The hot and heavy Boneshakers were (not were) with Was (Not Was) throughout the excellent '80s, whipping out records and touring extensively with just about everybody. The band expanded over two decades into a dozen directions, all bountiful, dipping in and out of radio rotation although remaining consistently on international tour. Boneshaker vocalist Sweet Pea Atkinson (who out-silk-suits Morris Day in the stage fashion department) and jaw-dropping guitarist Randy Jacobs worked steadily with Brian Wilson, Bonnie Raitt, Elton John, Lyle Lovett, Iggy Pop, Ofra Haza, and Coolio, among scores of other A-list playfolk. Their 1999 release Shake the Planet is a hardwood floor-trembler, explosive with five times as much funk as rock, and ten times as much soul on top of it. A rare record that feels almost as good as a live show, the Shakers' stamp of diversity is all over it: "Ball and Chain" is a lowdown funky marvel, as is "Water in the Well" and "Hand Over Fist, Heart Over Mind," thanks in particular to the earth-funky contributions of bassist Michael Henderson. "Teach Me How to Stay" and "Compromise, Communicate" are soul-searching pleas by hip adult men looking for an enlightened attitude in the romance department, and "Pouring Gasoline on a Burning Man" is just straight-up tight and on-time work on the part of everyone. Hopefully this CD marks the recorded resurgence of a fine band who sounds even better on their own than beside the royal company they consistently keep.
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