Shake Your Money Maker (album)

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Shake Your Money Maker
Studio album by The Black Crowes
Released February 13, 1990 (1990-02-13)
Recorded 1989
Studio Soundscape Studios, Atlanta; Chapel Studios, Paramount Studios and Grandmaster Studios, Los Angeles
Length 43:42
Label Def American
Producer George Drakoulias
The Black Crowes chronology
Shake Your Money Maker
The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion

Shake Your Money Maker is the debut studio album by American rock band The Black Crowes, released in February 1990 on Def American Recordings. It is the only album by the band to feature guitarist Jeff Cease. The album is named after a classic blues song written by Elmore James. The Black Crowes have played the song live many times over the years, but it is not included on this album.

Shake Your Money Maker peaked at No. 4 on the Billboard 200, and two of its singles, "Hard to Handle" and "She Talks to Angels", reached No. 1 on the Mainstream Rock Tracks chart. "Jealous Again", "Twice As Hard" and "Seeing Things" were also charting singles in the US. Shake Your Money Maker is the Black Crowes' best selling album, having sold more than 5 million copies.[2]

Background and production[edit]

Brothers Chris and Rich Robinson had formed Mr. Crowe's Garden in 1984.[3] In 1988 George Drakoulias spotted the band during a show the band gave in New York City and got them signed to Def American in 1988; they changed their name to The Black Crowes shortly after.[4]

The recording sessions began in the summer of 1989 in Atlanta and Los Angeles, with Drakoulias producing the album. Some tracks include retained songs from the Mr. Crowe's Garden era such as "Could I've Been So Blind" and "She Talks to Angels", whose riff had been written years ago by then-17 years old Rich Robinson[5] and whose lyrics were inspired to Chris by a heroin-addicted girl he "kinda knew" in Atlanta.[6] The band also chose to record a cover version of Otis Redding's "Hard to Handle", which would prove to be their breakthrough single.[7]

Four music videos for "Twice As Hard", "Jealous Again", "Hard To Handle" and "She Talks to Angels" were filmed to promote the band and the album,[8] and subsequently aired on MTV.

Release and reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[1]
Robert Christgau(dud)[9]
Entertainment WeeklyB+[11]
Melody Maker4/5 stars[12]
Q4/5 stars[12]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[13]

When the album came out in February 1990, critical reception was mostly favorable: Rolling Stone gave the album three out of five stars, and its readers and critics voted the Black Crowes 'Best New American Band' in 1990;[14] the band appeared on the cover of the magazine's 605th issue (May 1991) following their firing from the ZZ Top tour in March that year. The issue's interview of Chris and Rich Robinson compared the band to 1970s acts, with journalist David Fricke explicitly citing Faces and The Rolling Stones and Rich Robinson mentioning Aerosmith.[15] AllMusic gave the album four out of five stars, praising Rich Robinson's guitar playing and Chris Robinson's "appropriate vocal swagger".[1] Entertainment Weekly gave it a B+ and stated, "The Black Crowes are to the early Rolling Stones what Christian Slater is to the young Jack Nicholson: a self-conscious imitation, but fine enough in its own right. Authentic bluesmen these Crowes will never be, but their sheer energy earns 'em the right to trash it up."[11]

"Hard to Handle", "Jealous Again" and "Twice As Hard" broke into the Mainstream Rock Tracks charts, respectively reaching the first, fifth and eleventh position. By the end of the year, Shake Your Money Maker had sold one million copies[citation needed] and eventually sold two million more,[3] thus receiving triple platinum certification. In 1991, "She Talks to Angels" and "Seeing Things" respectively reached the first and second position of the Mainstream Rock Tracks charts.


The album was included in the book 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die.[16]

Track listing[edit]

All songs written by Chris Robinson and Rich Robinson, except where noted.

