The Black Crowes – Shake Your Money Maker: #329 of best 1,000 albums ever!

So why is The Black Crowes’ Shake Your Money Maker on this best 1,000 albums ever thing?

It occurs to me that I might be part of a unique generation that can recall the first ever vinyl albums (ZZ Top’s Eliminator and “Weird Al” Yankovic’s In 3-D!), cassette tapes (The Pointer Sisters’ Break Out and Lionel Ritchie’s Dancing on the Ceiling!), and compact discs that we’ve ever owned.

I was fortunate enough to get a cheap, portable CD player in 1990, well into the phase of my life when I became obsessed with classic rock.

I specifically recall that I had enough money – likely funded by my after-school job as a stockboy at a health food restaurant in Commack, New York called ProPortion – to purchase three albums.

I wanted to get my money’s worth, so to speak, so the first two albums in my shopping cart were ones that spanned two discs apiece: The Best of the Doors and Led Zeppelin’s Physical Graffiti.

The third album was one by a new rock band on the scene that had caught my interest: The Black Crowes’ Shake Your Money Maker.

“Hard To Handle” was the song that broke The Black Crowes onto the scene, as the song says, and it remains a catchy and rollicking southern rocker. The band’s use of a keyboardist (Eddie Harsch became The Black Crowes’ official keyboard player in 1991), Chris Robinson’s southern, playful delivery, and an up tempo swinging feel made it stand out during an era when songs like “Unskinny Bop” by Poison, “U Can’t Touch This,” by MC Hammer, and “Hold On,” by Wilson Phillips dominated mainstream radio.

These days, my favorite song on Shake Your Money Maker is “Jealous Again.” The tempo is slowed down just a touch versus “Hard To Handle,” which helps emphasize the excellent vocals from Robinson and the grooving, powerful guitar chops provided by (Chris’ brother) Rich Robinson.

“She Talks To Angels” is one of the band’s most well known songs, and it’s quite pretty, but I far prefer the power ballad “Sister Luck” in terms of the album’s relatively softer material.

Personal stuff that has something to do with The Black Crowes’ Shake Your Money Maker

I’ve seen The Back Crowes live twice. The first time, in Ithica, New York in the mid-‘90s, remains one of the best live concerts I’ve ever seen. The venue was a great size – perhaps holding a few thousand people – on campus at Cornell University.

The “floor” was packed with many fellow college students such as myself (a bunch of us drove from Binghamton University, about an hour south, to meet up with our Cornell friends), and we managed to be an ideal distance away from the stage.

The band put on a fabulous show, which helped cement my regard for them. The vibe was intimate yet rocking, and Chris Robinson was in full command.

I next saw The Black Crowes live in the late 2000s in southern California. They were the headliner of an outdoor concert called the Doheny Blues Festival, staged right on the beach in Dana Point.

The weather was great, and a friend and I enjoyed checking out many different bands during the day. I must say though that after a full day of blues music, I was pretty burned out by the time The Black Crowes took the stage that evening. Where we were seated (which was on the ground at the enormous outdoor venue) was really far from the stage, and the sound wasn’t great.

Overall, I was pretty disappointed after being excited to see what had been one of my all time favorite “live bands,” but that’s always part of the gamble of seeking to be in the right place at the right time to witness musicians conjuring what is in many ways the pure magic of live performance.

Some stats & info about The Black Crowes – Shake Your Money Maker

  • What kind of musical stylings does this album represent? Rock Music, Hard Rock
  • Rolling Stone’s greatest 500 albums ranking – not ranked!
  • All Music’s rating – 4 out of 5 stars
  • When was Shake Your Money Maker released? 1990
  • My ranking, the one you’re reading right now – #329 out of 1,000

The Black Crowes’ Shake Your Money Maker on Spotify

A lyrical snippet from The Black Crowes’ Shake Your Money Maker that’s evocative of the album in some way, maybe

Hey little thing, let me light your candle ‘cause mama, I’m sure hard to handle now, gets around.

What does the “best 1,000 albums ever” mean and why are you doing this?

Yeah, I know it’s audacious, a little crazy (okay, maybe a lot cray cray), bordering on criminal nerdery.

But here’s what it’s NOT: a definitive list of the Greatest Albums of All-Time. This is 100% my own personal super biased, incredibly subjective review of what my top 1,000 albums are, ranked in painstaking order over the course of doing research for nearly a year, Rob from High Fidelity style. Find out more about why I embarked on a best 1,000 albums ever project.