The Shakin' Pyramids

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The Shakin' Pyramids
The Shakin' Pyramids in Montreal, 1983 (l-r: Dave Duncan, James G. Creighton, Ken McLellan)
The Shakin' Pyramids in Montreal, 1983 (l-r: Dave Duncan, James G. Creighton, Ken McLellan)
Background information
OriginGlasgow, Scotland
Rock and Roll
Years active1980–1983
LabelsCuba Libre (Virgin Records)
Scotti Brothers Records
Raucous Records
Past membersDave Duncan
James G. Creighton
"Railroad" Ken McLellan

The Shakin' Pyramids (also known as Shakin' Pyramids) were a Scottish rockabilly band formed in Glasgow in 1980. The band consisted of Dave Duncan (vocals, harmonica, percussion) James G. Creighton (acoustic and electric guitar, vocals) and "Railroad" Ken McLellan (acoustic guitar, vocals).

During the band's recording career from 1980–1983, they released two studio albums, four singles, and three extended plays—the last of which was recorded with the British musician Lonnie Donegan. Although the Shakin' Pyramids did not enjoy any major chart successes, their output was well-received by critics and has been described as having helped define the rockabilly revival of the early 1980s.



The Shakin' Pyramids formed in Glasgow in 1980, and began busking around the city. The band travelled internationally and were ultimately spotted playing outside a Virgin Megastore in London, which led to a deal with Cuba Libre, a subsidiary of Virgin Records.[1][2]

Cuba Libre years[edit]

The Shakin' Pyramids' first song for Cuba Libre, "Reeferbilly Boogie", was recorded in 1980 on a four-track recorder at the Hellfire club in Glasgow, and was named "Single of the Week" by NME.[3][4] Also that year the band played the Loch Lomond Festival, alongside the Jam, Stiff Little Fingers and the Tourists.[3]

The group's first EP, entitled Take a Trip, was released the following year. The title track appeared on their debut album, entitled Skin 'Em Up (1981), which received 5/5 stars from Rolling Stone.[5] AllMusic, who also praised the record, described it as having "helped define the short-lived rockabilly revival of the early '80s."[6] The album was promoted by a single, "Tennessee Rock 'n 'Roll", which was also the title of an EP featuring single B-side "Alright Alnight" and two new tracks. Later in 1981, the band released a third and final EP in collaboration with musician Lonnie Donegan,[7] who is described by the Guinness Book of British Hit Singles & Albums as "Britain's most successful and influential recording artist before the Beatles."[8]

The band's second and final studio album, Celts and Cobras (1982) – on the cover of which they were billed as "Shakin' Pyramids" – was more diverse in its style but was seen as a departure from the group's original, immediate sound.[9][10] Trouser Press declared that "The band still rocks, but they'd better figure out where they're going."[7] "Pharaoh's Chant" was released as the album's first single, followed by "Just A Memory". The group ultimately disbanded in 1983, midway through a Canadian tour.[4]

The Shakin' Pyramids played to audiences worldwide and made a number of television appearances during their short career.[11] Ken Smith of The Herald described the band's oeuvre as being composed of "critically-acclaimed but modestly-selling records".[1]

Subsequent releases[edit]

The Shakin' Pyramids (1983), a compilation album, was released shortly after the group's disbandment by Rock 'n Roll Records, a Scotti Brothers Records subsidiary. A live set recorded at the Kelvingrove Free Music Festival in Glasgow in May 1981 was released as Reeferbilly Blowout by Raucous Records in 2001.[4][11]

Post-Shakin' Pyramids endeavours[edit]

In the mid 1980s Creighton played with the Fighting Fifty-First.[2] In the 1990s he provided musicianship for the River Detectives and served as frontman of the Buicks.[2][12] Creighton released two solo albums on Raucous during the 2010s; his third and final album was released via his own website in 2018.[13] Creighton died from a stroke on 17 February 2021, aged 62.[2]

Duncan and McLellan perform as the Véloniños with guitarist Laurie Cuffe and bassist Hugh Jamieson.[14]


Studio albums[edit]

Extended plays[edit]

  • Take a Trip (1981)
  • Tennessee Rock 'n 'Roll (1981)
  • The Shakin' Pyramids and Lonnie Donegan EP (1981)


  • "Reeferbilly Boogie" (1980)
  • "Tennessee Rock 'n 'Roll" (1981)
  • "Just a Memory" (1982)
  • "Pharaoh's Chant" (1982)

Compilation album[edit]

Live album[edit]


  1. ^ a b Smith, Ken (2 February 2017). "Puttin' on the style in Glasgow with the legendary Lonnie". The Herald. Archived from the original on 1 March 2022. Retrieved 1 March 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  2. ^ a b c d Young, Claire Amber (27 February 2021). "Inverclyde's music scene in mourning following sudden death of legendary local performer". Greenock Telegraph. Archived from the original on 27 February 2021. Retrieved 1 March 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  3. ^ a b Sloan, Billy (19 September 2021). "The Cuban Heels. Work Our Way To Heaven. Billy Sloan's Greatest Scottish Albums". The Herald. Archived from the original on 22 September 2021. Retrieved 1 March 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  4. ^ a b c Liner notes for Reeferbilly Blowout. Raucous Records. 2001.
  5. ^ List of five-star albums from the second edition of The Rolling Stone Record Guide (1983) (archived at
  6. ^ Skin 'Em Up review at AllMusic
  7. ^ a b Shakin' Pyramids at Trouser Press
  8. ^ Roberts, David (2001). British Hit Singles (14th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. pp. 30–32. ISBN 0-85156-156-X.
  9. ^ Shakin' Pyramids Biography at AllMusic
  10. ^ Morrison, Craig (1998). Go Cat Go!: Rockabilly Music and Its Makers. University of Illinois Press. p. 240. ISBN 978-0252065385.
  11. ^ a b The Shakin' Pyramids: Reeferbilly Blowout at Raucous Records
  12. ^ Belcher, David (26 April 1994). "Pop parody that is pure Pulp". The Herald. Archived from the original on 16 January 2014. Retrieved 1 March 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  13. ^ "James G Creighton: For the Record". Archived from the original on 5 August 2018. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  14. ^ "About Us". Retrieved 1 March 2022.