Oakland California vocalist/lyricist Cathi Walkup is a character. You know, that familiar term reserved for those with a personality just a bit larger than those around it? But in a good way? Yes, she is a character. What being a character does, when you have the smarts, is enhance the ability to entertain, and that is exactly what Walkup does on her recording, The Secret of the Song. Walkup composes the lyrics to fifteen pieces (six of which she also composed the music) that range from the big tent sentiment of "Brothers, Sister" to fractured maturity of "Cat Back Blues" to the sage advice of the title song.
Walkup selects the most simple of formats, augmenting with a harmonica here (John Ericksen on "Don't You Know") and the bright brass of Erik Jekabson ("Where's Armando"). Walkup has a voice with character. If is a rich, imperfect alto. Perfect voices are uninteresting and uninspired, like the guitar playing of Joe Satriani or Steve Vai. Walkup readily displays what sardonic sounds like. Think of her as Dave Frishberg with an X-chromosome perspective. Oh, and whatever you do, don't touch her biscuit.
Blues in the Night; Brothers, Sisters; Calyposo Facto; Cat Back
Blues; Dave Don’t Mind the Rain; Don’t touch My Biscuit; don’t You
Know?; Farewell Ms Moseka; Hopelessly Optimistic; It’s All You Fault;
Sail Away; Shanna’s song; She Plays with the Cats; the Secret of the
Song; Where’s Armando.
Cathi Walkup, Shanna Carlson (7, 11), Anita Wardell (12); Benny
Watson: piano, vocals (9, 10); Robin Aspland: piano (12); Carla
Kaufman: bass (1, 4, 5, 6, 13); Rich Girard: bass (3, 8, 14, 15),
John Wiitala: bass (7, 11); Marc van Wageningen; drums: Bob
Blankenship, percussion: Phil Hawkins; guitar: Hugo Wainzinger:
bass (2); Jon Eriksen: harmonica (4, 7) Eric Jekabson: trumpet
(15), flugelhorn (7, 8, 11).
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