Merv Benton

Great Shakin' Fever

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Canetoad followed up its collection of Merv Benton's greatest Australian hits with Great Shakin' Fever, a 32-track anthology of non-hits, B-sides, album tracks, and 11 previously unreleased recordings from the mid-'60s. As before, Benton performs a number of ace remakes of classic '50s rock & roll songs like "Honey Don't," "Lotta Lovin'," and "Lonely Weekends," a handful of Australian originals, and interpretations of other R&B and pop songs of the day. Benton's appreciation for Elvis Presley manifests itself in his renditions of several songs associated with him, but Benton's style is not very similar to Presley's. Benton's singing career was waylaid in 1966 when throat surgery left him unable to perform for a while, and he blames that misfortune for halting his momentum. Great Shakin' Fever contains a handful of cuts from a country album Benton made in 1967 following his surgery; they show that his voice remained intact and that he easily could have gone on to make more great music. Alas, it was not to be, although he has since given occasional performances at Australian oldies shows.