Roots-music trio Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band adds a fourth member in Dom Flemons for a high-octane cover of “Shake Your Money Maker.” The musicians convened at Sun Records Studio in Memphis in late 2019 to re-create the Elmore James blues standard, which they had first performed together as a jam at the Blues Music Awards earlier that year.
It’s a particularly fierce take, with a guitar assist from Stax Records icon Steve Cropper and Scot Sutherland on bass. Their full-throttle version deftly blends elements of roadhouse blues with the back-porch vibes of the Big Damn Band: listen to the clicks and pops produced by washboard player Breezy Peyton. And Flemons sings with an energy that mimics James’ 1961 recording. All of it is united by the history of recording at Sun, Flemons says.
“Walking into the legendary home of rock & roll, we came in with a few charts to solidify the arrangement, but once the tape started rolling, the song came on like a freight train,” he says. “Cropper had one of his classic custom Peavey guitars and Rev was playing a guitar very much like Elmore James’ guitar, a prototype of the Supro Dualtone from 1952. The big bass sound, two electric guitars and the polyphonic rhythmic section, mixed with the bones, washboard and drum set, manifested the foundation for Rev Peyton and I to revisit the spirit of Elmore James, the frenetic slapback of Sam Phillips, and the deep river of soul that defined Stax Records, distilling it into one song that’ll blow the speakers out of the room.”