CD REVIEW: A.B. Clyde & The Kitty Litters (2011)
By: Cyrus Rhodes
A.B. Clyde and The Kitty Litters
Genre: R&B - Pop Rock - Folk
Sounds Like: Dr. John, Jimmy Buffet, Randy Newman
A.B. Clyde and The Kitty Litters release their latest CD entitled Smokin’ Catnip in 2011. Band members include A.B Clyde (Lead Vocals Acoustic Guitar), Kevin Longden (Lead and Rhythm Guitar), Burleigh Drummond (Drums and Percussion). Mick Mahan (Bass) and Mary Harris (Piano).
The CD kicks things off with “Smokin Catnip” an upbeat intro piece that serves up driving rhythms, up-beat vocal melodies accompanied by inviting R&B guitar licks and full tilt parlor piano. Track 2 “Got a Joke Going” shifts gears a bit with its driving rock rhythm, against well placed vocal harmonies and heartfelt lyrical content. Track 3 “Nobody Loves a Fat Man” delivers well placed vocal melody from Clyde and company with nice harmonies and funny lyrical content making for a nice follow-up ditty. As the CD slowly unfolds you will notice a lot of musical variety from Clyde and company. First his music itself has a lot of vocal originality and possesses a very carefree & uplifting spirit and persona. The CD offers a rich melodic vocal foundation and lush layers of instrumentation. I would classify this music as R&B, Folk/Jazz with a strong emphasis on vocal harmonies and melodic reinforcement. Besides the standard 4 piece delivery you will also notice brief splashes of piano, well placed harmonies, percussive accents and impressive solo guitar layered within the music. All in all the CD has some truly impressive moments on it showcasing musical influences of the likes of classic Dr. John, Jimmy Buffet and Randy Newman. Clyde’s vocal abilities work well across the board possessing a vocal swagger reminiscent of Bob Dorough (Schoolhouse Rock), Jimmy Buffet, Dr. John, with just a splash of Joe Cocker. As for Clyde - his voice fits this style of music perfectly. As for the other vocal contributors they continuously deliver amazing and well placed harmonies that back Clyde up well. From rocking “Walkin My Bulldog”, "Everything Fake” and “A Bucket of Beer” to heartfelt “Capistrano” and “I Wish This River Was Whiskey” to clever “I Spent It” and “Little Man” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 15 “Until We Meet Again” the perfect faille statement for a CD of this caliber.
It’s fair to say some of the songwriting, vocal performances, talking segments and lyrical content is a bit quirky and over the top for me. Some of it is eccentric and even a tad bit gaudy for most to handle. It’s an interesting snapshot and a mass audience may have trouble identifying with some of it. But who cares even Jimmy Buffet's had his moments with songs "Let's get drunk and Screw" so I give all of the above a hall pass.
In closing Smokin’ Catnip by A.B. Clyde and the Kitty Litters is just a blast to listen to and is a strong musical production from start to finish. The music is highly original, extremely melodic and it will lift your spirits without even trying. As the CD progressed I became more and more impressed with it. Because of the influences I would say the flower children out there will love this one. The musicianship is first rate, the songs are short and sweet musical experiences, each one possessing a unique personality, flair, and signature groove. Lastly - the writing and singing abilities of A.B. Clyde and The Kitty Litters delivers.