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"Sounds" - The Dry City Scat Band EP

front cover

back cover

Side A

Side B

"The band that made bluegrass obsolete" it says on the back cover of the Dry City Scat Band's EP, "Sounds." Whatever that might mean, the band did display an eclectic approach that would continue to inform the subsequent musical careers of future Kaleidoscopes David Lindley & Chris Darrow. Featuring the fine vocals & guitar of Steve Cahill along with the formidable banjo & dobro playing of Pete Madlem, the group also included the up & coming Richard Greene on fiddle.

Pulsating Dream is pleased to offer two tracks from the almost impossibly hard-to-get EP (recorded after Chris' departure), which offer ample evidence of the vocal & instrumental strengths of the band. Many thanks to Kjell Fredell for making them available. The tracks are in Real Audio format.

Fisher's Hornpipe

Bury Me Beneath the Willow

The following passage is taken from John Platt's piece on David Lindley that appeared in the British magazine Comstock Lode. The full text of the article is available here.

The Scat Band were noted for "nice harmonies and instrumental work." Lindley agreed: "We had really good harmony, 3-part harmony. The instrumental work was different from most bluegrass bands too. We took a lot of chances. We did double banjo stuff like Bill Keith and Marshall Brickman (who were in one of Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys line-ups), except that we did it in an odd way. Pete Madlem was an excellent banjo player, I did the banjo thing with him. We also did fiddle things as well. We did very obscure songs, we also arranged a lot of traditional songs until they were different, until they became our songs. We dug the Country Gentlemen very much, Eddie Adcock, John Duffy, Charlie Walker and those people." Many bands, including Hearts and Flowers, have admitted their debt to the Country Gentlemen; their version of "Come All Ye Fair and Tender Ladies" was the most ripped-off song in California in the early 60s.

There are two known recordings of the Scat Band. Firstly, there are two tracks on the Elektra String Band Project album (EKS 292), plus the "four or five tracks recorded by local bluegrass authority John Delgatto." These turn out to be the tracks on the legendary Scat Band limited edition EP. It's so rare that Lindley hasn't seen one since the week it was issued! When asked about it, he grinned and chuckled - "Yes, the EP. I'd love to get hold of one of those. That was one of the best things I ever played on. There was a thing called "Fisher's Hornpipe", a piece called "Devil's Dream", a double banjo thing and a double fiddle tune. There were four on one side and three on the other. We put it out mostly for our friends and to document the band. I've tried to get hold of the masters, but I can't. I know where they are, and I'm going to get my friends over, you know, 'my Chinese friends.' (Burst of manic laughter.) I'd like to do a few reprints of them."

Thanks to Steve Cahill for the scans.