And another 'SMOKIN" review!Most would agree most popular artists out there have something truly special to give to their fans. This goes above the typical attributes like raw talent, amazing songs, nice voice, or even a very marketable look, sound and image. There's something truly infectious at the core of these artists that simply makes us feel good when we listen to them. Whatever "it" is - they all seem to have "it".
Today I listened to the latest CD from A.B. Clyde and the Kitty Litters (Smokin' Catnip - 2011). Venturing to his website and reading his bio I get the impression he is one songwriter that is extremely passionate about his songwriting craft. From start to finish this CD from Clyde and company is very pleasurable and entertaining. It has a very soothing Classic Rock, R&B quality to it and even dabbles in hooky Acoustic Pop. Any fans of any of these musical styles will enjoy this latest release from Clyde. It's clearly marketed for those who like a male singer with a tongue and cheek mystique of say a Dr. John, Randy Newman, John Prine and even a splash of Jimmy Buffett. I get the impression Clyde is just rolling with what he knows as a performer/songwriter/singer in all these songs. In other words he hits the mark remarkably well by just being himself. Favorite tracks include (Smokin' Catnip), (Little Man) and (Nobody Loves a Fat Man). All songs possess amazing feel and personality. The songwriting digs a bit deeper than the next Independent Artist. Within each one of these songs Clyde and company find their soul and deliver the goods. His band is spot on and just makes the whole CD even more enjoyable with hints of Saloon style piano, slamming rhythm section, percussion and a few guitar solos that are hot to the touch. The overall vibe of the production is very upbeat and extremely positive in nature.
In closing A.B. Clyde is a polished artist. Once again I'm not so sure what "it" is but I think it's safe that say Mr. Clyde has whatever "it" may be.
AND HERE'S THE LATEST GREATEST!!!!...MYSTERY MAN HUH!?!?
Welcome to EvO:R Entertainment
This is Clyde’s latest release “Smokin’ Catnip.” After doing some research on this Los Angeles native he strikes me as kind of a mystery man. No pictures, music videos, lack of bio and I’m not so sure what his fist name is. Perhaps that’s the way this gentleman wants it.
A.B. Clyde has done an amazing job carving out a unique niche for himself with his amazing songwriting craft and “what you see is what you get” approach. Right from the start Clyde’s musicianship and world class songwriting are not called into question. The opening track: “Smokin’ Catnip” is an amazing prelude of sorts that will gently lead you by the hand down a timeless musical journey that I would describe as invigorating.
The whole CD is wonderfully simple yet wonderfully complex at the same time. It reminds me a little of The Mavericks, Dr. John, Professor Longhair, Johnny Paycheck, Kermit Riffins, David Allen Coe and even Hank Williams Jr. There are some fantastic and high octane moments on display here which gives this CD a very accessible feel emotionally. What I like most - this CD does not attempt to hide the truth in any way, shape, or form, rather it tells it with bold honesty by letting it all hang out. The vocal emotions and overall instrumentation are the ultimate report card for me when I evaluate music and this artist tells the truth – the good, bad and the ugly of it all. What am I trying to say - this CD simply delivers the goods!
Song Samples from the CD
All song samples are from A. B. Clyde and The Kitty Litters page on CD Baby
Have you ever met someone who wasn’t afraid to just let it all hang out? Well I have. Whether it was during that long and painful airplane flight, catching glimpses of reality TV, or hanging with folks that were overly intoxicated. There are pros and cons when you hang around these types of people. One of the cons: you sometimes get too much Information or TMI effect. But one of the Pros worth mentioning: their presence can be “Intoxicating”. This is exactly how I would describe artist A.B Clyde. - Intoxicating!
“Smokin’ Catnip” is the latest release from A.B. Clyde and it has much to commend it. Admittedly, there is a whole lot of variety to these arrangements and performances from him and his band “The Kitty Litters.” The CD has many things working in its favor. First: the line up consisting of many solid players headed up by Clyde himself who is no slouch on guitar and vocals. Second: His persona: comparable to Babe Ruth – what you see is what you get. This mystique will no doubt have appeal to many Americans who enjoy this type of “no holds barred” personality. I admire Clyde for having the courage to write and sing songs he finds appealing, but like that guy on the airplane there comes a point in time where some of this falls into the TMI category. If Clyde ever met a Prime Time Producer who would put him in his penalty box, I think it would pay big dividends with respect to his overall marketability. I might add this can be done without compromising his musical foundation. Favorite Track: Capistrano.
Make no bones about it “Smokin Catnip” delivers the goods! It’s an endearing album that is powerful and honest in its posture. What you see is what you get and if you don’t like it then don’t listen to it. Those that do listen with love it for what it is and find it intoxicating.
