, of course, is a lifelong friend of The dB's, having played in bands with us from junior high on, including records by Rittenhouse Square and Sneakers, and has gone on to much work of note as a producer and leader of Let's Active. His career and those of various dB's continue to intersect to this day.
The Cosmopolitans started as a dance troupe in North Carolina, mutating upon moving to New York City into a rock act with some dance/performance hijinks. Will played some gigs with them, his first experience playing along to prerecorded tracks. As noted on the sleeve, "Moose Party" was something of a radio hit in New York.
The dB's connection to the remainder of the artists is minor to nonexistent, not to lessen their value. Alan Betrock's release of the Neon Boys (early Television) tracks was of enormous value in plumbing/preserving the evolution of the exciting New York rock scene of the 70's. Presumably these tracks have appeared on CD somewhere by now, but Alan put them out first. And the Richard Hell 45 stands the test of time as well.
Randy Gun was a member of the Necessaries, a New York band contemporary of The dB's. This may have been his only solo release.
This album came out only in the UK. It's very hard to find, but has some great and very rare stuff.