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Shake Your Moneymaker: The Best of the Fire Sessions

Elmore James

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Album Review

An intensely powerful singer and guitarist, Elmore James did not start his recording career until he was 33, and he only lived to be 45, but he made a very strong impact during his dozen years on records. Some of his finest work was cut for the Fire label during 1959-1961, roughly half of which is included on this single CD. Other than a final outburst of selections during February 1963, these were James' last studio sessions, and he is heard at the peak of his powers throughout. Among the best-known performances are the hit "Shake Your Moneymaker," "The Sky Is Crying," and a remake of his famous "Dust My Broom," but all 16 selections are full of passion and fire. This is an essential acquisition for blues collectors, at least until a more complete James on Fire reissue comes out.

Biography

Born: 27 January 1918 in Richland, MS

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s

No two ways about it, the most influential slide guitarist of the postwar period was Elmore James, hands down. Although his early demise from heart failure kept him from enjoying the fruits of the '60s blues revival as his contemporaries Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf did, James left a wide influential trail behind him. And that influence continues to the present time — in approach, attitude and tone — in just about every guitar player who puts a slide on his finger and wails the blues....
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