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The Shadows of Knight - "Shake"
Initially released late in 1968 on the Super K label, "Shadows of Knight" was the album featuring the revamped line-up
By Beverly Paterson, The Lance Monthly
(more articles from this author)
2009-03-28
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Artist: The Shadows of Knight
Title: "Shake"
Genre: Oldies / Garage Band
Label: Rev-Ola Records

"The Stones, Animals and Yardbirds took the Chicago blues and gave it an English interpretation. We've taken the English version of the blues and re-added a Chicago touch," The Shadows of Knight were quoted as saying when describing their sound. And such a definition was right on target. Coming together in 1965 in Mount Prospect, Illinois, the band struck gold first time around by scoring a nationwide top ten winner with a menacing cover of Them's already dark and deadly "Gloria." Hot on the heels of this wicked disc arrived a comparably fierce treatment of Bo Diddley's "Oh Yeah," which peaked at the number thirty-nine spot on the charts during the summer of 1966.

The Shadows of Knight also put out a pair of albums ("Gloria" and "Back Door Men") that year that were crammed tight with the kind of blues buttered garage rock they were so enamored with. But trouble started brewing, and by 1968 the band dismantled. However, lead singer Jim Sohns was determined to keep The Shadows of Knight going, so he recruited a whole new set of musicians into the fold. And so began another chapter in the life of the band.

Initially released late in 1968 on the Super K label, "Shadows of Knight" was the album featuring the revamped line-up. "Shake" contains the record in its entirety, along with some singles not initially included on the effort. The title track of the collection, which received a healthy amount of airplay in certain districts across the land, is a real stunner. A screaming chorus, joined by a head on collision of juicy bubble gum flavorings and hard driving rhythms makes "Shake" a dance floor classic. Cut of a similar fabric is "My Fire Department Needs A Fire Man," which explodes to the skies with hissing fuzz guitars, catchy beats and lusty lyrics.

Although the snotty and arrogant approach that dominated The Shadows of Knight's previous sides remained intact, it was clear they were now cruising down a different road. Spurred by chugging grooves, twitching keyboards, squealing guitar riffage, crunchy melodies and seriously angry and annoyed vocals, songs like "I'll Set You Free," "I Wanna Make You All Mine" and "Uncle Wiggly's Airship" tremble with heavy duty vibes. An intense rendition of Buffalo Springfield's "Bluebird" further appears on the set. Cribbing the teen pop appeal of Tommy James and The Shondells and applying liberal splashes of Steppenwolf and The James Gang to the canvas, The Shadows of Knight created a curious mix of impressions. Teeming with sauce and sweat, "Shake" provides a nice summary of the band's latter day work, which has often been overlooked.


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