Jersey Swamp Cats – Go Cat Go!
Self-Release – 2019
9 tracks; 29 minutes
The Jersey Swamp Cats hail from New Jersey and on their debut album they mix jump jive, New Orleans R&B, rock and roll and blues. The band is Gerry Gladston on piano, Don Leich on guitar, Larry Ghiorsi on bass and Chris Reardon on drums. Gerry handles most of the lead vocals but everyone chips in on B/Vs and Larry and Don each take the lead on a number apiece. Horns are added to three tracks by Anthony Salimbene Jr on tenor and Patrick Dudasik on trumpet.
The band skilfully alternates five familiar tunes with four of their originals. Louis Prima’s “Jump, Jive And Wail” bounces along well to open proceedings as the band shows they know their way round a jump blues classic. The first original is “Cupcake!”, a number in Rn’B style driven by Don’s fluid guitar and a call and response chorus. Fats Domino’s “Blue Monday” is a great vehicle for Gerry’s piano work and is immediately followed by more New Orleans flavours in “I Don’t Mind” which is effortlessly catchy with the horns and piano to the fore.
Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson’s “Too Tired” has been frequently covered since Gary Moore’s version on Still Got The Blues and the band does a solid version with Don on vocals, with good guitar work and rolling piano. Pianist Gerry has a smooth vocal style that particularly suits the strolling shuffle rhythm that underpins ‘Dance All Night’, the horns adding some good accents to arguably the pick of the four original tunes. The horns stay on board for the traditional Cajun tune “Tootie Ma Is A Big Fine Thing” which is delivered by bassist Larry before Don shows us how well he has absorbed Albert King’s guitar style on “I Get Evil”. The band closes with the pure rock and roll punch of “Shiny Gray Corvette” on which Gerry attacks his piano with glee.
This is an enjoyable listen and makes you want to hear more of this band in the future. Worth seeking out.