Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Cats Under the Stars
Genres: Country, Pop, Rock
1978's Cats Under the Stars, the first album to officially acknowledge the Jerry Garcia Band by name, features original songs by JGB's John Kahn as well as a spate of Garcia-Hunter gems. Now with seven previously unissued ... more »
1978's Cats Under the Stars, the first album to officially acknowledge the Jerry Garcia Band by name, features original songs by JGB's John Kahn as well as a spate of Garcia-Hunter gems. Now with seven previously unissued extras, including an alternate take of "Palm Sunday" and a rehearsal version of "Down Home".
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That fine cat on the pedestal could be Donna...
t'amant | WA | 04/17/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"And on this beautiful/inspired gospel tinged recording, she deserves her place in the sun this time. Maria Muldaur also adds nice harmony on many songs, making this especially soothing to the senses (sometimes it is hard distinguishing between them). This is another favorite that I bought when it came out and have always loved. With Jerry, Donna & Keith Godchaux, John Kahn and Ron Tutt from the usual JGB set-up, including Merl Saunders on Organ, you know it can't go wrong. Steve Schuster plays various wind instruments on here for even more flavor (it lists Brian & Candy Godchaux as playing violins, not sure the relationship). Rubin & Cherise is an odd beginning for the album in a way, it probably would have added spark by switching it with the title song. I guess it's those BIG opening chords. Cat's Down under the Stars is one of Jerry's masterpieces to me, I love the whimsical roundabout construction and cheerful/energetic guitar melodies Jerry weaves. This album resembles parts of Terrapin and Shakedown Street, the Dead albums from this period, which is a good thing in my opinion since they are both favorites of mine. My next highlight is Palm Sunday with the loving harmony between Donna and Jerry - they are like hand in glove, simply beautiful and emotionally touching (though short and sweet, an alternate take is an extra for a second dose)! Sunny harmonies are all over this album, making this kind of a feel good special if you need a boost (Love in the Afternoon). Rhapsody in Red is a bit more straight forward rock n' roll, with a biting guitar tone from Jerry's guitar. It stands out for it's energy and radio friendly format - kind of anchors the spacey lilting quality and/or gospel feel found around the rest of this one. Rain (a prayer for) shows a Donna solo piece and the band valiantly painting a lush background with the awkward but pretty melody (here are the violins). Still, a nice showcase for Donna's pure tone and spirit...you gotta love her! I was always a little ambivalent on earlier Dead (particularly live) whether she was adding to the music, but during this era, she is in top form and a delight to lay back and float away with. Down Home again shows Donna's special voice and musical vision - SWEET & MELLOW (John Kahn wrote it)! To end the original album, Gamorrah sounds like a little Dylan influence. A great Hunter/Garcia song, one of the big classics if you ask me, really sounds like a Dead song and would have fit right on Shakedown. If that was the end of it, YOU WOULD BE QUITE CONTENT!
There are another five fine beauties and two alternates of Down Home and Palm Sunday kindly added for your pleasure (all previously unissued!). The first two really highlight Gospel with very different and creative approaches. Was this band VERSATILE or what, with so many song styles? The far ranging interests and influences of all the band members are displayed throughout. More great harmony between Donna and Jerry on The Way You Do Those Things You Do. A nice guitar lead wanders into a bit of a jam. Mighty High starts out a little strangely as a disco soul jam and the band have some fun with the rythms. Don't let go (16 minutes)says "come on baby it's time to rock" and grooves slowly but becomes one of the great jam pieces on here, fine examples of long, soulful Jerry solos we all know and love - "hold on tightly and don't let go"... Jerry locks his jaw around the song dynamics like a feline predator, slinking and stalking around in unexpected ways. A male only Down Home practice session is an interesting contrast to the album version with Donna's Siren's song in the upper range. Like I said before, a Palm Sunday alternate leads you to the end of this inspired masterpiece. ALL other music will be almost unlistenable for at least 10 minutes after this ends. You must meditate momentarily and thank Jerry, Donna and the band for this beautiful offering. Enjoy this excellent remaster! Almost 74 minutes of sheer Garcia musical Joy with good track notes and essay (no lyrics unfortunately). FEEL GOOD MUSIC!"
Don't be fooled by first impressions
James W. Kovic | Norwich, CT United States | 11/10/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I'm a die-hard deadhead. I'm absolutely addicted to their music, so much that I seldom tire of listening to their music again and again. With that said I thought "Cats Under The Stars" really sucked when I first heard it. But, then again, that was the case with Jerry's other solo, "Reflections" and "Shakedown Street" as well as "In The Dark". But over the years I've learned that The Grateful Dead and all that Jerry, Bob, Phil, Micky, Billy and Donna and Brent and who the hell else there is, have produced music that is just ahead of it's time, meaning that it is an acquired taste. "Cats Under The Stars" is a very well done album but as Jerry says in the linear notes, it was never a successful album but according to him it was the best work he had ever done up to that time. So, what I suggest to you; if you don't want to put down the bread to buy it here, search for it at your local library. The library system these days is online and you can request something thats in another library. That's how I got a hold of cuts. If you're able to get a copy of it at your local library then do it, listen to the album at least 4-6 times. What you will notice is that the more time you invest listening to it the more you will grow to really like this great album. Then you might feel better purchasing the album here on Amazon.com."
Bonus Tracks Make This One A Keeper
Chris Luallen | Nashville, Tennessee | 11/24/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The album opens strong with "Rubin and Cherise". I have always liked this song. But after reading David Dodd's "Complete Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics" I have come to appreciate it even more. Dodd explains the song's connection to Greek mythology, specifically the journey of Orpheus to the underworld to save his wife, Eurydice. I interpret it as a song about the need for trust when it comes to matters of the heart. The album's closing tune, "Gomorrah", also echos this theme, as Lot's wife is turned to salt for looking back rather than having faith.
Unfortunately, the six tracks in the middle don't maintain the same high quality typical of most Garcia/Hunter collaborations. The production is way too slick, the lyrics are bordering on cheesy and after 2 or 3 listens I found myself no longer interested.
The original LP I would only give 3 stars.But what makes it a worthwhile purchase are the bonus tracks on the CD. Jerry was fond of joining in gospel sing-alongs at the home of his bandmates Keith and Donna Godchaux. Their practice time pays off big on great versions of old religious numbers like "I'll Be With Thee" and "Mighty Here". The classic soul tune "The Way You Do The Things You Do" is also nice. But the highpoint has to be the outstanding jamming on "Don't Let Go", a song that continued to be played over the years as part of the JGB repertoire."