Pop Archives

Gary Shearston - I Get A Kick Out Of You (1974)

(Cole Porter)
Australian artist, recorded in UKAustralian artist, recorded in UK Australian artist, recorded in UK
#7 UK, #19 Sydney, #12 Brisbane, #11 Adelaide, #17 Perth

Single on Charisma, from the album Dingo, recorded in London by Australian singer, songwriter, novelist, actor, TV host and sometime puppeteer, (1939-2013). He was born in Inverell NSW, but until he was 11, and again in his later years, he lived on his family's property near Tenterfield NSW where he died in 2013.  

Gary Shearston was a dedicated contributor to the Australian Folk Boom of the 60s, both musically and politically, but he also took on elements of jazz and rock. Later in life, he became an Anglican priest in regional New South Wales parishes.

This was a version for its time: laidback, informal vocals over strumming and drumming. Zbig Nowara and Howlspace both call Shearston's delivery "deadpan", which is about right.

Phil Chapman, who worked on the production side of the album, recalls:

When we had finished the Dingo album, I couldn't help feeling a sense of unease whenever I Get A Kick Out Of You went through.

On the multi-track recording, all the featured instruments played continuously from start to finish, and given Gary's almost-trademarked underplayed delivery on what was already an non-dramatic song, the end result was somewhat soporific.

So…. one Saturday morning… I went into Olympic Studio 3 armed with a 45 of My Sweet Lord determined to do something, anything, to this track. Anyway, seven hours later, after stripping it right back, and mixing it section by section, I finally ended up with something that I thought was listenable. The only gimmick I threw in was the repeat "I Get A Kick…" drum break near the end, and for spontanaeity I left in the end ad-lib mentioning the name of his girlfriend, Kristiana Maria Konchevsky.

On Monday morning I played the remix to Hugh Murphy, the producer, and we both agreed it was much better than the existing version, but we still hid it on side two. We were both dumbfounded when Tony Stratton Smith picked that as the single!

(by Email)

Other charting Gary Shearston singles:

– Sydney Town was Gary Shearston's first charting single (#9 Sydney, #36 Brisbane), from his 1965 album Australian Broadside. This was a folk song he reworked from lyrics by author Frank Hardy who had been inspired by a Jamaican calypso song about the slums of Kingston. A cover version by Rolf Harris co-charted in Sydney.

– Sometime Lovin', which charted in Sydney (#38), was also on Gary Shearston Sings His Songs (1966). From producer Sven Libaek's liner notes:

Sometime Lovin': Gary's most talked-about and recorded song to date. The beautiful lyrics and tune combine to make one of the most outstanding songs ever written by an Australian. It was awarded the "Best Australian Song of the Year (1965)" by Radio Station 2UE in Sydney. Personally, I believe this song establishes Gary Shearston as a song writer in world class.

Sometime Lovin' was also recorded by Doug Ashdown (1966, on The Real Thing) and by Col Nolan & The Soul Syndicate (1966, on Crazy Crotchet).

Sources, further reading: 1. The Gary Shearston Story by Zbig Nowara [archived page] covers Shearston's wide-ranging career and puts his work in the context of an under-appreciated Australian folk scene. 2. Howlspace's Gary Shearston page [archived]. 3. Gary Shearston entry at Wikipedia.

Ethel Merman & William Gaxton [in ‘anything Goes’] - I Get A Kick Out Of You (1934)

(Cole Porter)
Original version

Sung in Act 1 of Anything Goes by Ethel Merman and Billy Gaxton, as Reno Sweeney and Billy Crocker. The musical opened in November 1934 at the Alvin Theatre, 52nd Street, now the Neil Simon Theatre. Anything Goes was written by Guy Bolton, P.G. Wodehouse, Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse, with songs by Cole Porter.

This is a much recorded song: numerous versions are listed at The Originals, from Paul Whiteman (1935), through Frank Sinatra (1953) to Jamie Cullum (2003).

As the Wikipedia entry on the song points out, the line I get a kick from cocaine has been controversial at times, and has sometimes been written out of the lyrics.