SHAKIN' STEVENS Now Listen (2006)
Let's get this straight from the start. I'm not a closet Shaky fan. Let's not be bashful - he fulfils a niche in the market, and no question he's had incredible success over the years as a singles artist and entertainer. So hat's off to Shaky , but a serious rocker? I don't think so, although your Gran may disagree.
With this outing, which follows the huge success of his 2005 The Collection, Shaky has gone all AOR with an album of country rock and blues and looking to appeal to fans but bring a new audience onboard.
And to be fair, there's hardly a curled lip, blue suede shoes, or a soft shoe shuffle in sight. In fact, play this album to the Missus and ask her to ‘spot the artist' and Shaky isn't a name that would spring to mind.
Frankly it sounds like a Tina Turner album (Tony Joe White actually features on the swamp rock How Could It Be Like That) or a Traveling Wilburys album. It's inoffensive soft rock form beginning to end. Although Shaky's cover of that other Elvis's (Costello) Pump It Up is pretty murdersome, as is his cover of Pink's Trouble. And does the world really need another version of I Hear You Knockin' (a potential Xmas single)?
I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I've heard worse.
Review by Pete Whalley