The Cats were a Dutch band that were more British in sound and style, their baroque pop similar to The Zombies, The Left Banke and The Bee Gees.
Written by: Eric
ARTIST: The Cats
ALBUM: Take Me With You
LABEL: Imperial Records
SERIAL: 5N 054-24320
CD REISSUE: Discogs Reissue List
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN: Netherlands
LINEUP: Cees Vermaan – vocals, guitar * Piet Vermaan – vocals, guitar * Arnold Muhren – bass * Jaap Schilder – guitar, piano * Theo Klouwer – drums
TRACK LISTING: 01 Where Have I Been Wrong * 02 Take Me With You * 03 Don’t Waste My Time * 04 Phone Call * 05 Five Little Tears * 06 Crying Like I’ve Never Done Before * 07 I Don’t Know * 08 I Walk Through Fields * 09 If I Could Make You Blue * 10 Irish * 11 I Love You, I Do * 12 Lonely Walk
The Cats sprung on the Dutch pop scene in the mid 1960’s as The Blue Cats with a litter of self-financed singles. After dropping the ‘Blue’ from the name, their first LP ‘Cats As Cats Can’ was released in 1967, but it was the second album ‘The Cats’ released a year later that got my attention. Baroque pop in the style of The Zombies and The Left Banke with an added bonus – The Cats sung in English.
As such, their orchestral pop was truly a work of beauty to these ears. Further investigation found the band charted numerous hit singles, toured throughout Europe, Indonesia and even the Caribbean as well as parts of South America while releasing several albums up until their break-up in 1979. Of their records, I have several favourites but ‘Take Me With You’ nears the top of my list as one of The Cats very best.
Two years had passed since ‘The Cats’ album and by now the band had matured considerably, sounding even more British if that’s possible and remarkably like The Bee Gees on their first 3 albums – ‘Bee Gees 1st’, ‘Horizontal’ and ‘Idea’. The vocals of Piet Vermaan are amazingly similar to the quaver of Robin Gibb and from the opening acoustic guitar and sweeping strings of ‘Where Have I Been Wrong’, you know this is something very special.
Elsewhere the title track has a bit of The Beatles to it and by now it’s clear The Cats are not going to rock out on this record, but instead offer the listener a series of gorgeous orchestral vignettes. Songs like ‘I Don’t Know’, Cees Vermaan’s achingly beautiful ‘I Walk Through Fields’ and The Moody Blues influenced ‘I Love You, I Do’ are all in a word – brilliant.
Listening to The Cats is like finding the acetate of a long lost British band in a musty old record store basement. The ‘discovery’ of The Cats music has been a revelation for me and my hope is with this review, some of you more attuned to pre-AOR sounds will find them as enjoyable as I have.