Dirty Linen - 8-9/01, p.53
"...An excellent intro to the giant's music..."
Living Blues - 7-8/01, p.81
"...This is a disc to recommend for fans of James who don't already own these recordings in other forms..."
Personnel includes: Elmore James (vocals, guitar); Jimmy Spruill, Riff Ruffin (guitar); Sam Myers (harmonica); J.T. Brown (tenor saxophone); Paul Williams (baritone saxophone); Danny Moore (trumpet); Johnny "Big Moose" Walker, Johnny Jones, Johnny Acey (piano); Sammy Lee Bully, Homesick James (bass); King Mose, Belton Evans, Johnny Williams, Odie Payne (drums).
Producer: Bobby Robinson.
Compilation producers: Rob Santos, John Broven.
Recorded between 1959 & 1961. Includes liner notes by John Broven.
Digitally remastered by Elliott Federman (SAJE Sound, New York, New York).
Personnel: Elmore James (vocals, guitar); Riff Ruffin, Wild Jimmy Spruill (guitar); Sam Myers (harmonica); J.T. Brown (tenor saxophone); Paul "Hucklebuck" Williams (baritone saxophone); Danny Moore (trumpet); Johnny "Big Moose" Walker, Johnny Acey (piano); King Mose, Johnny Williams , Odie Payne, Jr., Belton Evans (drums).
Liner Note Author: Jon Broven.
Recording information: Beltone Studios, New York, NY (11/1959-??/1961); Chicago, IL (11/1959-??/1961); J&M Studios, New Orleans, LA (11/1959-??/1961).
Photographers: Jon Broven; George Adins.
SHAKE YOUR MONEYMAKER brings together the best tracks Elmore James cut for Fire Records. James did a lot of label-hopping in his 12-year recording career (tragically, he died of a heart attack at 45), but his tenure at Fire (during 1959-'61) yielded some of his finest work. Two Robert Johnson tunes, "Standing at the Crossroads" and "Dust My Broom," were essential to James's repertoire, and were cut in superb versions for Fire. (The Fire version of "Dust My Broom," a tune he recorded numerous times throughout his career, is characterized by a thunderous, bass-heavy pounding.)
One of the most influential slide-guitar players ever, James employed slashing, wiry lines that can sound like a cattle prod jammed in an electric toaster (in the best possible way). His yelping tenor is desperate, poignant, and often sounds on the verge of breaking. In both playing and singing, James is passionately intense on slow blues ("The Sky Is Crying"), rolling groovers ("Fine Little Mama"), and dance-oriented shuffle boogies ("Stranger Blues"). SHAKE YOUR MONEYMAKER works well as a sampler of James's Fire work, and as an introduction to his blues artistry.