Shakey Jake HarrisShakey Jake Harris was born on 12/04/1921 in Earle, Arkansas. His birth name was James D. Harris. When he was seven, he and his family moved to Chicago, Illinois.
In the late 1940s, he would play in several Chicago blues ensembles. He would also work as a mechanic and as a professional gambler. His nickname Shakey came from the dice player's expression "shake 'em".
In 1958, Harris released his first single "Call Me if You Need Me" with Artistic Records. It featured his nephew Magic Sam and Syl Johnson. It was produced by Willie Dixon. Harris was not paid for recording the session, but he won $700 shooting craps with the label owner Eli Toscano.
In 1960, Harris joined jazz musicians Jack McDuff and Bill Jennings to record the album "Good Times" for Bluesville Records.
In 1962, Harris released the album "Mouth Harp Blues" which was a return to more blues sound. In the same year, he performed at the American Folk Blues Festival.
In the 1960s, Harris and Magic Sam would regularly perform together in Chicago.
Harris would help young musicians and he helped secure Luther Allison's recording debut.
In 1969, Harris released "Further On up the Road" which featured Allison. By this time, Harris had moved to Los Angeles. He would also play with harmonica players such as William Clarke.
Harris would own his own nightclub and a record label.
Harris released five albums over almost 25 years.
After falling under ill health, Harris moved back to Arkansas.
On 02/03/1990, Harris passed away in Forrest City, Arkansas.