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Rick Estrin and the Nightcats

Tighter than Kenny Rogers's face: Rick ­Estrin and the Nightcats.
Kent Lacin
Tighter than Kenny Rogers's face: Rick ­Estrin and the Nightcats.

For more than 30 years, the synergy between guitarist "Little" Charlie Baty and singer/harmonica player Rick Estrin has made Little Charlie and the Nightcats one of the best (and most entertaining) jump-blues bands around. With Baty's "soft retirement" due to health issues, the high-haired, Lothario-mustached, sharkskin-suited Estrin is taking the reins and moving things in a slightly different direction. While still rooted in the blues, their debut CD Twisted (Alligator) has a harder, more flashy flavor in a mixture of feet-moving dance numbers, slow blues and plenty of Estrin's familiar tales with humorous lyrics. Estrin's slightly seedy, even-spoken vocals and Sonny Boy Williamson/Little Walter harp style playing still sound great, and the rest of these 'Cats — drummer J. Hansen, bassist Lorenzo Farrell and new guitar picker/vocalist Chris "Kid" Andersen — are tighter than Kenny Rogers's face. A show blueshounds shouldn't miss.

 
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