Search - Furry Lewis :: Shake Em on Down

Shake Em on Down
Furry Lewis
Shake Em on Down
Genres: Country, Blues, Folk, Jazz, Pop
  •  Track Listings (20) - Disc #1

The pride of Memphis country blues, Furry Lewis had a diverse repertoire that included a variety of Southern musical styles: folk songs, country music, Delta blues, and jug band among them. After recording noteworthy sides...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Furry Lewis
Title: Shake Em on Down
Members Wishing: 3
Total Copies: 0
Label: Fantasy
Release Date: 3/20/1995
Genres: Country, Blues, Folk, Jazz, Pop
Styles: Classic Country, Delta Blues, Traditional Blues, Regional Blues, Memphis Blues, East Coast Blues, Acoustic Blues, Traditional Folk, Traditional Jazz & Ragtime
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 025218240321, 029667148627

The pride of Memphis country blues, Furry Lewis had a diverse repertoire that included a variety of Southern musical styles: folk songs, country music, Delta blues, and jug band among them. After recording noteworthy sides in the late-1920s, Lewis toiled as a Memphis street cleaner until the revivalist movement of the early-1960s. These 20 cuts from 1961 display a more-spirited approach than his early work. The intervening years added character to his vocals while his biting slide-guitar work includes at various times forceful rhythms, expressive wails, and supple finger picking. In his later years, Lewis had an entertainer's perspective, infusing his work with style, enthusiasm, and a compelling narrative quality. --Marc Greilsamer

CD Reviews

A Three Finger Shot of Furry Lewis
Gavin B. | St. Louis MO | 02/10/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Furry Lewis's music goes down like a 3 finger shot of top-shelf bourbon: fire in the belly with a warm and heady afterglow. Furry had the reputation as hard drinking, loose tongued, spiteful grifter who alienated friend and foe alike, with his well chosen barbs. Having known Furry in the early 70's, I will confirm that 99% of the testimony to Furry's lack of character is probably true. Furry was also a riveting performer who could weave his spell over young audiences well beyond his 80th birthday. (Are you listening, Mick Jagger?) The 1972 recording, "Shake 'Em on Down" is not only Furry's best recorded performance, but is one of the best of the blues genre.Over the thirty year lifespan of "Shake Em on Down", I have purchased this album four times; twice in vinyl, which I wore out from overplay, once in cassette, and finally the CD format, and I am hoping the CD will be the last copy of it I will ever need. Many will swear that Furry's early recordings are better because they capture him in his prime, but this CD captures the raw essence of Furry's magnetic performance aura. Like Billy Holiday, Furry's voice became gravelly, deeper and more emotional with age. Speaking subjectively, I like the sound of Holiday's and Lewis' steel tempered voices, scarred by the ravages of age. Furry was a heavy-handed guitar player who often pounded his guitar like a percussion instument. Furry always had contempt for delicate fingerpickers who were "afraid of their guitars" and to prove his point Furry would "beat the demons" out of his guitar and used his bottleneck stylings as the alter-ego to his dark and often menancing voice. Furry claimed he was mentored by early jazz legend W.C. Handy and many of his renditions of the popular standards of the early 20th century bear out this influence. Some of the traditional songs on "Shake 'Em on Down" have been traced as far back as the Civil War Reconstruction era. My personal favorites are the gritty delta blues he performs. Furry, like many blues performers, reshaped classic and standards to his own image, adding a unique narrative perspective to the lyrics. Furry often rendered a song unrecogizable by introducing a stylized musical arrangement and a new set of original lyrics. Furry's lyrical imagery of steam engines, card sharks, jail houses, corrupt judges, bail bondsmen, wanton women and the life of a "rambling man" give us rare window into the lives ordinary people in the early part of the last century. Finally, there is something very unusual about the production values of this album, which may explain the hypnotic spell that "Shake 'Em on Down" has woven over me and other devotees. It sounds like it was recorded in a cavernous room, maybe even a church. There is a subtle echo that trails off from the edges of the vocal and guitar tracks which suggest a robust, yet, otherworldly quality, quite like that of the Cowboy Junkie's celebrated "Trinity Church Sessions." That final touch in production esthetics, makes this album a rare and irreplaceble relic for the collector of blues."
One of the best Blues recordings ever done
HELIO CARDOSO | 11/21/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is my favorite blues CD ( I have more than 400 ! ). Furry's voice and guitar at the best. This record always moves me a lot. This is a solo recording, but sometimes you may swear that there are two guys playing guitar. All tracks are good but John Henry; When My Baby Left Me; Judge Boushay; Casey Jones; Frank and Johnnie and I'll Turn Your Money Green deserve a thousand *stars*."
Great old-time blues
HELIO CARDOSO | 03/31/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"actually, i already own this cd. or at least i did until someone broke into my truck and stole it along w/the stereo and other stuff. anyway, it's a great cd. like most blues musicians, furry traveled far and wide, but his music reflects the delta-style blues (as opposed to the more amplified chicago blues). all songs consist of nothing but furry and a guitar, often an old steel national.great tracks like john henry, st. louis blues, and others make this one a keeper. the title track, which was originally done by fred mcdowell, is great as well. there are about 20 tracks on this one, so you certainly get your money's worth.suffice it to say that after i replaced the window in the truck this is the first cd i bought."