CD REVIEW: Rescue Me! A Cause for Paws by Various
This is an innocuous sort of album. It’s not likely to turn anyone away. I’m not sure that it will land on a lot of lists as “indispensible,” though. It’s well done and varied. It just doesn’t seem like a kind of music that’s going to be high on a lot of lists these days.
The opening song (“Barn Cat” by Mary Ann Kennedy) makes me think of Suzanne Vega a little. There are more country instruments in the mix, but the type of music on which this is based isn’t far removed from that sound. The later sections really bring a different kind of vibe, too, almost alternative rock based.
“Possum and Pearl” (Kathy Chiavola) is too down-home for my tastes. Still, for those who like country music, this is good. It has some nice melodies. It is not for those who shy away from “twangy” country, though.”Our Cats” by Cindy Mangsen is next. You can’t judge the song except by the voices. That’s because it just has a finger-popping (more as a click-track) and singing. It almost makes me think of a female barbershop quartet. It’s a great song.
While “Get a Dog” (Annie Lalley) starts with stripped down, slow moving music, it turns out to something more like reggae. It’s one of the stronger tracks here. More outside of my usual musical range, I like “My Old Cat” by Heidi Muller alright. It has some energy and a carefree vibe.
I wish “My Old Friend” (Mark Weems) had more energy. Still, it’s pretty enough and works reasonably well. It just feels a little lifeless to me. The fact that it has a male voice instead of the female ones we’ve heard so far (along with the piano) make it a good change, though.
Now, “Kitty, Kitty” by Ashley Jo Farmer is more like it. I love the groove here. The horns add a lot to the mix. This is the kind of thing bands like Cherry Poppin’ Daddies do. You just can’t argue with this kind of thing. We’re delving more toward country sounds on the slow paced number titled “Why, Why, Why” (Friction Farm). It has some good vocal harmonies and is solid. It’s just not a highlight for me.
Effron White’s voice reminds me of Tom Waits a bit on his song “Cattitude.” It’s a fun tongue-in-cheek romp that works pretty well.I’m not a real fan of Jamie Anderson’s “I Miss the Dog.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s fun. I suppose that if it’s a novelty song, it’s good. It’s just a bit too hillbilly country music based. It has to be a joke, right? The lyrics make me think that.
The vocal performance on “The Best Dog” (Amy White) is classic. The overall sound lands in the territory between folk music and soft rock. While it’s not the kind of thing I listen to for fun, I like this quite a bit.I almost hope Joel Mabus’ “The Kitty Ditty” is a novelty song, too. It’s not as blatantly old time music as the earlier piece was, but this doesn’t seem like it can really be serious. It’s fun, though, I suppose.
I should mention that this is a charity album to raise money for animal shelters. That makes this worth buying even if the music wasn’t any good. There are enough good songs here to give listeners another reason to pick it up, though. I’m not sure that it’s the kind of thing I’ll spin a lot, but I find it to be a worthwhile effort for sure.
by Brian White
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