Freddy Moore, Allen Galles and Dennis Peters
have been playing together in some way shape or from since 1971. I
knew them in the early seventies, then pretty much lost track of
them after they left the Twin Cities and moved to Los Angeles.
Occasionally I’d hear rumors of new bands and near misses in their
grab at the brass ring.
“Those guys were great,” I’d think. “Too bad they never made
it.” Then, one day in
the next century, 'Source Mississippi , General Records’s second release by
The Kat Club shows up in my mailbox.
It’s about time.
When I listen to
The Kat Club’s '
Source Mississippi,' I hear the sound of musicians who have played together for over
thirty years- through thick and thin- mostly thin, I’d guess- and
how rare is that?
I hear the diverse sounds of many strains of popular music streamed
through seasoned and imaginative minds. It’s tempting to say
something like, “If the Band and Steely Dan, were, for some reason,
stranded outdoors during an electrical storm while listening to
late-period Miles Davis…” but citing such specific sources is
misleading, as one might think The Kat Club
“sounds like” a particular influence. They
more like this:
you grew up with a transistor radio under your pillow at night,
listening to far away a.m. radio, hoping some station in, say,
Little Rock, would play a record that you hadn’t heard yet, and then
you finally got an electric guitar one Christmas, played in a band,
wrote songs, devoted your life to your music and your band, lived
through the British Invasion, jazz rock, glam, southern rock,
Memphis soul, disco, funk, blues, boogie, thirteen or fourteen other
blues-styles offshoots, new-wave, techno, Chicago soul, Americana,
and countless other genres, trends and styles (some fondly recalled,
some best forgotten), got chewed up and spit out by the music
business and you still got excited by the prospect of drawing
inspiration from your musical memory and heritage to create new
sounds, and now, maybe for the first time, you’re recording just
because you want to hear what it sounds like… well, you might
make an album like this.
To my ears the influences of so many strains of popular music
have been assimilated fully, so they come out as a mature, original
sound. Simultaneously respecting the sources, while creating
years lead to fifteen tracks. There’s the Big Beat of “World
We Live In,” the inspired stories of “Great
Relationship,” and “Highway 81,” and soulful
ballads like “Big Bad Love,” and “True and
it a listen. It will leave you wanting more.
St. Paul, Minnesota (just
east of the Mississippi
Strickland: About the songs….
True and Trusted Companion:
At first listen, a sweet love song. And it is. Dig deeper, though, and the depth and duration of the love are revealed. Also, an examination of a multi-cultural slice of L.A. life from a different time.
The Wrong End:
Scandinavian-American Blues? The singer's not sure - given the disadvantages of his geographical birth location - that he can be a real 'blues man'. The raunchy guitar answers that he can.
Big Bad Love:
Creative mixers might find a place for this tune on their next 'theme' CD-r or cassette ("Advice to The Lovelorn Songs"). Maybe sandwiched between the Exciter's "Tell Him," and the Supreme's "You Can't Hurry Love." Or, maybe just after "We Got to Get You a Woman." Peters' soulful harp is the perfect compliment to Moore's wise and weary, "Brother-I-know-it's-confusing-and-it's-about-to-get-worse...and-you're-gonna-love-it," lyric.
The World We Live In:
How many bands will have their website highlight negative reviews of movies they've been involved with? If "Scarred" had been put together with the energy and intelligence of this track (re-done from the version in the film) it might have been a hit.
The easygoing, free-living spirit of the late A.J. Galles lives on in this song about the joys of being a kept man in a relationship where everything seems to be working- from his perspective, anyway.
Time! (Executive Stress):
Chicago Blues from the middle of the 20th, meets the LA lifestyle of the 21st. An old story with a twist- it's the man who's left at home, moaning the blues, while the woman neglects the relationship in favor of the never ending, go-go, cell-phone-and-laptop-in-car world of modern careers.
Before I Lose:
A pre-emptive strike against getting dumped. George Costanza's relationship philosophy meets Leiber & Stoller.
All the Same to Me:
A moody dream that begins in the wee small hours of the morning, and ends with the stinging guitar solo that's supposed to be in the middle of the song. (Isn't it?) If the singer is really the combination of tough and apathetic that he claims, what's he doing up in the middle of the night? A haunting anthem for insomniacs.
Driven By Fear:
Dennis Peters was a philosophy major at the University of Minnesota before the call of rock and roll became louder than that of logical empiricism. Appropriately, his bass and harmonies push this one- Big Ideas backed with Big Beat.
<more to come>