Moon, Not Banana

Artist: Cathy Richardson
Listenability Scale: 95%
Released by: Cash Rich Records
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

The first time I heard Cathy Richardson was on WLUP, a local radio station here in Chicago. I said to myself, “Self, she’s pretty good.” Then I went out and bought her CD, “Moon, not Banana.” It was her first CD, put out in 1993, and boy was I surprised. Not only was she good, but I had a new favorite artist.

I really kinda expected a garage-type band, not really polished, not really that good, but as the first song played, “Bad Example,” I was shocked and/or astounded. Not only was the sound professional, the lyrics were sharp, the band was solid, and I wondered why I haven’t heard her before. Another very talented artist who really hasn’t been noticed by the masses.

So, I decided to quit playing Doom, cracked open a cold one, turned my stereo up a few more notches, and listened some more.

What I heard was this mix of bluesy-rock. What the hell is bluesy-rock? Well, I don’t know either, it just kinda sounds good. I guess you could really say it’s kinda rock-and-roll, with a more blues edge. I also heard a mix of some solid up-beat songs, “Bad Example,” for example, some tender ballads, “Over the Miles,” for example, and fun little numbers, “Drink, Drink, Drink” for example.

Now, most of the songs were written by Cathy herself, with some collaboration by Jim Peterik, among others. I will say that sometimes the lyrics aren’t the deepest of things, like the line “I’m wanna drink ’til I puke, and I fall on my face, and let the big, fat bouncers drag me out of the place.” But hey, it’s catchy, and who says all things need to be serious. But, then again, there are the deeper lyrics, like on “Over the Miles,” a lovely little ballad which really should have been a hit. “And the wind becomes your whisper, and the sunlight sends your smile, over the miles.” It’s touching, the tune kinda makes you want to cry, well, at least us sensitive 90’s guys, and I really like it.

I give “Moon, not Banana” a 95% on the Entertainment Ave! listenability scale. I recommend it, yep, I do. And, for those of you outside of Chicago, you might have a hard time finding this CD, but if you like some fun rock-and-roll, a sad song or two, and just some great singing, pick up “Moon, not Banana.” It’s a great CD from my new favorite artist, Cathy Richardson. And if you can’t find it, e-mail me and I’ll get the information to you on how to get a hold of it.!!!

Fools on a Tandem

Artist: Cathy Richardson
Listenability Scale: 100%
Released by: Cash Rich Records
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

You know, I liked Cathy Richardson’s first CD, “Moon, not Banana,” so much, that I hopped in my car, drove as fast as possible to my local cheap CD place, and picked up her sophomore effort (at least I think it’s her sophomore effort – I’ve only seen two) “Fools on a Tandem.” I handed the nice cashier my money, then sped home past two cops, lost them at a stoplight, ran in my apartment, popped in the CD, opened a beer, and had a listen. I had a feeling it would be good, seeing as I loved her first CD so much. My hunch was correct.

Once again, my new favorite artist, Cathy Richardson, made me wonder why she’s not out there on your favorite station. She’s got the voice, she’s got the lyrics, she’s got the sound – she just doesn’t have a national recording contract to go with it.

This time around she basically enlisted the talents of the same folks as her first CD. A couple of collaboration songs with Jim Peterik, a couple with Grant Tye, and a pretty cool, talented band of mostly Cathy singin’ and acoustican’, Grant Tye electric guitarin’, Randy Riley bassin’, and Greg Marsh drummin’.

If you read my review of “Moon, not Banana,” you read how I described her sound. Well, on “Fools on a Tandem,” that’s kinda expanded to some Grateful Dead sounding influence, a little bit more on the reggae style, but she still sings with a blues/gospel voice that can blow the roof off.

The span of songs on this CD, again, range from some “make you cry” songs, some funny songs, even some “statement of society” songs. Yep, she has the love song of “You Might Belong With Me,” the worried about the future in “Crimes of Humanity,” a song that is the first time I have ever heard buffered analgesic put in lyrics, and a cute little song, recorded live, called “O Starry Night, Sorry Night” with the lines “but way up high in the hills without my birth control pills, my emotions got the better of me” and “I wouldn’t give it a chance, I’d put it back in its pants, after all it wasn’t all that exciting.”, if you can’t figure this song out, you had better get a clue.

Cathy seems a little more solid on this CD, and when there is nothing on the radio in my car, I pop in a copy of both “Fools on a Tandem” and “Moon, not Banana.” I know then that I’ll be listening to something cool. She’s great live (you can also read reviews of her shows at Gamekeepers and The Park West), and, I don’t know, I guess I think she deserves a lot more recognition. She, I think, can last for years instead of one album like so many bands these days.

And so, “Fools on a Tandem” gets a 100% on the Entertainment Ave! listenability scale from me. It’s great, especially if you’re looking for someone with cool lyrics, a good voice, and words you can understand. And, if you have problems finding it (especially outside of Chicago), just e-mail me and I’ll let you know how to get your copy.

Delusions of Grandeur

Artist: Cathy Richardson
Listenability Scale: 82%
Released by: Cash Rich Records
A Review by:
The Dude on the Right

Upon my first listen to “Delusions of Grandeur,” the follow-up CD to Cathy Richardson’s Grammy nominated “Road to Bliss,” my first thoughts went along the lines of “Maybe I missed something, but I think I prefer my Cathy rockin’ a little bit more. This CD seems a little bit more melancholy, laid-back. I’m not really sure if I’m liking it.” So I listened to the CD again, paying a little more attention since I was stuck in the dude-mobile on my way to Ohio, but I was still kind of daydreaming. Then the song “Things Are Different” started, the bridge of the song hit, and I was snapped back into my liking most everything by Ms. Richardson, rockin’ or laid-back. I finished the song, bounced back to the first track, and paid a lot bit more attention, still stuck in the dude-mobile, somewhere in Indiana, and began to like the CD a little more and more with each listen.

