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Cave Cat Sammy

Whiskey and the Devil – 2003 (Rubric)

Reviewed by Ken Burke

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CDs by Cave Cat Sammy

Rockabilly is a tricky business for a young band. They can either play their tried and true slapback rhythms for the cult or risk the purist's love in an attempt to broaden sonic horizons. For their second Rubric album, Cave Catt Sammy chose the latter approach. The result is an entertaining, danceable blend of roadhouse rock, R&B and light western swing.

Added to the Texas-quartet's mix is tenor sax man Ruben Lara, who helps transform original songs "I Hate You Gin" and "Down At The Quarthouse" into tough, West Coast jive. By contrast, Lara's interplay with guitarist Steve Scott on the jazzy instrumental "C-Jack Jump" is stunningly fluid and sets up Beau Sample's finest recorded bass solo to date.

Samples oozes lounge attitude on the '40s-era shuffle "If I Were King," and Scott demonstrates a light Chet Atkins country touch on the instrumental "The Nautilus." Diversity aside, the group pays off best when they are rockin' through covers of Jerry Reed's "Your Money Makes You Purty," Peanuts Wilson's "Cast Iron Arm," Shaun Young's "Knocked Out" and their own Paladins styled rocker "The Thing I Lack Is A Cadillac." Although not a perfect album, the Cave Catt's penchant for stylistic risk taking heightens their impact as a rockabilly act.