The official 40-year anniversary issue of Imagination’s debut album Shake It.Remastered from original tapes, this deluxe edition is a double vinyl LP with gatefold sleeve, featuring a newly available lyric insert.
Shake It covers a diverse spectrum of styles and sounds, all combining to a unique soulful amalgam that ranges from sunshine AOR funk (“Mornin’ Lights”) and leftfield disco (“Strawberry Wine”) to psychy, epic, downtempo, vocoder grooves (“Can’t Stand Without You”) and more.
Originally released in 1980, it fast became one of Germany's most collectible privately-pressed LPs. Shake It was the creation of young thoroughbreds working hard on becoming professional musicians, trying to take their next big step in the music business. Starting out as a pure jazz-rock combo in the mid '70s (as we hear on the recently released lost studio tapes, I'm Always Right (The WDR Tapes 1977)) Imagination left behind their instrumental roots, incorporating new musical trends and styles.
Uwe Ziss, their saxophonist and flutist, became one of two lead singers in Imagination. He would be joined by the younger Roger Mork, a student of original guitarist Willi Hövelmann, around 1979. Roger's voice would best be heard on the aforementioned "Mornin’ Lights", one of the various standout tracks on Shake It. However, there is much more that this album offers.
There are soulful soft rock ballads like “Clouds Flee Before The Wind” and “Waitin for your Call” or the catchy “California” song that switches from a dreamy Westcoast sound (as the title implies) to danceable rhythm & blues with equal ease. Last but not least, there's three unissued bonus cuts. On one, the demo take of “Clouds Flee Before The Wind”, we hear, for the first time ever, the original refrain of this song, which, for some strange reason, was taken out from the final mix on Shake It.
When all eight original songs were recorded and mastered in June, at the well-equipped West Aix-La-Chapelle studio, the stage was set for Imagination’s long-desired career push. They'd initially press about 2500 copies of Shake It selling it mainly, locally, directly to their hometown fanbase in Düsseldorf. Meanwhile, their manager would attempt to arrange a record deal with a music label. Unfortunately, this became more difficult than expected. Negotiations with a smaller publishing company were made by Imagination, and Shake It was repressed on Nash Records in 1981 without their consent, under the false promises of a nationwide promotional tour which would never come to fruition. At the same time, the group would face a UK band under the same name achieving mainstream success, making it difficult (not to say entirely impossible) to perform as "Imagination". Though the band would remain active after Shake It, they'd split shortly after Nash's duplicitous reissue hit store shelves.
Luckily, through time, Shake It itself has remained worthwhile, creatively, for those who stumbled upon it and financially, too, becoming quite the sought after gem in record collecting circles. This deluxe anniversary double vinyl issue makes the LP available once again at a far more reasonable price, featuring the original, illustrious, eye-catching, Roy Lichtenstein-influenced banana art, as well as previously unavailable presspictures and more.