The Cattanooga Cats
Band members Related acts
line up 1 (1969)
- Country (William Callaway) -- vocals, guitarist
- Groove (Casey Kasem) -- drums
- Kitty Jo (Julie Bennett)-- vocals
- Scoots (Jim Begg) -- bass
- Teeniy Tim
- Peggy Clinger -- vocals
- Michael Lloyd -- vocals
- The Clinger Sisters
- Cotton, Lloyd & Christian (Michael Lloyd)
- Cymbal and Clinger (Peggy Clinger)
- Friends (Michael Lloyd)
- The Laughing Wind (Michael Lloyd)
- Michael Lloyd (solo efforts)
- Rock Flowers (Peggy Clinger)
- The New Dimensions (Michael Lloyd)
- October Country (Michael Lloyd)
- The Rogues (Shaun Harris and Michael Lloyd)
- The Rubber Band (Stan Ayeroff, Steve Bain and Michael Lloyd)
- The Smoke (Michael Lloyd)
- Waterfall (Stan Ayeroff, Steve Bain and Michael Lloyd)
- West Coast Pop Art Experimental Band (Michael Lloyd)
Rating: 4 stars ****
Title: The Cattanooga Cats: Music from the Original Hanna-Barbera ABC TV Show
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID: 5987
I'm not quite sure why I'm so attracted to Saturday morning television show albums like The Cattanooga Cats. I never saw the original series (my family was living overseas and the show was available locally), so I guess I'm suffering from a mid-life crises where I'm trying to recapture my youth, or it has something to do with my affection for the bubblegum pop genre ...
Having enjoyed considerable success with The Banana Splits, it was only natural that Hanna Barbera would return to the same format for another Saturday morning kids televisions series. Mimicking The Banana Splits, The Cattannoga Cats debuted in the Fall of 1969 as an hour long animated show. Like The Banana Splits, The Cattanooga Cats (Country, Groove, Kitty Jo, Scoots, and Tennie Tim) served as the show's hosts and starred in one of the show's four segments which spotlighted the shows Around the World in 79 Days, Motormouse & Autocat, and It's the Wolf. The Cattanooga Cats plotline wasn't particularly elaborate - the Cats (and their dog Teeny Tim) spent their time traveling around in a yellow van stumbling into adventures, frequently chased by a groupie (Jessie). For the second season the show was trimmed down to 30 minutes focusing exclusively on The Cattanooga Cats. In case anyone cares, It's a Wolf and Motormouse & Autocat got their own shows, while Around the World in 79 Days reruns appeared to The Cattanooga Cats show. The show aired through 1971, but much of that reflected reruns' all told only nine episodes where filmed. In the ensuing years the show's occasional reappeared; most recently on Boomerang.
As with The Banana Splits, Hanna-Barbera quickly began marketing tie-ins, including a 1969 album. Released by the Forward label, "Cattanooga Cats Original Music From the Hanna-Barbera ABC TV Show" was co-produced by Mike Curb (he also co-wrote all of the songs) and Michael Lloyd. Peggy Clinger (of Clinger Sisters fame) and Lloyd were also brought in to handle the vocals. Lloyd turned in some nice performances on his numbers, reflecting a pop side not heard on his earlier work, but the real surprise was Clinger who had one of those warm and instantly likeable voices that managed to salvage even the lamest material. Musically these eleven track were all pop oriented, though with some surprisingly adult-orientated lyrics (check out 'Mother May I', 'Alle Alle Oxen Free', and 'My Birthday Suit'). I've seen a couple of reviews underscore the set's supposed country-rock influences. Let me just say those comments are grossly exaggerated. True, tracks like 'Wait a Minute for Country' and 'Country Carnival' had a slight country tinge, but for the most part this was straight ahead bubblegum pop that was ever bit as good as material being churned out by bubblegum kings Jerry Kazentez and Jeff Katz.