So listening to “Delusions of Grandeur” a few more times, I have begun to recognize many gems of songs that I missed that first time through. Of course there is the song, “Things Are Different,” the song that snapped me back into Cathy Richardson reality. It’s a ballad-styled song, with a great line in the bridge – “Time erases faces, changes hearts and minds and dreams,” and is sort of reflective song at someone you remember from your past whom you’d like to show how your life is now, and how they might have fit into it. Another is “Overwhelmed,” a nice love song which kicks ass as the song wraps up. “I Don’t Want Anything” is a song that starts off slow, and at first had me patiently waiting for it to turn into a rocking number, but it didn’t, and you know what, after a few listens I didn’t care anymore, because the song worked perfectly into a section of the lyrics – “And I’m turning off my phone, ‘cuz when I sit here all alone I don’t want hear how many times you didn’t call.” Cathy did this one right because it ends up being a nice, bluesy, reflection at a busted relationship.

The other song infecting my head sort of confuses me a little, because I have absolutely no idea why you might be growing a garden in your closet. The song is called “Closet Cultivator” and it sort of tells the story of a next-door neighbor in an apartment complex who seems to grow a nice garden, in a closet no less. It’s got a slight reggae beat, which I think is also supposed to mean something, I just can’t wrap my lips and breath around it. The neighbor seems to know what to do with a good seed, and the person in the song, who seems to have writer’s block, seems to think that by visiting her neighbor emitting a fragrant aroma, it will help break the block. I think there is more to this song, I’ll just have to study the lyrics a little more, I think. Sadly, or maybe happily, me and my neighbors don’t share a common vent in our townhouse walls. Enough bad innuendo on my part, Cathy Richardson does a much better job with the innuendo in the song, and dammit, that bouncing beat is catchy.

But Cathy does do something else on this CD which I found just fantastic, and that is on the song “Two Questions.” She took two questions, formed into lyrics, simply “Why are you such a drag? And why do you fuck me up every time you come around here?” and by repeating them differently, made a full-length song out of those questions. And it so works.

Cathy Richardson, for “Delusions of Grandeur,” slips away from her rocker style and keeps things in a bluesy mode, almost gospelly at times, and seems to have gotten a jazz bug a little up her butt. I have to admit that I am not really a fan of jazz, which her song “The Sacred Relationship Between Humans & Plants” reminds me of, but I do understand where she is going with it, but I just didn’t like it.

A couple of listens in I realized that I’m really liking this new Cathy Richardson CD, even if the rockin’ isn’t there. And once again she has teamed with Bill Dolan to create some great CD packaging outside of your standard “jewel box” when you buy the CD. My only recommendation is don’t try to get the CD out of the packaging while you are driving, and I’m not talking about the shrink-wrap. Buy it, you’ll understand.

The CD comes packaged as a theatrical performance, with each song being a scene in a play on a grand stage. Explanations abound for each song, in the little playbill booklet included with the CD, the lyrics are there as well, and some of the songs make a little more sense with the stories that preface them. I have to admit that I didn’t pay that much attention to the stories (I’m sorry Cathy) in the booklet because I’m not a reader type of person.

Anyway, for this review, I’m going to kick the “Bonus Material” out of the equation, it’s five tracks of the same songs on the CD that have been re-done for language or editing purposes, and will ignore the first track, because it’s an “Overture” and I didn’t like it. With that I’m giving “Delusions of Grandeur” from Cathy Richardson an 82% on the Entertainment Ave! listenability scale. I’m not a fan of “A Fool’s Regret” and “The Sacred Relationship” song, so I’ll leave it at that. But the rest have grown on me like a fungus, and it’s a good fungus.

Though not being rockin’ as much, this CD will probably grow on you if you give it a couple of listens. Sometimes you need to do that. I did, and I’m glad.

One Last Fling, Who’s Got America’s Talent, Paul is An Alien, and Stu Gotz Isn’t Here.

By: The Dude on the Right

Download and ListenDownload the Podcast!

I missed connecting with Stu Gotz, I missed seeing Cathy Richardson and the Macrodots, and I missed staying on my diet, but what I didn’t miss was a weekend, and although late, it’s solo podcast time for our “Weekend Wrap-Up!”

Yup, my mistake caused a missed joint podcast yesterday, Stu got tied up so we didn’t talk today, but I didn’t want to wait any longer to chat about my Labor Day Weekend. Some of it was just plain restful, but a lot of it was some fun running around. I hit Naperville, IL’s, Last Fling carninval, where a super-dog was procurred, and I should have paid more attention because one of my favoritest bands/singers, Cathy Richardson, was performing, but I missed them/her. I did get to catch up with some family time for a birthday where I learned that no matter how much I’ve been walking, well, I’m still out of shape, and I’m not really missing Netflix as My BFF and I watched the movie “Paul.”

I quesiton if fresh-squeezed lemonade can come from a spigot, is Facebook killing family conversations, can I talk up a record, and I’ve got my favorite for “America’s Got Talent” (I’m rooting for the illuminate people, the Sillouette people, and some dude named Landau), how about you?

Thanks for listening!

That’s it for this podcast! I’m The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!!