Owen Gray

Shook, Shimmy & Shake: The Anthology

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A prolific reggae vocalist who began recording singles in the late '50s and continued doing so for decades, Owen Gray finally got a thorough anthologization in 2004 when Trojan/Sanctuary released the long-overdue Shook, Shimmy & Shake. The double-disc, 50-song anthology is a wide-ranging reflection of the singer's best output. Gray began as a Bluebeat singer and later drifted toward traditional reggae à la Jimmy Cliff, passing through ska, rocksteady, and roots reggae phases along the way. This evolution slowly takes shape across the 20-year span documented here, with some insightful and invaluable liner notes by Michael de Koningh to shed light on that multifaceted evolution. While most every song here is of high quality, there are a few particularly novel inclusions, perhaps the most curious one being Gray's Chris Blackwell-produced cover of the Rolling Stones' "Tumbling Dice" (imagine that -- Exile on Main St. à la rocksteady!). Granted, this isn't the entire encapsulation of the high points of Gray's long, fruitful career. He did continue recording into the '80s and '90s (this anthology spans 1959-1978), most notably recording a cover of Marvin Gaye's "Sexual Healing" for Pama in 1982, but it's questionable whether those especially latter-day recordings are high points per se. And yes, there some real gems missing here, given the bottomless well of songs Gray recorded over the decades for various labels. In any event, however, Shook, Shimmy & Shake is a treasure trove, not only of Gray's mostly out of print recording career but also of excellent Bluebeat, rocksteady, and roots reggae music.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 2:49 SpotifyAmazon
2 2:24 SpotifyAmazon
3 2:39 SpotifyAmazon
4 2:18 SpotifyAmazon
5 2:54 SpotifyAmazon
6 2:27 SpotifyAmazon
7
2:34 SpotifyAmazon
8 2:52 SpotifyAmazon
9 2:37 SpotifyAmazon
10 2:55 SpotifyAmazon
11 2:21 SpotifyAmazon
12 2:56 SpotifyAmazon
13
2:22 SpotifyAmazon
14
2:45 SpotifyAmazon
15
2:47 SpotifyAmazon
16 5:23 SpotifyAmazon
17 2:53 SpotifyAmazon
18 4:44 SpotifyAmazon
19 2:44 SpotifyAmazon
20
3:10 SpotifyAmazon
21
3:28 SpotifyAmazon
22
2:18 SpotifyAmazon
23
2:22 SpotifyAmazon
24 2:50 SpotifyAmazon
25
2:33 SpotifyAmazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 3:08 SpotifyAmazon
2 3:11 SpotifyAmazon
3 3:00 SpotifyAmazon
4 3:44 SpotifyAmazon
5 2:23 SpotifyAmazon
6 2:39 SpotifyAmazon
7 2:32 SpotifyAmazon
8 3:35 SpotifyAmazon
9
3:46 SpotifyAmazon
10 2:56 SpotifyAmazon
11 2:31 SpotifyAmazon
12 2:11 SpotifyAmazon
13 3:44 SpotifyAmazon
14 3:01 SpotifyAmazon
15
3:08 SpotifyAmazon
16 2:38 SpotifyAmazon
17 2:43 SpotifyAmazon
18 3:04 SpotifyAmazon
19 3:41 SpotifyAmazon
20 2:59 SpotifyAmazon
21 2:49 SpotifyAmazon
22 3:28 SpotifyAmazon
23 3:58 SpotifyAmazon
24 2:57 SpotifyAmazon
25 3:23 SpotifyAmazon
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