One of my favorite 'cartoon' albums, though this one is surprisingly hard to locate.
Cats" track listing:
1.) Mother May I (Anohanbar - Mike Curb) - 2:20 rating: **** stars
One of the album's most radio-ready songs, 'Mother May I' was a classic slice of bubblegum pop. Bouncy and upbeat (loved the la-la-la-la backing vocals), with one of those sly lyrics, this one should have been a major hit. Easy to see why it was tapped as a single. Wonder why the single added a question mark to the title ...
- 1969's 'Mother May I?' b/w '' (Forward catalog number F-123)
2.) How Did I Ever Get so Lucky (Anohanbar - Mike Curb) - 2:00 rating: **** stars
Spotlighting Peggy Clinger's likeable voice, 'How Did I Ever Get so Lucky' offered up a quirky blend of 1960s girls group and power pop moves. To my ears the song always sounded like it was recorded a tad too fast, but it had a great melody and I've always loved the hyperactive bass pattern that kicked it along.
3.) Wait a Minute for Country (Anohanbar - Mike Curb) - 1:55 rating: *** stars
I've seen 'Wait a Minute for Country' described as an early-stab into country-rock ... Not really. This one was a pretty conventional slice of top-40 pop. Actually almost a little MOR-ish, it was pleasant, but not one of the standout performances.
4.) My Group Has Too Many Cavities (Anohanbar - Mike Curb) - 2:00 rating: *** stars
The American Dental Association probably thought 'My Group Has Too Many Cavities' was hysterical. This one actually did sport a country-tinged melody.
5.) Alle Alle Oxen Free (Anohanbar - Mike Curb) - 2:00 rating: ***** stars
While it wasn't exactly in the running for a Pulitzer Prize, 'Alle Alle Oxen Free' did stand as a classic slice of bubblegum pop; easily as good as anything in the Katenetz-Katz catalog. My pick as the best song on side one and should have been tapped as a single since it would have given The Archies a major run for their money.
Serving as the show's opening theme, 'Cattanooga Cats Theme' was criminally catchy. My only complaint was that clocking in at just over a minute the song was way too short.
2.) Country Carnival (Anohanbar - Mike Curb) - 1:50 rating: *** stars
As you guess from the title, 'Country Carnival' was another country-tinged number, though the supporting guitar almost made up for the other shortcomings.
3.) Johnny Johnny Jump-Up (Anohanbar - Mike Curb) - 2:00 rating: ** stars
Literally nothing more than a string of nursery rhyme-styled phrases strung together with a throwaway melody, 'Johnny Johnny Jump-Up' epitamised the worst aspects of bubblegum rock and was the album's biggest disappointment.
4.) My Girl Friend Is a Witch (Anohanbar - Mike Curb) - 1:55 rating: **** stars
In spite of the ominous title, 'My Girl Friend Is a Witch' wasn't particularly threatening, but it was easily the album's oddest offering and found Lloyd and company pursuing a darker, more rock oriented sound. Surprisingly enjoyable, though I bet some parents were surprised to hear this one.
5.) My Birthday Suit (Anohanbar - Mike Curb) - 1:40 rating: **** stars
Clearly tongue-in-cheek, 'My Birthday Suit' was a totally fun song. And you thought it was smutty ...
6.) Merry Go 'Round (Anohanbar - Mike Curb) - 2:30 rating: *** stars
Musically there wasn't much to 'Merry Go 'Round' but even though she didn't sound entirely comfortable in the upper register, Clinger again managed to give the song considerable energy.
"Cattanooga Cats Theme Tune"
The video clips are anything great, but there are also quite a few songs that don't appear on the LP:
'Children Understand It'
'Give Your Love To Me'
'Hoot Hoot Owl'
'I Never Knew'
'I Wish I was a Fire'
'Pretty As a Picture'
'Sing a Song of Sinxpence'
'Sittin' By the Fireplace'
'The Story of My Life'
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