Legendary Shack Shakers: The Southern Surreal

They only come out at night.

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The almighty ruckus the Shakers make could soundtrack a revivalist meeting where folks speak in tongues, snakes are milked and the congregation turn out to be zombies.

On The Grinning Man – very Stephen King – and (Let The) Dead Bury The Dead, Colonel JD Wilkes and his wrecking crew travel a road littered with rock’n’roll corpses.

The Colonel is something of a country academic, besides being a mean musician, so you may well spot shadows of J Geils Band, Hank Williams (all three, actually) or Tom Waits drifting across Down To The Bone and the growly gonzo rhythms of Buzzard And The Bell.

Swampy southern sounds are their stock-in-trade but it’s a soulful brew with all the authentic trappings you’d expect of a recording from Woodland Studios, Nashville.

Billie Bob Thornton puts in a cameo and the band make a decent fist of Born Under A Bad Sign. Finger-prickin’ good, Colonel.

Classic Rock 215: New Albums H-Z

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Max Bell

Max Bell worked for the NME during the golden 70s era before running up and down London’s Fleet Street for The Times and all the other hot-metal dailies. A long stint at the Standard and mags like The Face and GQ kept him honest. Later, Record Collector and Classic Rock called.