“Get Down and Get With It”
Slade Alive!, 1972
There is only one Slade, because there is only one Noddy Holder. When he opens his mouth and unleashes that piercing foghorn of a voice you know you are in the presence of something singular. This is in no way intended as a knock on Jim Lea, Dave Hill, Don Powell, or Noddy himself as a musician; these men crafted hit after hit, adapting New Orleans march beats into rock songs and swinging in a way few hard rockers ever have, then or now. But without a singer like Noddy they might never have made it and certainly not the way they did. They were the top British hit makers of the 1970s, with 17 consecutive top 20s in the UK, six of them hitting number one.
Slade Alive! captures the band at the beginning of that run. Slade’s version of “Get Down and Get With It” first hit the public consciousness in the summer of 1971 when the studio version reached a respectable #16 on the charts. Inspired by Little Richard’s 1966 version of the Bobby Marchan original, Slade chose it because it would get the crowd to stomp and clap without any artificial encouragement. And though this had the claps and stomps at their appropriate places, there is no replacing a crowd of hundreds – or later thousands – with some studio reverb.
The live cut not only benefits greatly from actual audience participation, but by Jim Lea staying on bass instead of shifting to the piano as he had on the single; it helps cements this as Slade’s tune instead of just a cover of Little Richard. With Noddy holding the rhythm on his guitar, comping like the piano did in the studio, it frees Dave Hill to really let go on his leads as the song reaches its crescendo. The result is less boogie woogie and more barn burning stomper.
But the magic all begins with Noddy. “Well Alllllllllright Everybooddy *BOMP* Let Your Haaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiir Doowwoowwown *BOMP* Let Your Haaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiir Doowwoowwown *BOMP* I WANNASEE EVRYBODY GETUP OFF YER SEATS! CLAP YOUR HANDS AND STAMP YOUR FEET! GET DOWN AND GET WITH IT! I SAIDA GET DOWN GET WITH IT” And they’re off.