Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Little Charlie and the Night Cats

  • Captured Live [Alligator, 1991] Neither
  • Night Vision [Alligator, 1993] B+
  • Straight Up! [Alligator, 1995] A-
  • Shadow of the Blues [Alligator, 1998] *
  • Nine Lives [Alligator, 2005] *

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Captured Live [Alligator, 1991] Neither

Night Vision [Alligator, 1993]
They get your attention by surpassing the potential of such titles as "My Next Ex-Wife," "Can't Keep It Up," and "I'll Never Do That No More"--the finest Coasters routine since "D.W. Washburn," and Jerry Leiber doesn't know it exists. Then they sail out on a groove. For white blues, as we used to call it, positively innovative. B+

Straight Up! [Alligator, 1995]
It would be nice to think Rick Estrin cares that his persona is an anachronism--that in 1995, the streetwise standard of automotive savoir-faire is the Lexus, not the Cadillac. But houserockin' bands are proud to be retro, so thank whomever there's one that doesn't stop at fleet solos and beer-soaked boogies. Estrin sings in the voice of a natural sophisticate whose day is made by a few pithy lines of well-chosen vernacular. He punctures phonies, rolls with the woman problems, has trouble buttoning his lip before his foot jumps in. And his best buddy is a guitarist who can play the blues and tell Charlie Parker jokes simultaneously. A-

Shadow of the Blues [Alligator, 1998]
Ain't love a bitch, ain't Stratocasters bitchin' ("New Old Lady," "Dirty Dealin' Mama"). *

Nine Lives [Alligator, 2005]
Cool cats confront or deny their own inevitable decreptitude ("Circling the Drain," "Quittin' Time"). *