The Show Stoppers - Shake Your Mini
The Show Stoppers
As a fan of Philly soul, the Show Stoppers records have always been a fave of mine. The first time I ever heard one of their songs, it was as a teenager, listening to the J. Geils Band cover ‘Ain’t Nothing But A House Party’ back in the 70’s. Years later, when I finally discovered that the tune had originally been recorded by a group called the Show Stoppers (and found the 45) I realized that the J. Geils version couldn’t hold a candle to the original. Formed in the mid-60’s at Germantown High School in Philly, the Show Stoppers were Timmy and Earl Smith, and Alec and Laddie Burke (brothers of the mighty Solomon Burke). They recorded ‘House Party’ (which had been written by Del Sharh aka ‘Carl Fisher’ of the Vibrations who wrote ‘Storm Warning’ and ‘It’s Against the Laws of Love’ for the Volcanos) for the local Philly label Showtime, and it was subsequently picked up for national distribution by the Heritage label. The record didn’t do much in the US, but became a Top 20 hit in the UK, where the group would tour to some success. They recorded two 45s for Heritage (their second ‘How Easy Your Heart Forgets Me’ is a lost classic) and one more for Showtime, ‘Shake Your Mini’ (also written by Sharh). This is where the story gets interesting... The US release of ‘Shake Your Mini’ (on Showtime) was backed with a Hammond instrumental version of the tune by Ronnie Dee (pretty cool too...). The backing track to ‘Shake Your Mini’ also appeared on the Showtime label as the instrumental ‘Funky Donkey’ by the Illusions (with ‘Shake Your Mini’ by “the Illusions” on the flip)*. In the UK, ‘Shake Your Mini’ (and the groups other 45s) was released on the Beacon label with UK-only b-side ‘Heartbreaker’ (a cool Northern style track). ‘Shake Your Mini’ is by far the funkiest track the Show Stoppers ever laid down. A shout out to the sisters in the crowd to move it on the dance floor, there are mentions of the Boogaloo, the Broadway, and the Shingaling. The beat is heavy, and the horn chart is all over the place, with the saxophones dropping in with flourishes here and there. The Show Stoppers continued to tour (and record, perhaps as late as 1971) in the UK. I’ve seen mention of at least one other 45 by the group on Beacon (‘Reach In The Goody Bag’ b/w ‘Do You Need My Love’), and a 45 (also on Beacon) by their guitarist John Fitch called ‘Stoned Out Of It’ (which appeared on one of the Rubble comps). The Show Stoppers tracks are available on a number of comps, and the Heritage 45s aren’t too hard to track down at bargain prices. The Showtime 45s are a little harder to come by (especially ‘Shake Your Mini’), and the Beacon stuff harder yet. * My copy of the Illusions ‘Funky Donkey’ is on one of the ‘Sound of Funk’ comps. I haven’t heard their version of ‘Shake Your Mini’ but I’d be willing to bet it’s the same track as the Show Stoppers (vocals and all).