|Shark Therapy, Finn & The Sharks
UpSouth Recordings FS001CD
If you were around in the late 1970's and early 1980's you probably were aware of an energetic neo-trend that grew up along side and within the punk and new wave rock 'n' roll scene. It was a revival of what might be considered the first real rebellious teenage music genre that arose in the 1950's. It was called rockabilly, and right in the heart of it all was a band named Finn & The Sharks, and they had a reputation for rocking hard and had an enthusiastic following whenever and wherever they played.
They recorded a four song EP entitled, "Innercity Rockabilly," on their own label Rebel Records. There was also a video of the title song that featured the band performing at the old Lonestar Café and at The Office which was their home base in Nyack NY. It was shown on MTV and also on the fledgling cable network, Showtime. It got a lot of play in the club scene especially on the 'rockabilly nights' that became an obligatory part of the calendar for a few years.
Finn & the Sharks did not fit neatly into the 'rockabilly' category. Their influences were broad and deep. Along with rockabilly the band could shift to blues, swing, soul and harder rock without losing that element of youthful exuberance that marked the music of the 50's and early '60's. One of the songs on the EP, "The Wheels Start Turning," had a distinct ska beat and featured Jimmy's honking baritone sax. It was later re-recorded and released as a 12" and 7" 45 RPM vinyl single on John Hammond's short-lived HME Label. It garnered some airplay and was played on Dick Clark's "American Bandstand".
Throughout the early '80's the band played dates with the likes of, Dave Edmunds, Wilson Picket, Sam & Dave, Robert Gordon, Sleepy LaBeefe, Commander Cody, Asleep At The Wheel, Kinky Freidman, The Sun Rhythm Section featuring Sonny Burgess & DJ Fontana, and many others. Steven and Eddie backed up Carl Perkins in the feature film, "The Other Side Of Nashville," while Jimmy backed up Bo Diddley, Freddy Cannon and members of Dion's Belmonts on a single called, "Let's Put The Fun Back In Rock'n'roll". One night the late great bluesman Luther Allison came down to the Office in Nyack, where the band played almost every Friday when not out of town, to jam. Other artists would show up to be part of the scene and rock out with the Sharks as well. MTV even showed up to check out the Friday night sold out shows. They were events that people who were there still talk about.
It has been 20 years, and although the band has gotten back together from time to time to play or record, it's been 10 years since the last real reunion. The band is now back with a CD containing many of the never before released studio sides from the '80's and also several songs recorded since then. It has 3 of the four original tunes from the Innercity Rockabilly EP. These songs, along with the entirety of The Sharks catalog, have never before been released on CD. "The Wheels Start Turning," included here is the HME version of the song recorded live at the Power Station in Studio A with a whole crowd of the band's fans and friends on hand creating the party sound producer and engineer, Larry Alexander (Bowie, Springsteen, McCartney, Rolling Stones, Duran Duran), had in mind. There is also a cut of, "At The Crossroads," the B-side to 'Wheels,' recorded live at CBGB's.
These guys have never been content to rest on their laurels nor have they ever really been about nostalgia. They are all prolific, published world class songwriters. They can still play the old material with all the fire you will hear on the CD but in their live performances you will hear new songs seamlessly placed in the context of the old. They are currently working on a new recording and are ready to rock your socks off at a club in your area soon. James Finnen's voice is as dynamic and powerful as ever, as are the instrumental abilities of the rest of the band. If anything, they have gotten better with age. Keep your eyes and ears out for Finn & The Sharks, "Shark Therapy," on, UpSouth Recordings, before Christmas 2004 and do not miss seeing one of their rare live performances soon.
Finn & The Sharks are:
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CD available at http://www.cdbaby.com/finnsharks
Courtesy of Billy Roues, 2005
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