Mississippi-born bluesman Elmore James left his imprint on a generation of rock performers with his electrified style, influencing Jimi Hendrix and Keith Richards during his too-brief lifetime. That influence extends to the world of roots music and the new James tribute album Strange Angels: In Flight With Elmore James, which includes Rodney Crowell's rendition of "Shake Your Money Maker."
Crowell's version retains the shimmying rhythm and tempo of James' original, replacing the strutting bass riff with some sizzling electric guitar. In a video accompanying the song, Crowell and band are seen cutting their parts in the studio – complete with some Bo Diddley-style vamping – while antique footage of burlesque dancers breaks things up. Clocking in at a tidy 2:45, it's a lively romp that never wears out its welcome.
"First time I heard 'Shake Your Money Maker,' I was completely floored," says Crowell. "I couldn’t stop playing it for weeks. When I was asked to participate in the tribute, I jumped on it. Down and dirty, ethereal rock and roll is how I describe the song."
Due to be released January 26th (in conjunction with what would have been James' 100th birthday), Strange Angels also features Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer on the title track, Jamey Johnson and Warren Haynes on "It Hurts Me Too" and Tom Jones on "Done Somebody Wrong."
Strange Angels track listing:
1. "Can't Stop Loving You" - Elayna Boynton
2. "Person to Person" - Bettye LaVette with G.E. Smith
3. "Shake Your Money Maker" - Rodney Crowell
4. "Done Somebody Wrong" - Tom Jones
5. "Mean Mistreatin' Mama" - Warren Haynes with Billy Gibbons and Mickey Raphael
6. "Dust My Broom" - Deborah Bonham
7. "It Hurts Me Too" - Jamey Johnson with Warren Haynes
8. "Strange Angels" - Shelby Lynne and Allison Moorer
9. "Look on Yonder Wall" - Keb Mo'
10. "My Bleeding Heart" - Mollie Marriott
11. "Hawaiian Boogie" - Chuck E. Weiss
12. "Dark and Dreary" - Addi McDaniel
13. "Bobby's Rock" - Elmore's Latest Broomdusters