The Todalo Shakers


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What exactly is a "Todalo"? First of all, it's pronounced "TOE-dah-low." It's closely related to "diddy-wah-diddy", and crops up occasionally in obscure old blues songs: "I'm satisfied, satisfied, my todalo shaker by my side" is a line from the Memphis Jug Band classic "You May Leave, But This Will Bring You Back" and references to "todalo" turn up in songs by Mississippi John Hurt, Eubie Blake, and Bessie Smith.

The Todalo Shakers are happy to announce a brand new CD, scheduled for release on June 1, 2011! Called "Tickled, Too", it features fourteen fun songs from sources like the Mississippi Sheiks, Peg Leg Howell, Three Stripped Gears, and many other great players and singers of party music from the 1920s and 30s. You can read liner notes (a work in progress) here: "Tickled Too" liner notes

The Todalo Shakers includes Eric Thompson on mandolin and guitar, W.B. Reid on banjo-guitar and fiddle, Suzy Thompson on fiddle and guitar, Frannie Leopold on guitar, and Matt Weiner on bowed bass. All five of the Todalo Shakers sing,
making for a rich palette of vocal blends. The album was recorded in the Thompson's living room, making for a great feeling of camaraderie; the exuberance and fondness that the musicians feel for their material and for each other is unmistakable.

Eric and Suzy Thompson have long been known for their bluesy string band music. Now they've formed the Todalo Shakers with 3 other longtime musical compatriots and have recorded an album of vintage jug band blues and old time rags & stomps which sound like they are lifted right out of 1928 in Memphis, Tennessee or Dallas, Texas. The other Todalo Shakers include Mendocino's Frannie Leopold, who plays guitar, has toured and recorded with New Mexico's Jeanie McLerie as the Delta Sisters, and with Hank Bradley and Cathie Whitesides as the Balkan Kafe Orchestra. Bruce "W.B." Reid, who makes his home in Seattle, Washington, spent some of his formative years during his early twenties hanging out in San Diego with bluesman Sam Chatmon, of the legendary string band the Mississippi Sheiks. Bruce has toured and recorded with the Tallboys (Seattle's hottest oldtime string band), with oldtime fiddler Lee Stripling, with the Carolina Jug Stompers and with his wife, Bonnie Zahnow. The most recent addition to the band is Seattle bassist Matt Weiner who boasts a long resume including stints with the Asylum Street Spankers and Hot Club of Cowtown.


cover art by Debbie Berne


Listen to the Todalo Shakers sound:

Mandolin King Rag
Cocaine Habit Blues
Pole Cat Blues
Black Rat Swing
Ruth's Rag

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