Sunday, February 5, 2012

TOM AND THE CATS - The Wine Song (Jewel, 1966)

TOM AND THE CATS - The Wine Song (Jewel, 1966)

Much of the story on Tom and the Cats is neatly packaged into an article published in the Shreveport Times during the summer of 1966. See below. For the sake of internet search engines and those with short attention spans, the highlights go something like this…

After performing under a variety of band names such as The String-Benders, The Prophets, and The Shades, a group of musicians solidify to form Tom and the Cats.

The line up consisted of Tom Colquitt (guitar, vocals), Robert Ezell (guitar, harmonica), Frank Rodie (organ, vocals), Vince Authement (drums, vocals), Freddie Rogers (drums), and Dale Rodie (electrician).

The Rodie brothers' father co-owned Walker and Rodie music store...making for an advantageous connection.

The band played high school dances and college fraternity parties around town as well as out-of-town shows in Monroe and Baton Rouge.

They are nonconformists seeking money and fame.

Tom and the Cats hooked up with local record store/record label owner Stan Lewis, who issued the band’s three 45s. Released in 1965, their first 45 includes “The Wine Song.” Based on the attached article’s lengthy section devoted to controversial songs, perhaps they caught some flack for the lyrics. Note the band’s reaction: “[Colquitt] feels people should be accustomed to songs about wine after 3,000 years of them.”

(Nathan Fain, "Tom and the Cats,"  Shreveport Times [Shreveport, LA], July 24, 1966.) 
Note: for legible display size, try this link.

Tom and the Cats' first 45 also appeared on California Records, a label based out of Denmark. Judging by other records on the label, it seems they licensed a few 45s originally released by Stan Lewis. For their version, California created a picture sleeve depicting a cartoony Beatles-inspired guitar player (Tom?) perched upon a chimney flanked by four cats (The Cats!).

Tom and the Cats playing the C. E. Byrd High School junior prom
held at the Washington-Youree Hotel in Shreveport, Louisiana 
(Gusher [C. E. Byrd High School yearbook], 1966.)

Tom and the Cats promotional photograph (circa 1966)

Tom and the Cats discography

Jewel Records 750 (1965)
TM 1389 What’s Happenin’ Baby (Authement – Ezell – Rodie) (Su-Ma BMI)
TM 1390 The Wine Song (Authement – Ezell – Rodie) (Su-Ma BMI)
*also released as California 1435, made in Denmark

Paula Records 242 (1966)
TM 1627 Walkin’ Man (Frank Rodie) (Su-Ma BMI)
TM 1628 Summertime Blues (E. Cochran – J. Capehart) (American BMI)

Paula Records 253 (1966)
TM 1784 Nothing in This World (Vince Authement) (Su-Ma BMI)
TM 1785 Good, Good Lovin’ (Brown – Shubert) (Lois BMI)