Shakin’ with Stevie Ray

I rummaged through a bunch of CDs this morning and found something interesting. It was a disc of random songs I burned at a Borders Books location years ago. (It must have been some time between Napster and iTunes. I don’t think the “Mix & Burn” trend lasted long. Thanks, ASCAP!) I found some interesting songs on there and a Stevie Ray Vaughan cut I repeatedly blasted on my car stereo today.

The song is called “Shake For Me”. Blues guitar phenom SRV didn’t write the song. (For my money, the song’s composer Willie Dixon is the single best blues songwriter of all time: “Hoochie Coochie Man”, “My Babe”, “Back Door Man”, and more, but I digress.) The Stevie Ray version was posthumously released on 1992’s live album “In The Beginning” .

This song grabbed me the first time I heard it on the radio. For me, it was like simultaneously hearing thunder and getting struck by lightning. KABOOM! One time a friend of mine said, “He’s tearing it up!” while we were watching a young guitar player at a blues jam. You could say the same thing about the SRV recording. According to Wikipedia, it was a 1980 show recorded at Steamboat 1874 in Austin, TX and broadcast on KLBJ-FM radio.

I couldn’t understand all of the lyrics in the SRV version outside of something about willow trees and Jell-o so I sought out the Howlin’ Wolf version featuring Hubert Sumlin on guitar.

The Howlin’ Wolf version seems tame in comparison, but give him credit for getting the ball rolling. By the way, did someone actually GET PAID for the album cover featuring the rocking chair and acoustic guitar? I mean, it’s roots music, I get it, but come on! The dude’s stage name was Howlin’ Wolf (aka Chester Burnett). You couldn’t do something a little more exciting with that?

I also discovered a version of “Shake for Me” by a Minneapolis band called The Underbeats.

Their version reminds of The Rolling Stones first album called “England’s Newest Hitmakers”. I wonder if Stevie Ray Vaughan was familiar with their take on it? The SRV version is on my bucket list of songs to learn on guitar among many others. Fantastic guitar tone! By the way, the bass player on the SRV version is Jackie Newhouse, not longtime Double Trouble member Tommy Shannon.

Till next time, Keep your Mojo on the Horizon!

2 thoughts on “Shakin’ with Stevie Ray

  1. I saw SRV on Austin City Limits in the 80s and my jaw dropped…to play that fast, precise and with that much soul was mind-blowing.
    I like the Underbeats version also.

    Liked by 1 person

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