Tuesday , April 16 2024
Estrin and his Nightcats deliver jivey, snappy blues live and ensure a fun time for all.

Music Review: Rick Estrin and The Nightcats: ‘You Asked for It…Live!’

Considering how popular and  dynamic Rick Estrin and The Nightcats are in concert, it is somewhat surprising that You Asked for It…Live! is the first live CD from the group. The CD came about due to the constant requests from fans for a way to take the live experience home.

rickestrinBefore  this version of the band came into being in 2009, Estrin played for 30 years with Little Charlie and The Nightcats, as lead singer, songwriter and harmonica player, until Charlie Baty retired in 2008. The band then became Rick Estrin and The Nightcats, replacing Baty with Chris “Kid” Andersen, an exciting guitar player with an unpredictable style that fit right in with the rest of the group, which consists of J. Hansen on drums, Lorenzo Farrell on bass, organ, and Moog synthesizer, and Estrin on harmonica and vocals. Because the band has played together for so long, they sound totally at home on the stage. Estrin’s humor, both in the songs and the stage banter, ensure that everyone will have a great time and end up laughing no matter how many times they listen.

Estrin also won Best Instrumentalist – Harmonica at the Blues Music Awards for 2013, and he certainly deserves it, as the harmonica work on this CD is spot-on. Indeed, all the instrumental work is amazingly strong with none of the sloppiness that can sometimes occur in a live setting.

Of course, if you are looking for serious blues, or serious anything, you won’t find it here. With titles like “New Old Lady,” “My Next Ex-Wife,” “Keep Your Big Mouth Shut,” “That’s Big,” and “Dump That Chump,” you know you’re getting irreverent, non-politically correct blues wiseguy-style. Most of the songs are about women, although two of my favorites, “Clothes Line,” a great talking blues number about clothes shopping and “Don’t Do It,” a wry look at the need to give up everything fun for the sake of good health, leave that familiar territory.

The audience eats this jivey, snappy stuff up and responds with so much enthusiasm that Estrin jokes that they have to calm down before they go out turning over police cars, which would “reflect bad on us.” Of course, their version of a calm song is a sly version of Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Too Close Together,” hardly a ballad.

This CD is pure fun. Get it and play it whenever you want to have a good time.

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About Rhetta Akamatsu

I am an author of non-fiction books and an online journalist. My books include Haunted Marietta, The Irish Slaves, T'ain't Nobody's Business If I Do: Blues Women Past and Present, Southern Crossroads: Georgia Bluesand Sex Sells: Women in Photography and Film.

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