Through five years, and over as may CDs, the rotating personnel of the Mannish Boys constituted an impressive array of rhythm-section member and special guest all-stars. Shake for Me displays this potpourri of blues musicians on some classic tunes and those written by select bandmembers, each one with a special, customized feeling. With personnel ranging from duets up to horn-fired big-band charts, this quintessential backup band takes center stage on their way to deserved recognition as a premier blues group in their own right. Among the classics they cover are "Mona" welded onto the Johnny Otis evergreen "Willie & the Hand Jive" in bompity-bomp fashion à la Bo Diddley, with Bobby Jones singing; the slow jazz shuffle penned by Ray Charles, "Hey Now," again with the irrepressible Jones (check out his CD with the Mannish Boys as his backup band, Comin Back Hard); "You Can't Be Beat," a quintessential Chi-Town/Howlin' Wolf blues; Little Walter's "Last Night" with mighty harmonica man Rod Piazza; the get-down Muddy Waters number "Champagne & Reefer"; and "Number Nine Train" in a loose Hound Dog Taylor style also make the cut. Randy Chortkoff's "Educated Ways" is an original that stands out with a Bill Doggett sound, as does the lengthy jam "Those Worries" featuring Lynwood Slim on the harp. Other guests and past standout Mannish Boys include vocalists Jones, Finis Tasby or Kirk Fletcher, the legendary Arthur Adams, and harmonica specialists Mitch Kashmar, Johnny Dyer, Big Pete Van Der Pluijrn, Chortkoff, pianist Rob Rio, and guitarist Kid Ramos. The core band of guitarists Nick Curran and Franck Goldwasser, keyboardist Fred Kaplan, and drummer Jimi Bott have surrounded themselves with so many dynamic and distinctive performers for this set, making for a mind-blowing program of diverse blues that cannot help but be a top blues CD for 2010 and beyond.
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AllMusic Review by Michael G. Nastos