We are less than 5 full months into the calendar year, and I already have a leading contender for my favorite album of 2012: Alabama Shakes’ Boys & Girls.

I stumbled across them on a session broadcast from KRCW KCRW. The music was raw and powerful, and I was excited at the prospect of their first album. It doesn’t disappoint. This killer debut album (referenced earlier in a PM reads) is a mix of roots rock, country blues, soul and gospel. It has a decidedly retro flavor to it, but at the same time is fresh and original. The song writing is powerful, the band tight, and they sound as if they really light it up on stage (Videos after the jump).

Alabama Shakes was formed in Athens, Alabama in 2009. Lead singer Brittany Howard has a powerful voice, full of soul and fire. Another reviewer called ner the love child of Otis Redding and Janis Joplin, and there is something to that. A potent power trio — Guitarist Heath Fogg, bassist Zac Cockrell, and drummer Steve Johnson — are behind her. In their live shows, the band covers James Brown to Otis Redding, as well Led Zeppelin and AC/DC. That eclectic taste informs their original recordings.


The Alabama Shakes’ first album, “Boys & Girls,” is an electric jolt that anyone who loves blues-based rock music should track down immediately. Consisting of three men and one young explosion named Brittany Howard on vocals and guitar, the group, which formed in northern Alabama in 2009, offers stripped down truth, minus any affectation, histrionics or irony.



Band site

Videos after the jump

Alabama Shakes performing “You Ain’t Alone” on September 10th, 2011. Directed by Joshua Shoemaker ©. Filmed in Chattanooga, TN @Track 29.

You Ain’t Alone

“Hold On” at Pegasus Record in Florence, Alabama for “Live from the Shoals” on August 21, 2011

“I Found You” at Pegasus Record in Florence, Alabama for “Live from the Shoals” on August 21, 2011

Category: Friday Night Jazz, Music

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17 Responses to “Friday Night Rock & Soul: Alabama Shakes”

  1. Tim says:

    Cool! Let’s do an IPO for them, then trade the derivatives :-))

  2. Joe Friday says:

    Saw them a while back on Letterman. Blew the roof off the joint.

  3. JoseOle says:

    Fan frickin’ tastic.

    Had no idea there were any record stores left.

  4. tradylady says:


    when you have some time, please listen to some of my son’s new releases; his debut album is currently available on google play https://play.google.com/store/search?q=george+johnson+featuring+the+jordanaires+%26+the+memphis+horns&c=music

    and here are some you can listen to, many featuring The legendary Jordanaires and The Memphis Horns; Amanda Williams, Rebecca Lynn Howard..

    thank you

  5. orvil tootenbacher says:

    interesting, but songwriting and delivery. liked it better when i heard it 40 years ago when her name was etta james.

  6. Lariat1 says:

    Thank you for the heads up. great music.

  7. louis says:

    You can grab “Hold On” free at Amazon

  8. eliz says:


  9. ami_in_deutschland says:

    Just bought this a week ago for a friend’s birthday after only having read some descriptions and reviews of the band’s music. Nice to have my basically spontaneous in-store decision confirmed! Will now have to pick up a copy for myself, as well…

  10. philipat says:

    Thanks Barry, it’s nice to exchange music ideas, especially for us time-challenged folks. Reciprocating with something else new:


  11. scottinnj says:

    Is it me or has been a pretty slow year on the new release front. If it weren’t for a couple of new releases by two of my favorite veterans – Bonnie Raitt and Lyle Lovett – I’ve got nothing.

  12. crankitto11 says:

    Stax soul and blues rock– now we’re talking!

    Thanks for the tip, Barry.

    If you liked that, check out this obscure masterpiece– Booker T and the MGs doing the Beatles medley from Abbey Road a la Stax Volt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5XvuTUk7vmU Equal to if not better than the original.

  13. drewburn says:


  14. La Marque says:

    Spent an hour last night on YouTube with Alabama Shakes…pretty good; but I’ll need to hear it a lot more before making up my mind.

    As far as new releases go, I am waiting on Grace Potter and the Nocturnals release on June 12.

  15. jimc1004 says:

    It is a perfect [weather] day here in Philly but you just made it finer!
    Many thanks from an old-head Stax/Volt fan.

  16. Jake Gittes says:

    KRCW? Or KCRW?


    BR: Doh! Damn Dyslexia!

    Sometimes I stay up all night wondering if there is a dog . . .

  17. jimc1004 says:

    There is a whole live concert from Webster Hall NYC that somebody uploaded to YouTube

    [If that link don't work Google "Alabama Shakes live at Webster Hall NYC"]