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Mother begin to scream... scream and holler sayin "lord have mercy on my child". I told her hush, hush now mother don't you cry 'cause Uncle Sam knew I was born to die - Arthur Weston, Uncle Sam Called Me

Author Topic: SOTM 01MAY2017 Shake That Thing  (Read 557 times)

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Offline Old Man Ned

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SOTM 01MAY2017 Shake That Thing
« on: May 01, 2017, 07:05:59 AM »
First recorded around May 1925 by Papa Charlie Jackson 'Shake That Thing' was an even bigger hit than his previous release 'Salty Dog' (Songsters & Saints; Paul Oliver).  By the end of the year, Ethel Waters, and the following year Viola McCoy and  Viola Bartlette had recorded versions.   

Ethel Waters claimed to have been performing the song on stage since 1921 (Songsters & Saints; Paul Oliver) so I'm assuming this was a popular vaudeville song that got carried through by blues and jazz musicians.

The following information on recording ie dates etc are taken from Dixon & Godrich.

Here's Papa Charlie Jacksons recording of "Shake That Thing" from 1925



and Ethel Waters with piano acc. by Pearl Wright followed by Eva Taylor's version accompanied by husband, Clarence William's Blue Five





Viola McCoy recorded songs from March 1923 -through '24 almost every month and then less regularly through to 1929.  Here's a quote from Author Derrick Stewart-Baxter who wrote of McCoy: "She belongs to the great vaudeville tradition, but in all she does there is a strong jazz strain ... Possessing a lovely contralto voice and fine diction, she was able to project herself through even the worst recording ... It would be true to say that in the three years she was recording most prolifically she hardly ever made a bad record". This just about sums it up for me.  Here's her recording of "Shake That Thing"



and Viola Bartlette's version from 1926 with possibly Jimmy Blythe on piano



Looking at guitar versions of "Shake That Thing", Mississppi John Hurt's version is the first to spring to mind



but I hadn't realised there were versions by Kokomo Arnold, Lightnin' Hopkins and  Ralph Willis.  The latter is at around 13:36 of the East Coast Blues cd below.







Piano versions I found from Willie Mabon and Art Hodes





and band versions from

Abe Lymans California Orchestra (1926). Kid Ory Creole Jazz Band and the Preservation Hall Band







Hope you enjoy this selection.  I thought there would have been more versions by blues singers with guitar so please add any more you find.

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: SOTM 01MAY2017 Shake That Thing
« Reply #1 on: May 01, 2017, 09:28:57 AM »
Great choice, Old Man Ned. Not forgetting the fragment that starts off Paramount's very scratchy 'Hometown Skiffle'!


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Offline Lignite

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Re: SOTM 01MAY2017 Shake That Thing
« Reply #2 on: May 01, 2017, 10:19:17 AM »
Sheet music cover. Papa Charlie gets authorship credit.

Offline Lignite

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Re: SOTM 01MAY2017 Shake That Thing
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2017, 08:23:56 PM »
A more recent interpretation by Big Boy Henry. Home recording about 1989?  http://picosong.com/iWq4

Offline Rivers

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Re: SOTM 01MAY2017 Shake That Thing
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2017, 07:02:10 PM »
I have a lot of Mississippi John Hurt albums but somehow missed his version of Shake That Thing. Does anyone know of an album that cut is on? It's really good.

Offline Stuart

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Re: SOTM 01MAY2017 Shake That Thing
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2017, 09:02:25 PM »
Hi Rivers: Good question. I checked Stefan Wirz' Mississippi John Hurt page and it first appears in 1982 on a live LP. The note indicates the recordings are from the April 15, 1966 Oberlin concert. After listening to the YouTube clip, my guess is that this version was recorded at the Oberlin concert, but didn't make it onto the original Vanguard "Best of" release. I don't have Philip Ratcliffe's book at hand, so I can't check it for additional info.

Without having access to the "Shake That Thing" tracks on all of the other releases and being able to compare them, along with any additional info that may be available, it's just a guess on my part. I'll be interested about what our more knowledgeable members have to say.

Offline Rivers

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Re: SOTM 01MAY2017 Shake That Thing
« Reply #6 on: May 02, 2017, 09:17:16 PM »
Yep, I thought Oberlin too. Excellent warm sound, and the big auditorium applause at the end.

Offline alyoung

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Re: SOTM 01MAY2017 Shake That Thing
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2017, 02:31:20 AM »
It was issued in 1982 on an English LP, Quicksilver QS-5007, which, with Quicksilver QC-5042, issued Oberlin material not on the Vanguard issue. I don't know of any CD issue. Anyone?

Offline Old Man Ned

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Re: SOTM 01MAY2017 Shake That Thing
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2017, 07:54:34 AM »
I have a version of  'Shake That Thing' on the CD, Mississippi John Hurt, Lonesome Blues on the Blitz label.  I've a vague memory of picking this up at HMV at discount price some years ago, so not sure it's still available.

Offline Stuart

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Offline Johnm

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Re: SOTM 01MAY2017 Shake That Thing
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2017, 09:24:27 AM »
Thanks, Old Man Ned, for your Song of the Month choice and for tracking down all the different versions of "Shake That Thing".  I'm always happy to be reminded of Ralph Willis, he seems so under-rated to me.  The Kokomo Arnold version is unlike anything else I've heard from him.
All best,
Johnm

Offline harry

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Re: SOTM 01MAY2017 Shake That Thing
« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2017, 05:53:29 AM »
Strut instead of shake.


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