Song of the Week – Soulshake, Peggy Scott & Jo Jo Benson


Back in the late 70s and early 80s my roommates and I used to host a lot of parties — Christmas parties, Kentucky Derby Day parties, Patriots’ Day (Boston Marathon) parties and summer barbeques. One of the features that made these bashes so popular was that everyone danced.

I would work on party mix tapes for weeks ahead of time, planning for just the right songs to come on at just the right moment. One of my “tricks” was to find a relatively obscure butt shaker that I knew would keep everyone on the dance floor.

Today’s SotW — Peggy Scott & Jo Jo Benson’s “Soulshake” (1968) – is a perfect example.

This is a flat out, foot stompin’, butt wigglin’ soul romp that’s made more interesting by using a sitar (I think) played with a country twang and pedal steel guitar played by Nashville’s Pete Drake. It’s so much fun that when it fades out after a brief 2:30 you just want to hear it again.

Scott and Benson actually had a couple of bigger hits with “Pickin’ Wild Mountain Berries” and “Lover’s Holiday” but “Soulshake” is the one I need to hear the most.

Delaney & Bonnie, no slouches when it comes to making black music, must have agreed. They released their own version of the song just about a year after the original came out on their album To Bonnie From Delaney. It had the great Duane Allman on guitar.

I can practically feel the sweat soaked bodies jiggling on the dance floor. Oh, the good old days!

Enjoy… until next week.