Legendary Shack Shakers – Cockadoodledeux (Alternative Tentacles)
Twenty-five years ago, armed with banjos and mandolins, a slick rockabilly look and a punk rock ethos, the Legendary Shack Shakers came together in Paduca, Kentucky and confused the shit out of a lot of folks. They played just like the sons of Gene Vincent and Jerry Lee Lewis but approached the music more like The Dead Kennedys and The Damned.
And in 2021, thankfully, they are still as irreverent and brilliantly original as ever. To mark their Silver anniversary, the J.D. Wilkes-led Legendary Shack Shakers have added one of their best collection of songs in over a decade. Wilkes and the current line up brought back a slew of former members to help with Cockadoodledeux (the title is a nod to 2003’s Cockadoodledon’t) and Jello Biafra – the former Dead Kennedys frontman and current label boss for the Legendary Shack Shakers. Biafra appears on “Rawhide,” a decent cover that opens this set but is far from being the best track on this album.
“Our older albums jump around all over the place, genre to genre, styles that are almost diametrically-opposed even,” Wilkes said recently of this new record. “But this record jumps only within country music itself. It’s a big-tent genre, really. It has all these little subgenres within it providing endless variety. From Western swing and rockabilly to spaghetti Western and bluegrass — and even Tex Mex.”
While the “Rawhide” cover is a bit uninspired, the rest of the album is extraordinarily fun. Songs like “I Told You So,” and “They Won’t Let Me Forget (All The Things Can’t Recall)” are among some of the best in the band’s career – hilariously witty lyrics backed by some of the best swing bring played today. The only other cover on the record, the Harlan Howard/Bobby Braddock-penned “I Don’t remember Loving You,” is a solid tribute to the original. Can’t wait to see what the band does for their 50th anniversary. https://www.legendaryshackshakers.com/home
Enjoy our earlier interview with J.D. Wilkes here: Interview: J.D. Wilkes Opens Up About Folktales, Drama, and Memphis Style