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CD Review
Little Charlie & the Nightcats
"Alligator Deluxe Edition" CD Review
ALCD5603 1997 Alligator Records, 15 tracks, 61 minutes
by Ann Wickstrom
If you've decided it's time to add a Little Charlie & the Nightcats CD to your collection but you're having trouble deciding which one to get, your timing is perfect. Deluxe Edition is a "best of" compilation that spans the 'Cats six Alligator Records releases between 1986 and 1995.

Deluxe Edition is a delightful romp through the career of this extraordinary, highly entertaining Bay-area band. It includes favorites from their live shows such as "Dump That Chump" and the funky, horn-drenched "My Next Ex-Wife" as well as guest appearances by guitarist Joe Louis Walker and keyboard player Jimmy Pugh (Robert Cray Band, Chris Isaak, and many others).

If you're not familiar with Little Charlie & the Nightcats, here's what you can expect: swinging, 1940's-style, jazzy R & B and driving Chicago blues harmonica. Charlie Baty is an astonishing guitar player who can swing it like no other; his rhythm is as much fun to listen to as his leads, which for me puts him near the top of the "Best of the Best" list. I prefer front man Rick Estrin's harp playing to his vocals, but he does have some hilarious, "let-me-tell-you-a-story" lyrics and if you've ever seen them live, you've probably been tempted to ask him to turn down the volume on the suit and socks.

From slinky and smoky to wild and eccentric, Deluxe Edition packs fifteen great tunes and a special full-color photo insert into a highly satisfactory, "must have" package for the serious blues lover.

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Copyright 1997, 1998 by Ray M. Stiles. All rights reserved.

Copyright 1997, 1998 by Ray M. Stiles. All rights reserved.