Feline Groovy

In 2008, Vicki Fox took time out from her re-touching duties at Ace Records to compile Feline Groovy, her sole contribution to the Ace catalogue, and certainly its most fun. Compilations rarely venture beyond the obvious themes. Soul, girl groups, R&B, and chart hits have been covered extensively by the best (Ace, Rhino) and the worst (too many to mention) re-issue labels, but the oft-precious clientele of reissues don’t take too kindly to compilations that place a beloved soul obscurity next to Tom Jones’ “What’s New, Pussycat.” But considering cute cat videos are possibly the 21st century’s greatest success story, a compilation based on kitties is sure to find a keen audience. That it consists of half a dozen top-quality not-overly-novelty tracks attests to Ms. Fox’s fine taste and Ace’s always high standards. Hits and A-sides are mixed with rarities and B-sides. Instrumentals, R&B, soul, pop, country, and folk are peppered with meows and purrs and tales of unruly kittens and cunning cats. 

I picked Peggy Lee’s “Sneakin’ Up On You” as one of my records of the week, and it’s still my favorite of the 24 tracks on Feline Groovy. Peggy’s own co-write “The Siamese Cat Song,” was featured in the Walt Disney film, The Lady and the Tramp, but here it is sung by Lu Ann Simms, who, according to the liner notes, was known for “If It’s Gonna Happen,” from the film How to Stuff A Wild Bikini (starring Annette Funicello, RIP). Opener “Three Cool Cats,” sits on the B-side of The Coasters’ hit “Charlie buy lorazepam in canada Brown,” and was also written by hit-makers Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller. Rene Hall’s “Cleo” is hilarious, an Egyptian flute-led instrumental that guides Rene on a search for his cat. “Cleeeeeoooooo!” he calls out. “Has anybody seen Cleo?”  When Cleo finally turns up at the end, she’s not exactly thrilled to have been found. Noreen Corcoran’s spector-esque “Love Kitten” has popped up on a few girl group/ Spector-related compilations, but it’s most at home between Sonny James’ “The Cat Came Back” and “House Cat” by the Romancers. Alongside the liner notes is Ms. Fox’s collection of cat cartoons, kettles, and masks. Take out the CD and you’ll find a photo montage of all the cats that helped with the compilation–most likely those belonging to the staff at Ace. 1955 through 1966 are the focus years here, leaving an untapped well of cat songs from the ’70s onwards just waiting for Volume 2. Let’s start a list……

Post ’60s cat songs 

Al Stewart: Year of the Cat
Poison: Look What the Cat Dragged In
The Stray Cats: Stray Cat Strut 
The Cure: Lovecats
David Bowie: Cat People (Putting Out Fire)

Harry Chapin: Cat’s in the Cradle
Squeeze: Cool For Cats
Laura Nyro: The Cat Song

More cat songs from the ’50s + ’60s

Louis Armstrong: This Black Cat Has 9 Lives
Petula Clark: The Cat In The Window (The Bird In The Sky) 
Johnny Cash: Mean Eyed Cat
The Kinks: Phenomenal Cats

Anything to add?

sylvie_1

French ye-ye star, Sylvie Vartan loves cats

sylvie_2

pumpkin

My cat Pumpkin, on top of a stack of Palm Springs postcards

 

3 Responses to Feline Groovy

  1. Julio Niño says:

    I also love this record, and I love cats and of course your idea of the list. I´m a little bit sleepy now, but here are some more for you that comes to my mind:
    -“Something for Cat” Henri Mancini, dedicated to Cat the character in “Breakfast at Tiffanys”, performed by one of the greatest feline stars in Hollywood´s history: Orangey. I wonder if he has his star in Hollywood Boulevard?
    -“El Pussycat Ska” by Roland Alphonso, a Jamaican version on Mongo Santamaria´s “El Pussy Cat”.
    -“Un Gato Nel blu Roberto Carlos (the original 1968 version in Italian)
    -“La Gatta” Gino Paoli
    -“Canzone Al Gatto” Domenico Modugno.
    -“O Gato” Paul Desmond.
    Julio NIño

  2. Karen says:

    i might be a little late to the party with this one, but i’m glad to ChaChaCharming going on again! woo!

  3. Julio Niño says:

    I remembered another one:
    “The Fat Cat”/ The Stokes. Alon 1965/66. Produced by Allen Toussaint who also played piano, I think. A jazzy instro, New Orleans style, that really sounds (well, to me at least) like an elegant fat cat walking around.
    Julio Niño.

Leave a Reply to Karen Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *