On a trip to the McIntosh factory I met a McIntosh representative, Ben Hassenger,  from the state of Michigan who I discovered was a performing musician [guitar, percussion, and vocals]. He and I got held over waiting for a plane out of Binghampton, NY. During this time we got acquainted and he told me about a band he was in called Mystic Shake. I asked if they had any recordings of the band and he produced a CD from his briefcase. He offered it to me to listen to and told me that if I liked it, I could pay him for it, if I didn't there was no obligation to pay. My response was to pay him immediately and tell him that with a guarantee like that, I knew Mystic Shake had to be good.

Later that evening, I heard the Mystic Shake for the first time. I have been a fan ever since. They are a unique blend of folk, rock, Caribbean, with a healthy dose of humor and real life experiences. The newest effort, "All Night Long" is a departure from the first since it is a live recording and performed with acoustic instruments [the first Mystic Shake release featured electric guitar and bass]. It was recorded on February 5th, 1999 at the Ten Pound Fiddle. The CD opens with a song titled "Woman Like That" which was penned by Ben Hassenger and details events that took place in New Orleans on a visit by Ben a few years back. It sets the tone for the rest of the album--light hearted and fun! "Creepy Pockets" is a rhythmic song that describes a sensation that we have all experienced. The saxophone of Greg Bloy floats on top of the song accenting the melody. "Unknown Celebrity" honors our age of Television communication and the moment of fame it can provide. "Vanilla" describes the flavors of… hmmm. "All Night Long" borrows a tune but the words describe an evening gone awry with a girl/guy. I enjoyed the rhythmic textures of "Calvin & Hobbes" and "Old Souls" as well as the images they evoke. "Regular Guy" advises us to rethink what is regular anyway--please? "Y2K"--comic relief--enough said! Anyone who has a child can relate to "Little One". The new CD closes with "Flying Banana Medley" and from the sounds of the performance--it was fun [day-o, day-o] and included visual aids! To sum up this review, I would be remiss if I didn't mention that it is well recorded and enjoyable to listen to. Perhaps the best way to describe it is to say that you will wish you were there for the performance. You can visit the Mystic Shake web site by clicking on the Banana's! You can mail order both of their discs from the Mystic Shake site. Have fun!

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