The Mannish Boys - Shake For Me

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The Mannish Boys - Shake For Me

Postby blueswriter » Mon Aug 23, 2010 2:52 am

The Mannish Boys
Shake For Me
Delta Groove (2010) DGPCD 137


16 tracks, 68 minutes. Highly recommended. It’s entirely possible that the aggregation known as The Mannish Boys could be the most incredible gathering of blues talent for the 21st century. Although the band itself has changed considerably from Delta Groove and the unit’s maiden voyage of six years ago (That Represent Man DGPCD 100 dates back to 2004), the idea that fostered that initial project is still of paramount interest for label chief Randy Chortkoff. The desire all along has been to bring together some of the best players from today’s vibrant blues scene, let them loose to record a good handful of the genre’s old chestnuts (not to be confused with a shop-worn blues top-forty songlist), while allowing them to add to the canon by tossing in a few finely-crafted originals. Prior vocalists Finis Tasby, Bobby Jones and Johnny Dyer all return, with the lion’s share of the work split between Tasby's four tracks and six from Jones. Newcomers Arthur Adams and Big Pete van der Pluijm contribute one vocal each (Raunchy and Way Down South respectively), while Frank “Paris Slim” Goldwasser hands in Tarheel Slim’s Number 9 Train. Dyer’s reading of Muddy’s Champagne And Reefer is as masterful as are Tasby’s passionate efforts on Johnny “Guitar“ Watson‘s Too Tied, Little Walter’s Last Night plus Lowell Fulson’s Reconsider Baby and Black Nights. Jones is no less wonderful on his half-dozen, which include the ‘shave-and-a-haircut' medley of Mona/Willie And The Hand Jive, Educated Ways, Half Ain’t Been Told, Hey Now, You Can’t Be Beat, These Worries and You’ve Got Bad Intentions. Guitar chores are ably and admirably handled by the aforementioned Goldwasser and a now well-known Kirk “Eli” Fletcher. Keyboardist Fred Kaplan (from The Hollywood Blue Flames) tickles the ivories with the rhythmic backbeats laid down by Willie Campbell on bass and Jimi Bott behind the drums. Randy Chortkoff, Rod Piazza and van der Pluijm all throw in some fabulous harmonica here and there with horn charts spicing up a few tracks as well. It really matters not whether this constantly-evolving outfit is charging through a fast-paced shuffle or nailing down a slow and gripping blues, The Mannish Boys are a true blue lineup to be reckoned with on all fronts. They manage to keep a collective eye on what the blues tradition means while looking ahead in hopes of attracting a new listeners and their efforts have succeeded brilliantly with each project. Shake For Me represents a small milestone for this outfit as it is now their fifth disc for Delta Groove. Here’s hoping for many more discs and numerous milestones to follow. Top-shelf blues from start to finish.

© 2010 by Craig Ruskey
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