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Album Review

Nine Lives is Little Charlie & the Nightcats' tenth album (counting a live one and a best-of) for Alligator Records. Guitarist Charlie Baty, Rick Estrin on harmonica, and a new rhythm section of J. Hansen on drums and Lorenzo Farrell on bass are all solid, road-tested professionals, capable of delivering blisteringly heavy instrumentals like the one that closes this album ("Slap Happy" is easily the best track here). The strong playing would have been enhanced by a fresh vision and some variations on the prevailing theme of a hard-working, hard-drinking simple man who has trouble with women, spends (or loses) all of his money, and seems generally amazed at it all. Everything here sounds fine, however.

Biography

Formed: 1976 in San Francisco, CA

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s

One of the hardest-working barroom blues bands on the West Coast, Little Charlie & the Nightcats started out in the mid-'70s, began recording around a decade later, and just kept on going strong. The two constants over the Nightcats' long history were co-founders Little Charlie Baty (guitar) and Rick Estrin (harmonica, lead vocals). Baty's biting licks were the perfect complement to Estrin's devil-may-care swagger and wryly humorous, storytelling lyrics, and that combo was enough to maintain...
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Nine Lives, Little Charlie & The Nightcats
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