What's Shakin'
Get What's Shakin' essential facts below. View Videos or join the What's Shakin' discussion. Add What's Shakin' to your PopFlock.com topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
What's Shakin'
What's Shakin'
What's Shakin' original.jpg
Compilation album by
various artists
ReleasedJune 1966 (1966-06)

What's Shakin' is a compilation album released by Elektra Records in June 1966. It features the earliest studio recordings by the Lovin' Spoonful and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, as well as the only released recordings by the ad hoc studio group Eric Clapton and the Powerhouse, until they were reissued years later.


During the 1950s and early 1960s, Elektra was one of the best-known American folk music record labels. However, by 1964-1965, it decided to test the waters with unknown electric, rock-oriented artists. Among the first such groups signed were the Paul Butterfield Blues Band from Chicago and Arthur Lee's Love from Los Angeles.[1] Elektra wanted the Lovin' Spoonful, but they had already been signed to Kama Sutra Records in a previous production deal.[2]

Elektra had released several successful "sampler" compilation albums, including The Blues Project in 1964 and Folksong '65. Some suggest What's Shakin' started as The Electric Blues Project, a follow-up to the 1964 compilation;[3] however, Elektra founder Jac Holzman has stated "it was simply unreleased material that was available to us".[1]


Shortly after signing with Elektra, Paul Butterfield and band recorded an album's worth of songs which producer Paul A. Rothchild felt did not live up to the band's potential.[4] Five of these tracks were chosen for What's Shakin' . Four songs, representing the earliest recordings by the Lovin' Spoonful, as well as one song each by Al Kooper and Tom Rush, were also included.[4]

The only songs recorded specifically for the album were by a studio group dubbed Eric Clapton and the Powerhouse. Joe Boyd, who had been sent to London to open a field office for Elektra, was tasked with finding a suitable band for his first assignment.[1] Boyd approached Manfred Mann singer Paul Jones and suggested that they put one together.[5] Jones, who played harmonica and sang harmony, brought Manfred Mann bandmate Jack Bruce on bass, recruited the Spencer Davis Group's vocalist Steve Winwood and drummer Peter York, John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers's and former Yardbird's guitarist Eric Clapton, and Ben Palmer, a blues pianist friend of Jones and Clapton.[3]Ginger Baker was suggested as the drummer, but either declined[3] or was unavailable. The recording sessions took place in March 1966.[6] Bruce later commented, "There were no thoughts of making a band at that time, but it probably helped to make the Cream thing happen."[7] Within a month he, Baker, and Clapton began rehearsing and became Cream.[8]

CD reissue album cover

Four songs were recorded by the Powerhouse. Jones chose "I Want to Know" (his own composition, although credited to his wife, Sheila MacLeod) and Winwood selected "Steppin' Out".[5][9] According to Boyd, Clapton wanted to record Albert King's "Crosscut Saw", but Boyd suggested "Standing at the Crossroads" (a version of Robert Johnson's "Cross Road Blues" recorded by Elmore James); Clapton then suggested Johnson's "Traveling Riverside Blues".[5] Finally, a new arrangement of "Crossroads" was recorded using lyrics from both of the Johnson songs. A fourth song, described as a slow blues, was also recorded, but remains unreleased.


Billboard magazine announced the release of What's Shakin' in June and July 1966. In an August 13, 1966, interview, Elektra's Jac Holzman predicted that the album would soon enter the album charts.[10] Instead, it became part of the underground music phenomenon. The album was first released in the UK in 1967 with the title Good Time Music and different cover art. However, it was soon replaced with the original title and art work.

After signing with Kama Sutra, the Lovin' Spoonful recorded a string of Top 40 hits. Their "Good Time Music" later became a charting single for the Beau Brummels.[4] The Paul Butterfield Blues Band released several successful albums with Elektra, as did Tom Rush. Al Kooper later re-recorded "Can't Keep From Crying Sometimes" (as "I Can't Keep From Crying") with the Blues Project.[4] "Crossroads" and "Steppin' Out" became part of Cream's repertoire. Both Cream and Blues Project later recorded versions of "Spoonful"; Ten Years After recorded three songs from What's Shakin for their debut album: "I Want to Know", "I Can't Keep from Crying, Sometimes", and "Spoonful".[11]


Most of the songs from What's Shakin' later were included on compilations and career retrospectives by Al Kooper, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, and John Sebastian/Lovin' Spoonful. In 1995, The Original Lost Elektra Sessions was released with recordings from the Paul Butterfield Blues Band's early sessions, except for "Off the Wall" and "One More Mile".[12]

