|Short Shark Shock, The Sharks
Raucous Records RAUCD 163
The Sharks are probably best known as one of the early Neo-Rockabilly and Psychobilly bands of the 1980's whose career, following their classic debut album "Phantom Rockers" (Nervous records), is already well documented. However, there is a chapter of their history that until now has been all but forgotten: the band's formative years.
Born in 1962, Alan Wilson started teaching himself to play guitar at the age of eleven by listening to albums belonging to his parents. These were just old 50's and 60's releases found at the back of a cupboard but Alan found himself fascinated by the guitar playing on some of these old records. In particular Alan became very interested in Buddy Holly's life and work - a fascination that has lasted to this day. By the time he was in his teens he had become a fanatical collector of 50's rock 'n' roll and rockabilly records. His spare time was spent in junk shops, house clearance sales and second hand markets; even his parents were on the lookout for old records for his collection.
By the mid-seventies. American Rockabilly from the 50's was beginning to be re-issued too - an exciting time for someone so wrapped up in a world of Rock 'n' Roll. Leaving School at the earliest possible opportunity and drifting from one dead-end job to another, Alan dreamed of playing rockabilly. But, with virtually no-one else remotely interested in it for miles around, he reluctantly settled briefly with a cover band, until he met the Hancock brothers. Kevin Hancock was a bass player and his brother Paul was a drummer. They knew little of rockabilly, but were prepared to give it a go. Within a few weeks they were jamming 50's rarities and doing a pretty good job, all things considered! Alan was at the time particularly impressed with Kevin's cherry red semi-acoustic bass!
The trio soon brought in Alan's school friend Joe Hobbs on vocals and a rhythm guitarist named Mark Young. After only a handful of small gigs billed as the Dixie Rebels, Mark left. The remaining 4 decided they should record a demo, so a studio was picked from the Yellow Pages and a date set. Unfortunately on the day Joe overslept! Despite several stones thrown at his bedroom window he couldn't be roused. So, with the studio clock ticking away, the band became a trio then and there and the session went ahead with Alan on vocals. The resulting two-song demo was used to get bigger and better gigs and before long the band found themselves playing regularly to what was suddenly becoming a 'scene'.
Rock 'n Roll was, by chance, undergoing a big revival and the trio - now named The Sharks - were extremely busy, even appearing on TV when a live concert was filmed and shown on BBC1. Approximately six months later a second recording session was arranged and another 3 songs recorded (with one track being recorded twice, in two versions). By now the band had climbed to the giddy heights of owning a van and a decent PA. They had a roadie and even an ex-Radio Luxembourg DJ as a manager!
The rest is, as they say, history. The recordings contained on this CD are the original demos and are now almost a quarter of a century old! At first listen, they may seem naive and basic by today's standards. But taken in context, they are a fairly typical example of what the revival scene was all about back then. And, as such, the tracks are a small but nonetheless worthy piece of Neo-Rockabilly history - released here for the first time ever.
The Sharks on these early recordings:
Information from CD Liner Notes, 2005