Paul Westerberg - Dead Man Shake (as Grandpaboy) (Cover Artwork)

Paul Westerberg

Paul Westerberg: Dead Man Shake (as Grandpaboy)Dead Man Shake (as Grandpaboy) (2003)
Fat Possum Records

Reviewer Rating: 4

Contributed by: adamAdam
(others by this writer | submit your own)

There's a wonderful, low-fi simplicity to early rock and roll that's been lost in a lot of today's music. Paul Westerberg's Grandpaboy is one of the few modern acts from a rock background that has been able to successfully capture that sound without sounding derivative, ironic or blatantly nos.

There's a wonderful, low-fi simplicity to early rock and roll that's been lost in a lot of today's music. Paul Westerberg's Grandpaboy is one of the few modern acts from a rock background that has been able to successfully capture that sound without sounding derivative, ironic or blatantly nostalgic. Dead Man Shake is an album of material that could have been written in the 40s and 50s, filtered through the lens of early garage and punk.

While Westerberg's clean and sober solo outings have largely split the opinions of old time `Mats fans, the Grandpaboy releases continue to revive the sloppy revelry The Replacements were celebrated for. If you fail to see the charm in dirty old blues standards recorded in a single "warts-and-all" take, you're missing what makes Dead Man Shake so enjoyable.

It's not hard to see where Westerberg's influences are here, as tracks like "Get A Move On" could have been a long lost Rolling Stones tune. You can hear the imprints of blues legends tunes like "Take Out Some Insurance" and "Natural Mean Lover." There's a batch of respectable covers as well, including John Prine's "Souvenirs" and a trembling version of the Sammy Davis Jr. standard "What Kind Of Fool Am I." Westerberg even picks up a slide guitar for a wailing version of Hank Williams Sr.'s landmark "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry." My favourite tracks on Dead Man Shake are the original compositions, particularly the shuffling Minneapolis anthem "MPLS" and the delta-blues drug tale "O.D. Blues." The highlight of the record is "Vampires & Failures," a haunting and infectious tune that's one the best of the year.

Dead Man Shake doesn't fall into the trap of being a low-appeal side project simply because it doesn't carry Westerberg's name on the cover. This holds up well to anything he's recorded in his solo career and is a fun, loose record in a year that's been filled with heavy, self-important releases. It's great that Fat Possum's behind this, because it fits in perfectly with the label's bare-knuckle blues sound.


People who liked this also liked:
Les Breastfeeders - Les Matins de Grands SoirsMilky Ways - Milky WaysToys That Kill - Shanked!The Undertones - The UndertonesThe Deadly Snakes - Porcella -or- A Bird in the Hand Is Worthless [12 inch, double LP]Green Day - WarningBouncing Souls - The Gold RecordThe Marked Men - Fix My BrainTeenage Bottlerocket - TotalBouncing Souls - Hopeless Romantic

Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (October 28, 2003)

I hate you so much.

Anonymous (October 24, 2003)

Since when does this website allow posts about Wuss-Rock? Paul Westerberg has a vagina and titties.

Anonymous (October 24, 2003)

Po-Boy sanwiches kick ass.


Anonymous (October 24, 2003)

Everytime I read the name I always want to pronounce it grand-pooba or poorboy.

Anonymous (October 23, 2003)

thanks ill be looking into those

Drizzt7_drek (October 23, 2003)

We've got an mp3 of MPLS on the website if you wanted to hear it.


TheOneTrueBill (October 23, 2003)

I'd say get Let It Be and Stink, then Pleased to Meet Me, Hootenany, and Tim. Then Don't Tell a Sould and All Shook Down. The last two are good, but in a vastly different way. Here's the breakdown

1-3... Awesome Punkish Rock & Roll
4-6... Indie Rock peak
7-8... Singer/Songwriter territory.

And if possible, try to get a copy of the second disc of the best of. It has tons of awesome B-sides on it.

Anonymous (October 23, 2003)

i got the joe henry on tues with the new strummer and i have to say both albums are incredible so much emotion and the songwriting cannot be beat, i probably would have gotten this as well but they didn't have it at the store i went to. im looking to expand on my mats collection i have sorry ma what other would you people suggest

FortyMinutesWest (October 22, 2003)

Mats Sundin?

TheOneTrueBill (October 22, 2003)

You seriosuly need to fix that. What 'Mats albums do you have?

Anonymous (October 22, 2003)

The scary thing is that with this record and Come Feel Me Tremble, I now have more Westerberg solo records than Replacements records.

Anonymous (October 22, 2003)

I only listen to Joe Henry when I got a
couple bottles of two buck chuck and some imported fromage and crackers.

A niggas got to eat!

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

The new Joe Henry is great, and I think it would definitely appeal to fans of Westerberg's solo stuff (all five of them anyway) and later Replacements material. You can stream the whole thing from the Anti website. "Sold" is one of the most beautiful songs i've heard in awhile


Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

I'm digging this more than what I've heard on the Vagrant album. If you're not scared of something that might be called "sloppy" then you'll porbably dig it.

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

good record....

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

I love the 'mats but i've been reluctant to try any westerberg stuff. i don't want it to mar my replacements love, but maybe i should try this.

model t, black keys, grandpaboy...
seems like fat possum's doing good.


Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

I'm partial to T-Model Ford myself.

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

Dude, anyone who digs Westerberg will definitley not be digging the new Joe Henry.

Anonymous (October 21, 2003)

This is just another emo fag band. They were on Vagrant, and they have songs about crying.

PS yes this is a joke, don't get your panties in a wad.

adam (October 20, 2003)

Epitaph manufactures & distributes Fat Possum's stuff, and Anti usually lists releases that would appeal to Anti's audience (they list the new Strummeer and Weakerthans too). So that's why it shows up in Anti's press stuff.


Anonymous (October 20, 2003)

i thought that this was coming out on anti cause the newsletter kept mentioning it over and over, but whatever sounds like a good record. speaking of anti the new joe henry sounds awsome i was listening to a radio performance the other day and it was awsome

Anonymous (October 20, 2003)

Fat Possum rules!

Buy this and pick up an RL Burnside release while your at it fool!

Exclusive Streams


Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Managing Editor

Adam White

Contributing Editors

Kira Wisniewski Brittany Strummer Armando Olivas John Flynn Chris Moran John Gentile Mark Little

Copy Editor

Adam Eisenberg Britt Reiser

Podcast Producer

Greg Simpson


Aubin Paul

ISSN 1710-5366

© Copyright 1999-2013 Punknews.org

Terms of Use Privacy Policy Contact Us About Punknews.org

Other Places to Go