Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers
Yep Roc Records
Take all of the rockabilly bands that are out there today — and there are a lot of them — and throw them into a river. Most are gonna sink straight to the bottom, because they’re filled with nothing but garbage. A precious few will float to the surface, inflated with the air of inspiration. One of these bands will be Nashville’s Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers. They’ll surface, grab a paddle and sail right on down the murky waters, spreading their delta-punk, southern-fried rockabilly sound all across the land.
The first time I had ever heard of the Shack Shakers was when I saw them open for surf-instrumentalists Los Straitjackets. Thirty seconds into their set, they had completely upstaged the headliners. No offense to the Straitjackets, but I could have gone home perfectly satisfied after the Shack Shakers’ set. One part punk, one part hillbilly, one part polka and one part carnival sideshow — these guys are in their own musical category. File under: Shack Shakers.
On their latest effort, Believe (their first on Yep Roc Records), they deliver a mouth-watering selection of their many musical styles. Opening with a train whistle and then moving into a polka called “Agony Wagon,” it should be apparent that this is not your average rockabilly record. It’s got a bad ass blues rock tune (“Piss and Vinegar”), a murder ballad that could rival Johnny Cash (“County of Graves”), a Patsy Cline country song (“The Pony To Bet On”) and a hillbilly tent revival song sung through a CB radio (“Cussin’ in Tongues”). They even make room for a Sonny Boy Williamson/Willie Dixon cover, “Help Me.” Somehow all of these styles come together and blend into one of the best records of 2004.
The Ringmaster of this crazy circus is Colonel J.D. Wilkes. The songwritin’, blues-harp playin’, chest hair yankin’ frontman who could be the lovechild of Iggy Pop and Jerry Lee Lewis. He is also the artist responsible for the unique artwork on the album’s cover. The man’s talents know no boundaries.
If you’re hungry for something a bit out of the mainstream… Something new that sounds like it’s been around for decades… Something strange and wild, yet musically tight… Buy this CD! And then go see their live show!
Th’ Legendary Shack Shakers: www.cockadoodledont.com