The Black Crowes were a band who rose to popularity via the tried and trusted method of hard-gigging their deep-rooted traditional rock and roll sound. Both before and after the release of their classic retro rock of their debut, the recently reissued Shake Your Money Maker, they gigged relentlessly, building up a grass roots audience in time honoured fashion. Slowly but surely sales of the album increased and the gigs sold out quicker. Radio stations eventually started to notice that “Twice As Hard”, “Jealous Again”, “Thick N’ Thin” and “Stare It Cold” were better rock songs that the majority of big name acts were putting out and realised that Shake Your Money Maker, was a gold mine of new material for classic rock radio. The cover of “Hard To Handle” was a medium sized hit and it looked as if the bands follow up could very well make the band superstars.
Then Grunge broke big.
Momentum managed to make the band’s follow up a medium seller, but in truth the wind had been taken out of their sails. The kids no longer wanted retro rockers wearing faded denim and crushed velvet jackets, they wanted mass produced angst and shouty blokes with problems and issues.
Listening back to it now, Shake Your Money Maker is an album that is difficult to pinpoint exactly when it was recorded, such is it’s reliance on the timeless rock and roll line up of vocalist, dual guitars, bass, drums and occasional keyboards / pianos and soulful backing vocals, add to that the earthy organic sound of it on vinyl, and you have an album which could easily have been recorded at any point between 1969 and last week. Much of this is down to George Drakoulias’ top-draw production, but ultimately, if The Black Crowes hadn’t been a great rock and roll band, then it would have all fallen flat., However, like the Black Crowes themselves, Shake Your Money Maker is an album that struts, preens and doesn’t pretend that it represents anything but those rock and roll values so beloved by so many.