Leaving the band he co-founded just after the Illusion twins were were birthed couldn’t have been the easiest decision for Izzy Stradlin to make. But it was clearly the necessary decision, as even the most cursory perusal of a song like “Pretty Tied Up” would indicate.
And while it was a surprise that he put out a solo album so swiftly, it wasn’t really a surprise what Izzy Stradlin & The Juju Hounds sounded like: straight-ahead, Stonesy rock ‘n’ roll, loose by design but tight in execution.
Released within a few months of such kindred spirits as The Southern Harmony & Musical Companion & Friday Night is Killing Me, late ’92 / early ’93 was just about the last time anybody could get away with being so overtly Stonesy, including the Stones themselves.
A loping mid-tempo life on the road song anchored by a persistent organ and winding guitar leads, “Shuffle It All” probably wouldn’t have worked with Axl singing it, but Izzy’s voice — or, really, non-voice — lends just enough pathos to the big chorus:
Shuffle it all
Shuffle it all, yeah
Pack up your bags again
I think the key to “Shuffle It All” is that it sounds heartfelt and lived in: from one angle, Izzy Stradlin didn’t really need to get back in a van and tour again, or probably write another song again, for that matter. But from another angle, he clearly did, and songs like “Shuffle It All” show why.
I kinda lost track of Izzy’s music after the turn of the century, so I was pleased to see from his Wikipedia page that while his erstwhile bandmates stopped erstwhile with each other, he’s still out there making records.
“Shuffle It All” official video
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