Catdaddy Jones

Late Night in the Doghouse

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Catdaddy Jones, a busman's holiday for four veteran New York sidemen, Geoff Worton, M.D. Meyer, Steve Merola, and Paul Bisbano, is a straight-ahead blues-rock band in a familiar style. The promotional sheet for their debut album, Late Night in the Doghouse, says, "Think the Asbury Jukes with a grittier singer and Jeff Beck on guitar!," and among the "key selling points" is this: "Record will appeal to fans of Steve Winwood, Rod Stewart, Memphis soul and urban blues." But these comparisons are not quite on the mark. In fact, if one were to listen to Late Night in the Doghouse without any information about the artists involved, it would be easy, at least the first time through, to suppose that the disc was some lost album by the Fabulous Thunderbirds. The roadhouse rhythms, screaming blues guitar, and, in particular, the powerful lead vocals all suggest the Texas band. True, there isn't any harmonica on the record, and there are some female backup vocals here and there, but fans of the Fab T-Birds are still going to feel right at home here. As is fitting for a band of pros, the music is cohesive and easygoing, and the songs, both the originals and covers like the Beatles' "I Call Your Name" and Manfred Mann's "Pretty Flamingo," are less important in themselves than as platforms for the playing and singing. Late Night in the Doghouse is the music of a band that would seem like a real find if you happened upon them at some club at the close of a long evening. On record, however, they are both accomplished and noticeably derivative.

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