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We Cats Will Swing for You 1941-1948 Volume 3

The Cats And The Fiddle

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Album Review

Austin Powell's Cats & the Fiddle were a little late in arriving to the hep cats' ball; they formed in 1937, after many years of scuttling around in varying incarnations with different names. Also, the base quartet weren't as musically talented as forebears like the Mills Brothers or the Delta Rhythm Boys or the Three Keys. Still, they continued near the top of their game for many years because of harmonies that were pure and tight, and the benefit of having Powell's guiding hand and expressive pen. (He wrote much of their material, and kept a group together for much longer than his contemporaries.) While both Fabulous (Acrobat) and Dee Jay offer three-volume completist series, the Living Era disc We Cats Will Swing for You is the only career-long compilation that has been widely released on CD, and it presents the best look at what made the Cats & the Fiddle very good. Both sides of the group's first single, "Killin' Jive" and "Nuts to You," appear early in the program, as does intriguing riffs on evergreen material such as "I'd Rather Drink Muddy Water" and "When I Grow Too Old to Dream." (Their theme song "I Miss You So," also a standard, is done much more faithfully.) Group member Tiny Grimes begins to add his own original material in the second half of the program ("One Is Never to Old to Swing," "I'm Singing, So Help Me"), but the Cats & the Fiddle remained best at jiving the material of others, like Irving Berlin's "Blue Skies."


Formed: 1937 in Chicago, IL

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s

The Cats & the Fiddle were one of dozens of harmony vocal groups to spring up in the wake of the success of the Mills Brothers. They endured longer than many of their pre-World War II rivals, both as a performing and recording unit and also as an influence on others who came after them, mostly by virtue of their style being so far out in front of the competition; yet they never charted a record in their dozen years of recording, and the biggest success that their founder ever saw on record was...
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We Cats Will Swing for You 1941-1948 Volume 3, The Cats And The Fiddle
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