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Madcats - 1981 Streetgame



ARTIST: Madcats
ALBUM: Streetgame
LABEL: Freedom
SERIAL: FR-004
YEAR: 1981
CD REISSUE: 2006, Unidisc, AGEK-2409

COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:

LINEUP: Bobby Blake - vocals * Grant Fullerton - guitars, vocals * Clarence Greer - bass * Brad MacDonald - keyboards * Glen Grato - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Street Game * 02 Call It Quits * 03 Save Me * 04 Young Mans World * 05 More You Than Me * 06 Brown Baggin' * 07 Execution * 08 I Like It * 09 Summer In The City * 10 My Baby


Background
Out of the highly industrious Toronto scene of the mid 70's came the band Madcats. The band formed from the breakup of the promising outfit Fullerton Dam, featuring future Madcatters Grant Fullerton and Brad McDonald. The band also included one Steve Negus on drums at the time, who rather than follow his bandmates, opted for a no-name band called Saga instead. Joining the Madcats were Bobby Blake, formerly of the Mike McKenna Band, plus bassist Jon Edrman and drummer Glen Grato. The band released their debut back in 1978 on Skyline/Quality Records - home to fellow Canucks Lynx. it didn't do a great deal, nor did it attract attention when released in the USA the following year on Arista. Soon enough, the band found themselves without a label. By 1981 however, Domenic Troiano (ex Guess Who and James Gang guitarist) signed Madcats to his own label Freedom, the same label that bought you the debut Lee Aaron album. It appears Freedom were right into the obscure but promising melodic rock acts coming out of the Ontario area. Erdman had departed by then, replaced by Clarence Greer.


The Songs
So what of the Madcats music? All the typical Canadian reference points from this same era are here. The opening cut 'Street Game' is a plodding rocker which simply doesn't cut it. 'Call It Quits' was released as a single, a straight-ahead rocker, but it too didn't do anything for me. I reckon they should have gone with something else. Things do get better. 'Save Me' and 'Young Mans World' is the band's ode to all things Styx, both good tracks IMO, with Dennis De Young influences in the vocal and keyboard department. The pick of the bunch here is 'More You Than Me', with the band splitting the vocals. In much the same vein as the Michael Stanley Band, Blake handles the high-pitched melodic parts (like Kevin Raleigh), Fullerton does the gruffer parts, like Michael Stanley. When it's not rocking, the keyboards stand-out in true Roadmaster fashion. Taking the road down the dixie highway is 'Brown Baggin', with its honky-tonk piano and Allman Brothers styled delivery. 'I Like It' is a punchy sort of tune played in the same quirky style as Russia - but more commercially acceptable and less 'off-the-wall! The band even cover John Sebastian's 70's chestnut 'Summer In The City', a rockier version thereof with a load of organ work to keep it earthy and real. Finishing off with a pomp rockers delight is 'My Baby'. The tempo is energetic and quick, mixing chunky guitar riffs and prominent synth parts.


In Summary
This album did manage to find a CD release many years later, with the addition of one extra track 'Long Distance Callin'. A likeable album, I found the highlights to be Blake's immense vocals, a ton of pompous keyboards and a feast of vocal harmonies sung in the tried and true fashion of many a 70's pomp band!


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This article has been tagged
Tags: Madcats 
 
Comments
#1 | reyno-roxx on April 07 2008 15:41:45
Loved the first album, although the die-cut packaging is easily ripped. I remember seeing a Madcats show from the El Mocombo club on late night UK TV in the mid 80s. The Grant Fullerton solo stuff is worth tracking down too.
 
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