Shake Off The Demon Review


Shake Off The Demon - Extras


Billboard Magazine
December 11, 1971
With their third release for Kama Sutra, Michael Brewer & Tom Shipley establish themselves as composers, performers and producers of the first rank.  There is strong single potential inherent in “Sweet Love” and the title cut “Shake Off The Demon,” while FMer’s will pick up on “Back To The Farm” and Jackson Browne’s “Rock Me On The Water.”  Their most powerful entry to date is given the fullness by Mark Naftalin on piano and John Kahn on bass.

  Rolling Stone Magazine
February 3, 1972
Mike Brewer and Tom Shipley have a pretty solid thing going.  Their style of folk, with tight vocal harmonies, finely-worked acoustic guitar duos, and poetic lyrics are just right for the times.  But Shake Off The Demon is marred by a fault endemic to this type of music – a kind of confused lack of strength.  It doesn’t make this a poor album, because it certainly has some good songs, but it does keep it from being memorable.  Anyway, Brewer and Shipley had the wisdom to put their best cuts at the beginning.  If the order had been reversed, I might not have gotten to the end.

The title cut is the rockingest thing on the album, with a perfect bit of slide guitar by John (ex-Quicksilver) Cippollina.  The harmonies that Brewer and Shipley use aren’t new, and “Shake Off The Demon” might have arranged for Simon and Garfunkel.  In fact, the debt to the New York duo is at least implied on quite a few cuts.

“Merciful Love,” almost a lullaby in its tone and simplicity is really Brewer and Shipley at their best.  Their guitar balancing act shows signs of many hours of playing together.  The harmonies are Byrds-like and fit just so, the lyrics uncomplicated.

“Message From The Mission,” with a pumping piano by Mark Naftalin, reminds me of another song about a mission.  In this cut, B & S return to the theme that seems to occupy at least half the songs on the record.  That is, a sense of imminent, better-get-your-shit-together catastrophe.  The record contains a lot of didactic preaching.  Either we’ve got to shake off the demon or, in the mission song, we’ve got to hold on, in “Back On The Farm,” we’ve got to split these dreadful cities before it all happens.  I don’t suppose there anything inaccurate about these dire threats, but they sure can get tiresome.

In fact, Brewer and Shipley went out of their way and did one song they didn’t write, “Rock Me On The Water, “ by Jackson Browne to emphasize the idea: “Oh your walls are burning / And your towers are turning / Better leave you here / And try to get down to the sea somehow.”  Later.

Perhaps I’m being too hard on them.  They’ve practiced long and hard, and they can play and sing awful purty when the spirit moves them.  If this is your cup of tea, you could really like them.  Kind of a weak, sweet tea, though.
~ Alec Dubro


  Shake Off The Demon Jukebox

Shake Off The Demon