Review: Rick Estrin & The Nightcats – The Hits Keep Coming


Rick Estrin & The Nightcats - The Hits Keep Coming

Rick Estrin & The Nightcats – The Hits Keep Coming
Format: CD – Vinyl LP – Digital / Label: Alligator Records
Release: 2024

Text: Pascal Wilhelm

What to write about Rick Estrin and the Nightcats? When you are a killer harp player, singer, excellent songwriter and showman and you team up with Christoffer “Kid” Andersen, who is an equally talented multi-instrumentalist and producer, supplemented with Lorenzo Farrell on piano, organ, and bass, and Derrick Martin on drums, what do you expect?

Hits of course! Their sixth album (Alligator Records) already after Twisted in 2009, ‘One Wrong Turn’ in 2012, ‘You Asked For It—Live!’ in 2014, ‘Groovin’ In Greaseland’ in 2016 and ‘Contemporary’ in 2019.

Twelve songs, excellent production (of course, it’s KID!) and a wide variation in grooves, atmospheres and virtuoso playing. This record shows consistency, the style of the Nightcats is special. Humour and satire are always a bit of tricky in the blues I think, but the Westcoast style has this tongue-in-cheek aspect to it and Rick masters it well. It accommodates breaking the mould of the blues idiom (women, booze, love, adultery, depression and cars), allowing for other lyrical themes to be introduced to the blues.

That is the Nightcats style; progressive, but still embedded in a genuine and educated blues idiom. I like the song “Learn to lose” (in minor key). It teaches an important life lesson: sometimes you just must take life as it comes.

Win some, lose some. But this record is a winner, Nightcats fans will appreciate it.

01. Somewhere Else
02. The Hits Keep Coming
03. The Circus Is Still In Town (The Monkey Song)
04. Everybody Knows
05. I Finally Hit The Bottom
06. Diamonds At Your Feet
07. 911
08. I Ain’t Worried About Nothin’
09. Learn To Lose
10. Sack O’ Kools
11. Time For Me To Go
12. Whatever Happened To Dobie Strange?

Rick Estrin: Vocals, Harmonica
Kid Andersen: Guitar, Bass on 3, 4, 7, 8 and 10, Tubular Bell on 2, ARP Soloist on 12
Lorenzo Farrell: Organ, Bass on 6, Wurlitzer on 7
Derrick “D’mar” Martin: Drums, Percussion
Jerry Jemmott: Bass on 1, 2, 5, 9, 11 and 12
Sons Of The Soul Revivers (James, Walter, and Dwayne Morgan): Background Vocals on 1, 2, 4 and 12
Quique Gomez: Maracas and Animal Noises on 3
Lisa Leuschner Andersen: Background Vocals on 12
Charlie Musselwhite, Marty Dodson, Bob Welsh, Boopsy Callinz: Voices on 12