  1. "Twice As Hard" – 4:09
  2. "Jealous Again" – 4:35
  3. "Sister Luck" – 5:13
  4. "Could I've Been So Blind" – 3:44
  5. "Seeing Things" – 5:18
  6. "Hard to Handle" (Allen Jones, Alvertis Isbell, Otis Redding) – 3:08
  7. "Thick n' Thin" – 2:44
  8. "She Talks to Angels" – 5:29
  9. "Struttin' Blues" – 4:09
  10. "Stare It Cold" – 5:13
  11. "Live Too Fast Blues/Mercy, Sweet Moan" – 1:17 (hidden track)
Bonus tracks
  1. "Don't Wake Me" – 3:33 (Bonus track on 1998 Sho' Nuff Box Set version)
  2. "She Talks to Angels (Acoustic)" – 6:19 (Bonus track on 1998 Sho' Nuff Box Set version)

"Live Too Fast Blues/Mercy, Sweet Moan" follows the bonus tracks.

The bonus tracks were originally part of the recording sessions at Soundscape Studios in Atlanta.[17]


Additional personnel
  • George Drakoulias – producer
  • Brendan O'Brien – engineer, mixing
  • Lee Manning – assistant engineer, mixing, mixing engineer
  • Rick Rubin – executive producer (credited on the sleeve only after the album became successful)[18]
  • Michael Lavine – photography
  • Ruth Leitman – photography, cover photo
  • Greg Fulginiti and Leon Zervos – mastering
  • Pete Angelus – personal manager
  • Alan Forbes – artwork, art direction, design
  • Tag George – assistant engineer

Charting singles[edit]

Billboard charts (North America)

Year Title Chart Highest


1990 Jealous Again The Billboard Hot 100 75
1990 Hard to Handle Mainstream Rock Tracks 1
1990 Jealous Again Mainstream Rock Tracks 5
1990 Twice As Hard Mainstream Rock Tracks 11
1991 Hard to Handle The Billboard Hot 100 26
1991 She Talks to Angels The Billboard Hot 100 30
1991 Seeing Things Mainstream Rock Tracks 2
1991 She Talks to Angels Mainstream Rock Tracks 1


  1. ^ a b c Huey, Steve. "Shake Your Money Maker – The Black Crowes". AllMusic. Retrieved March 8, 2008. 
  2. ^ Curtis, Gregory (January 30, 1997). "The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion | Album Reviews". Rolling Stone. Retrieved March 22, 2012.
  3. ^ a b Erlewine, Stephen Thomas. "The Black Crowes – Biography". AllMusic. Retrieved January 12, 2011. 
  4. ^ "25 Years Ago: The Black Crowes Release Their Debut Album". 2015-01-29. Retrieved 2016-02-18. 
  5. ^ "What's So Bad About the Black Crowes?". 1991-05-30. Retrieved 2016-02-18. 
  6. ^ Chris Robinson (interviewee) (August 7, 2007). Moving From SYMM TO SHAMC (1992). YouTube. Event occurs at 1:54. Retrieved January 12, 2010. 'She Talks to Angels', you know, is about a girl I kind of knew in Atlanta, who was a goth girl, who was into heroin. 
  7. ^ "Rock Rewind: The Black Crowes "Hard To Handle"". 2013-11-23. Retrieved 2016-02-18. 
  8. ^ "The Black Crowes Official Videos". Retrieved 2016-02-18. 
  9. ^ "Robert Christgau: CG: The Black Crowes". Robert Christgau. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  10. ^ 2000[dead link]
  11. ^ a b Marsh, Dave (25 January 1991). "The Death of Rock?". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 26 January 2013. 
  12. ^ a b "Black Crowes - Shake Your Money Maker CD Album". CD Universe. Retrieved 26 January 2013. 
  13. ^ Coleman, Mark (31 May 1990). "Shake Your Money Maker by The Black Crowes". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 19 August 2011. 
  14. ^ The Black Crowes at the Rolling Stone website
  15. ^ What's So Bad About The Black Crowes? at the Rolling Stone website's archives.
  16. ^ Robert Dimery; Michael Lydon (23 March 2010). 1001 Albums You Must Hear Before You Die: Revised and Updated Edition. Universe. ISBN 978-0-7893-2074-2. 
  17. ^ Shake Your Money Maker re-issue liner notes.
  18. ^ "The Black Crowes And Rick Rubin "Executive Producer" Credit Fight". 2010-01-20. Retrieved 2016-02-18.