Artist: A.B. Clyde and The Kitty Litters
Album: Smokin’ Catnip
Label: Line Drive Records
Genre: R&B - Pop Rock - Folk
Sounds Like: Dr. John, Jimmy Buffet, Randy Newman
Technical Grade: 10/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 10/10
Commercial Value: 9/10
Overall Talent Level: 9/10
Songwriting Skills: 9/10
Performance Skill: 9/10
Best Songs: Capistrano, Little Man, A Bucket of Beer
A.B. Clyde and The Kitty Litters release their latest CD entitled Smokin’ Catnip in 2011. Band members include A.B Clyde (Lead Vocals Acoustic Guitar), Kevin Longden (Lead and Rhythm Guitar), Burleigh Drummond (Drums and Percussion). Mick Mahan (Piano) and Mary Harris (Piano).
The CD kicks things off with “Smokin Catnip” an upbeat intro piece that serves up driving rhythms, up-beat vocal melodies accompanied by inviting R&B guitar licks and full tilt parlor piano. Track 2 “Got a Joke Going” shifts gears a bit with its driving rock rhythm, against well placed vocal harmonies and heartfelt lyrical content. Track 3 “Nobody Loves a Fat Man” delivers well placed vocal melody from Clyde and company with nice harmonies and funny lyrical content making for a nice follow-up ditty. As the CD slowly unfolds you will notice a lot of musical variety from Clyde and company. First his music itself has a lot of vocal originality and possesses a very carefree & uplifting spirit and persona. The CD offers a rich melodic vocal foundation and lush layers of instrumentation. I would classify this music as R&B, Folk/Jazz with a strong emphasis on vocal harmonies and melodic reinforcement. Besides the standard 4 piece delivery you will also notice brief splashes of piano, well placed harmonies, percussive accents and impressive solo guitar layered within the music. All in all the CD has some truly impressive moments on it showcasing musical influences of the likes of classic Dr. John, Jimmy Buffet and Randy Newman. Clyde’s vocal abilities work well across the board possessing a vocal swagger reminiscent of Bob Dorough (Schoolhouse Rock), Jimmy Buffet, Dr. John, with just s splash of Joe Cocker. As for Clyde - his vpice fits this style of music perfectly. As for the other vocal contributors they continuously deliver amazing and well placed harmonies that back Clyde up well. From rocking “Walkin My Bulldog”, "Everything Fake” and “A Bucket of Beer” to heartfelt “Capistrano” and “I Wish This River Was Whiskey” to clever “I Spent It” and “Little Man” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 15 “Until We Meet Again” the perfect faille statement for a CD of this caliber.
It’s fair to say some of the songwriting, vocal performances, talking segments and lyrical content is a bit quirky and over the top for me. Some of it is eccentric and even a tad bit gaudy for most to handle. It’s an interesting snapshot but a mass audience may have trouble identifying with some of it. Some songs are definitely better than others on the catalogue. I fully realize this is a subjective art form but some of the aforementioned issues do effect the CD’s overall marketability.
In close Smokin’ Catnip by A.B. Clyde and the Kitty Litters is just a blast to listen to and is a strong musical production from start to finish. The music is highly original, extremely melodic and it will lift your spirits without even trying. As the CD progressed I became more and more impressed with it. Because of the influences I would say the flower children out there will love this one. The musicianship is first rate, the songs are short and sweet musical experiences, each one possessing a unique personality, flair, and signature groove. Lastly - the writing and singing abilities of A.B. Clyde and The Kitty Litters delivers.
Over the years we’ve seen rock, pop and even rhythm and blues slowly erode into over-commercialized, corporate puppet shows providing music that is extremely sing songy, predictable and highly corporate. I hereby call this new breed of music “Poser Rock” and I want to personally thank all the corporate giants for successfully transforming “Sex Drugs & Rock n Roll” into “Yoga, Vitamins and Nikelback” for everybody. Of course millions of musical lemmings don’t know the difference anyway, but not everyone is entertained. Talking to many music fans out there, the response is overwhelming. Give me something new, something that pushes the envelope with a fresh sound that doesn’t sound like Nikelback, Daughtry or Lifehouse.
So across my desk slides the new CD by Los Angeles based A.B Clyde and The Kitty Litters entitled “Smokin’ Catnip.” What I heard put a smile on my face. It’s a nice, high octane record that delivers solid songwriting, amazing playing and a let-it -all-hang-out swagger. Clyde reminds me of a modern day Jimmy Buffett on steroids, with maybe a hint of classic Dr. John, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and even Hank Williams Jr. You will also hear a side of Americana and good ole fashioned Rock and Roll. The playing is off the hook and the songwriting is witty and entertaining. If you like the above bands you should definitely check out this CD. My favorite track is probably “Nobody Loves a Fat Man”. CD is available on CD BABY and can be downloaded on I – Tunes.