The album is currently available on compact disc, with comprehensive liner notes by Richie Unterberger.[4]

Critical reception

Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3/5 stars[13]

Writing for AllMusic decades after the original LP release, Unterberger gave What's Shakin' a rating of three out of five stars.[13] He called it "an odd, erratic, but interesting anthology of rare performances recorded by Elektra in the mid-'60s".[13] Unterberger noted that the Butterfield songs are in the same mold as those on The Paul Butterfield Blues Band debut album, but added that the Lovin' Spoonful's early rock/R&B-influenced contributions "frankly don't measure up to their [later] folk-rock".[4]

Track listing

Side one

1."Good Time Music"John SebastianThe Lovin' Spoonful3:06
2."Almost Grown"Chuck BerryThe Lovin' Spoonful1:50
3."Spoonful"Willie DixonThe Paul Butterfield Blues Band2:55
4."Off the Wall"Walter Jacobs a.k.a. Little WalterThe Paul Butterfield Blues Band2:02
5."Can't Keep from Crying Sometimes"Al Kooper[14]Al Kooper4:30
6."I Want to Know"S. MacLeodEric Clapton and the Powerhouse2:14
7."Crossroads"Robert JohnsonEric Clapton and the Powerhouse2:32

Side two

1."Lovin' Cup"Paul ButterfieldThe Paul Butterfield Blues Band2:35
2."Good Morning Little Schoolgirl"Level, Love[15]The Paul Butterfield Blues Band2:20
3."Steppin' Out"Memphis SlimEric Clapton and the Powerhouse3:12
4."I'm In Love Again"Dave Bartholomew, Fats DominoTom Rush2:04
5."Don't Bank on it Baby"John SebastianThe Lovin' Spoonful1:52
6."Searchin'"Jerry Leiber and Mike StollerThe Lovin' Spoonful3:13
7."One More Mile"James CottonThe Paul Butterfield Blues Band3:30


  1. ^ a b c Houghton, Mick (2010). Becoming Elektra: The True Story of Jac Holzman's Visionary Record Label. Jawbone Press. p. 173. ISBN 978-1-906002-29-9.
  2. ^ The Loving Spoonful's co-founder John Sebastian later commented that it "was the worst decision I ever made in my life". Houghton 2010, p. 173.
  3. ^ a b c Shapiro, Harry (2010). Jack Bruce Composing Himself: The Authorised Biography. Jawbone Press. pp. 86-87. ISBN 978-1-906002-26-8.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Unterberger, Richie. "Liner Notes for What's Shakin' ". richieunterberger.com.
  5. ^ a b c Boyd, Joe (2010). White Bicycles: Making Music in the 1960s. London: Serpent's Tail. pp. 110-111. ISBN 978-1-85242-489-3.
  6. ^ Roberty, Mark (1993). Eric Clapton: The Complete Recording Sessions. New York City: St. Martin's Press. p. 24.
  7. ^ Schumacher, Michael (2003). Crossroads: The Life and Music of Eric Clapton. New York City: Citadel Press. p. 64. ISBN 978-0806524665.
  8. ^ Schumacher 2003, p. 73-75.
  9. ^ According to John Mayall, Clapton chose "Steppin' Out" for Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton. Mayall, John (2001). Blues Breakers with Eric Clapton (Reissue liner notes). John Mayall. New York City: Deram Records. p. 6. OCLC 53308227. 422-882-967-2.
  10. ^ "Elektra Bows Fall Program to Distribs". Billboard. Vol. 78 no. 33. August 13, 1966. p. 4. ISSN 0006-2510.
  11. ^ "Ten Years After: Overview – Track Listing". AllMusic. Retrieved 2020.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  12. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "The Paul Butterfield Blues Band: The Original Lost Elektra Sessions – Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 2020.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  13. ^ a b c Unterberger, Richie. What's Shakin' - Album Review at AllMusic
  14. ^ Unterberger calls Kooper's rendition "an adaption of a Blind Willie Johnson number". Johnson recorded "Lord I Just Can't Keep From Crying" in 1929. Unterberger, Liner notes.
  15. ^ Butterfield recorded the Sonny Boy Williamson song, although the Don Level and Bob Love version is often credited to Williamson; see "Good Morning Little Schoolgirl".

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Music Scenes