LonsterRag Reviews.

December, 2001
"Source Mississippi" 
The Kat Club!  
General Records  
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 don’t.

It’s more like this:

If 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 something fresh.

Thirty 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 Trusted.”

Give it a listen. It will leave you wanting more.

Paul Strickland (music critic/musician/composer)

St. Paul, Minnesota  (just east of the Mississippi River)

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.

Great Relationship:
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>

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