Catnip for Music Lovers

Zinc Heart (Human Emotion Music Publishing)
Roses For Kitty

By David Lilly

The familiar smiling bass and percussive knocks lead quickly to that happy Saturday afternoon guitar sound. You know it. You've heard those sounds before, and yet this time it is different. That's because you're hearing a jazzy Bloomington, Ind., band playing their version of the 1969 classic, "White Bird," by David & Linda LaFlamme (a k a It's A Beautiful Day).

Welcome to the world of Roses for Kitty. Freddie Shaw Anderson waves the maestro's wand; more often than not it is to pleasing effect. I say "wand" rather than "baton" because there are some magical moments here.

One cool thing is, this music works both as party music and as background music. From the eponymous debut CD, "Dolphins in the Sea" is a soothing tune that reminds me of Crash Test Dummies' music and I really mean that as a compliment. The rhythm of "Shaka Laka Boom" evokes Steely Dan's "Babylon Sisters," except that the former is livelier. Interestingly, there are two songs here, namely, "Sailing, Hoping" and "Thirsty for a Touch," with elements very similar to the Golden Earring song "Sueleen" and Pink Floyd's "Eclipse," respectively. While Anderson cites artists like The Neville Brothers and Van Morrison among his major influences, Anderson's singing voice resembles that of Barry Hay.

"Ooh, that's very interesting, Dave, but who is he?" you will likely ask. I'm glad you did because if you're familiar with "Radar Love" and "Twilight Zone," both of the aforementioned Earring's USA hit songs, then you have some idea of what Anderson sounds like, though his is a bit smoother. Most of the songs on Roses for Kitty's debut are around the four-minute mark. For those of you with shorter attention spans and a taste for not just accessible but downright radio-friendly sounds, I'd like to introduce you to the band's new disc of chart toppin' hits, entitled Zinc Heart.

`Twas a smart move to fill the doorway and living room of this CD with stuff that was simply born to come out of your pop radio speakers. The first half of this disc sounds like a dwelling for the ghost of early Chicago and Blood Sweat & Tears. Don't know those bands? We're talking short, mostly cheerful rock `n' roll with a sweet, smiling horn section.

The second half starts with what sounds like an elderly woman's lonely voice on a telephone answering machine. At the end of that comes "SOSO (Suicide of a Significant Other)" which is a curveball, albeit a great one, that inspires all the happiness and sunshine of Dylan's "One More Cup of Coffee." Yes, that's also the song it reminds me of - which reveals the sarcasm in my use of "happiness" and "sunshine."

My favorite part of this disc is all 11:25 of "HEM Jam." For one, I love long songs. I also love to hear instruments interacting with one another. Here we have several minutes worth of two horns engaged in a musical argument that neither is taking seriously.

I've no idea where Roses for Kitty's music fits on a radio dial, but Anderson and his bandmates are gifted. I recommend both CDs (they're worth owning just for the artwork) and I enthusiastically encourage you to find out more about this band at www.rosesforkitty.com. Also, take a few sips of their brand of jazzy pop/rock and/or `talk' to the source himself; send Freddie Shaw Anderson a message at freddiea@bluemarble.net. He'll be very glad to hear from you.