Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet


Shake Shake Mama


Nick's Picks: 02 Crazy 'bout An Automobile; 08 I Got To Love Somebody; 09 Midnight Special; 11 Can't Be Satisfied

FCC ALERT: "squeaky clean, but with many double entendres"

Review by Steven "Nick" Nickelson of Toby Walker Shake Shake Mama:

Typically, musicians join a group of like-minded individuals and then form a band from which (fill in your genre here) music emanates. Sometimes, a brilliant/genius/savant is discovered and the route short-circuits; thus, a single individual decides to embark on a solo musical career. Although the journey can be lonesome, such an individual has complete control over the content of the music played, as well as the specific type of music played. This can only be a successful formula for the individual if he/she has: 1. awesome talent, and 2. an audience that appreciates the awesome talent. Such is the story of Toby Walker. Each and every song on this cd is played by a different guitar, and in a sub-classification of the blues that highlights the specific guitar and player. This is one of those cds that can be raw and gritty – due to the sparse instrumentation (just a man and his guitar – and his woman accompanying on bass); yet is rife with get-down blues that can be toe-tappin' and hand-clappin'. Although I would buy this cd, I would be more inclined to see this genius/savant live. And that's my two nickels' worth........................Nick

Bio: Toby’s passion for blues, rags, folk, and other traditional American music drove him to leave an apartment crammed full of recordings, books and instruments for the Mississippi Delta, Virginia and the Carolinas where he tracked down some of the more obscure - but immensely talented - music makers of an earlier era. He learned directly from Eugene Powell, James "Son" Thomas, Etta Baker, and R.L Burnside, among others. The talent, passion, and soul of a Toby Walker performance reflects these travels. Whether it is telling the humorous and heartwarming tales of other masters, talking about his inspirations, or astounding you with his mastery, his performances are a feast for the senses. The audience is moved in ways that delight them long after the encores. You can catch a taste of these stories on his Web site in "The Masters” section. But make no mistake about it - he is to be experienced live. Those fortunate enough to attend one of his shows will vouch for that. The love Toby has for his craft pushes him to share his history and experience where he has performed his Blues In The School program, allowing others to share the sounds, sights, and emotions of his unique abilities. His teaching credits include, among others, Jorma Kaukonen's Fur Peace Ranch in Ohio and a DVD release with the prestigious Homespun Tapes label called 'Blues Fingerpicking Freedom.' In 2006, Carnegie Hall acknowledged his rare talents and hired him to augment and teach in their "American Roots" program aimed at honor level middle school students. This one-of-a-kind series demonstrates the history of blues music and traditions, while teaching the history of African Americans as they migrated from the south into the north. His mastery of the blues was recognized in Memphis when he won the International Blues Challenge Award. Toby Walker has performed with the following: Richie Havens, Taj Mahal, John Mayall, Bo Diddley, John Hammond, James Cotton, Johnny Winter, Paul Oscher, Pete Seeger, Judy Collins, Bob Margolin, Charlie Musselwhite, Hubert Sumlin, Jimmy Vaughn, Kenny Neal, Robert Lockwood Junior, Lonnie Brooks, Hans Theesink, Doc Watson, David Bromberg, Mike Dowling, Johnny Copeland, Bobby Radcliff, Savoy Brown, Sonny Landreth, John Sebastian, Chuck Brodsky, Chris Smither, Cliff Eberhardt, Eric Bibb, Roy Bookbinder, Christine Lavin, Cheryl Wheeler, Jack Williams, Pat Wictor, The Kennedys, Rich Furay, G.E. Smith, Woody Mann, Jorma Kaukonen, Larry Campbell, Rory Block, Corey Harris, Tracy Grammer, Laura Love, Duke Robillard, The Kingston Trio and J.J. Cale.

The Musicians:

・ Toby Walker – nine hundred (I exaggerate – but not by much) guitars

・ Carol Walker – Upright bass

The Songs:


1. Shake Shake Mama (Mance Lipscomb)

2. Crazy 'Bout An Automobile (Traditional)

3. Mama Tain't Long For The Day (Blind Willie McTell)

4. Travelin' Riverside Blues (Robert Johnson)

5. Keep On Truckin' Mama (Blind Boy Fuller)

6. Tootie Blues (Blind Blake)

7. Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burnin' (Blind Willie Johnson)

8. I Got to Love Somebody (Muddy Waters)

9. Midnight Special (Huddie Ledbetter)

10. Shuffle Rag (Big Bill Broonzy)

11. Can't Be Satisfied (Muddy Waters)

12. What's The Matter Now (Fred McDowell)

. 13. Meat Shakin' Woman (Blind Boy Fuller)

14. Broke Down Engine (Blind Willie McTell)

15. She's 19 Years Old (Muddy Waters )

16. Cigarette Blues (Bo Carter)

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Compiled by the WYCE Journalism Club

The opinions expressed in these reviews are those of the individual volunteers that submitted the article and do not necessarily reflect the views of WYCE or GRCMC; nor its staff, donors, or affiliates.