“Smokin’ Catnip” by A.B. Clyde and the Kitty Litters is clearly a solid release with many feel -good rock grooves and a take- no- prisoners R&B guitar driven sound that is just a pleasure to listen to. This CD is comparable to a bottle of Whiskey – every now and then it’s an absolute pleasure to indulge in. It’s a record that gives us a fresh glimpse at an amazing artist and takes us back a few years – before everything started sounding like – well Nickelback.
By: Kevin Huber
This is A. B. Clyde’s first CD and it certainly doesn’t disappoint – the band brings together some top quality songs and injects some American humour into the lyrics. You certainly don’t hear an album like this every day.
The opening track is the title track “Smokin’ Catnip” and it all starts off with the long-suffering wife nagging him about him hiding away for a cheeky drag on the good stuff! The song is a laid back blues number that belongs in a smoky bar somewhere late at night. The female backing vocals add a nice touch.
The music throughout the whole CD is effortlessly brilliant with some excellent vocal work from A.B backed up with well placed harmonies. Whilst the humour of the album is sometimes a little on the tame side, it is such a breath of fresh air to review something so light-hearted after so many albums from musicians trying to be oh so serious. My favourite song is “Everything Fake” which is a short, funky little number that really got my foot tapping “I look good in bottled tans, My toupee’s on my night stand.” It really shows off just how versatile the band is.
It’s hard to find anything to criticize about this album. It’s one of those albums that comes along every once in a while that you know you’re going to play over and over again. I just hope that this isn’t a one-off project as I’m sure that the next work from A.B. Clyde and The Kitty Litters will be even better!
Checkout The Kitty Litters at their site http://www.abclyde.com/
10 out of 10 Stars
Adopted New Yorker A.B.Clyde released his 2012 comic pop/rock album “Smokin Catnip” to critical acclaim. Accolades are already rolling in and helping to create a stir about his work. Whilst humour and music have been successfully married before, it is a rare treat to come across an album such as this. It’s a bold move as well, not least of all because we all find different things to be funny – and an artist has to put a lot of faith in his/her product. Kudos to Mr Clyde for having some balls! Whilst Vocals and acoustic guitar are provided by A. B. Clyde, its only fair to mention the other musicians involved. On Acoustic and electric guitar with have Kevin Longden, a seasoned session player who has worked with the likes of John Foggerty, Kim Carnes and John Ford Cooley. Burleigh Drummond on drums, who has previously worked with Ambrosia. Mary Harris on Keyboards, who was a long time member of Jimmy Buffet’s band and finally, Mick Mahan who played bass for Pat Benatar.
The album begins with a scene setting dialogue as our protagonist slopes off for a secret tote on his favourite illicit smoke, to the frustration of his partner – expertly portrayed by Cocoa Brown. As the music begins, we are treated to a slinky bluesy track as Mr Clyde and his cats lay down a smooth tune for the title of the disk. Everything here is finely balanced with some exquisite space and a relaxed and chilled out vibe. Piano and guitar each leave room for one and other and the brushes on the drums add the final polish. Rich toms boom through for some well placed fills and this song very much sets the bar high as it is apparent from the outset that there is a mature and well-seasoned group of musicians behind this album. The second track continues the humour with “Got a joke goin’” and again the superbly placed harmonies show that there is some real pedigree behind this production. I could hear a little country influence to this track deflected by the running bassline and lyrics. The third track “Nobody loves a fat man” pokes a little fun at the overweight whilst the lead vocal shows off Mr Clyde’s vocal prowess with an extremely melodic central melody that would be just as equally at home on a full-blown musical theatre stage production. The humour continues with the fourth track, a homage to phone sex chat lines, as our hero explains another of his addictions. “Having phone sex while my wife’s washing dishes”. More dialogue is provided by Brown, and it seems that her long-suffering mutterings are to be used to segue the tracks. Whilst the theme of the humour is based to a large extent on differences between men and women and the struggle of their relationship together, the music graciously spans many different genres. I can hear touches of reggae, funk, country and blues, as well as boogie woogie (as in Walkin’ My Bulldog) and the obligatory ballads. The final track, “Until We Meet Again” is incredibly atmospheric, with a simple but tasteful arrangement and some superb chord sequences. It’s the perfect finale to this excellent collection of songs.
Overall this is a very impressive release by A.B. Clyde and The Kitty Litters. They are obviously a fun band to listen to, and if they perform live - no doubt they would be a blast to see on stage. The vocal melodies, harmonies, and accents are extremely creative and effective. If this is just the start then A.B. only needs to build on this material to make a name for himself and his band. I look forward to hearing their next offering, hopefully very soon.