Freddie Salem And The Wildcats - Cat Dance

edited November 2022 in Year-1982


ARTIST: Salem, Freddie And The Wildcats
ALBUM: Cat Dance
SERIAL: 38018
YEAR: 1982
CD REISSUE: 2013, Rock Candy Records (UK), CANDY165


LINEUP: Freddie Salem - guitar, vocals * Fernando Saunders - bass * Myron Grombacher - drums * David Jackson - piano, synthesizers * Peter Woods - keyboards

TRACK LISTING: 01 Dark Horizon/London Town * 02 Open My Eyes * 03 Long Gone * 04 Sunset * 05 Got The Feelin' * 06 Evil For Evil * 07 Rock n Roll Woman * 08 Monica (Instr)


Prior to his position with The Outlaws, Freddie Salem was somewhat of a recording veteran, his history going back to 60's act The Chambers whom he was playing with at the age of nineteen.

Salem's first well known spot was with The Outlaws however, joining the beloved Southern rockers in 1978 when Henry Paul left the band, his debut appearance being on that years 'Playin' To Win' LP.

As The Outlaws moved into the 80's they began to ease a more commercial element into their music, something not lost on Salem as he enlisted a band for his own solo album. Among the band was Pat Benatar drummer Grombacher and future Heart bassist Saunders.

The resulting album was a classic, blistering hard rock with inhuman amounts of melody and energy.

The Songs

'Cat Dance' isn't overlong, most tracks at four minutes or under. Opener 'Dark Horizon/London Town' is the lone exception, an epic at eight minutes, opening with an eerie synth solo before building in speed, the feel of a real southern epic, even if it isn't meant to be. When things take off at the halfway point the tone for the entire album is set, tough riffs with even tougher solos from Salem.

Following this is the jubilant AOR tinged 'Open My Eyes', whose opening parping synth riff brings The Who's 'I Can't Explain' to mind. Layer after layer of melody hits during the bridge, something quite hard to get tired of.

Things heat up with 'Long Gone', a gritty mixture of southern and more traditional hard rock, raw as you like. I could imagine Krokus doing this in 1982.

'Sunset' goes the AOR route and in startling fashion, the harmonies and hook flawless, with perfect guitar fills so plentiful in that era. It's back to driving hard rock immediately after, the menacing and cool strains of 'Got The Feeling' typified by Salem's untamed guitar work.

The riffing of 'Evil For Evil' is as bold as it comes, even more so than AC/DC in the period, with shades of Deep Purple's mid 70's funk direction. My only complaint is how the song fades prematurely in the last thirty seconds when it speeds up as the band's wall of noise takes effect.

AOR purists will find much to savour with 'Rock 'N' Roll Woman', which is reminiscent of BOC's 'Burnin For You' in the keyboard sound, although this is far more atmospheric and heavier, with increased interplay in the keyboard- guitar department. The true sound of 1982.

Instrumental 'Monica' caps it off with some clever twists along the way, not too far off Speedway Boulevard's overall sound.

In Summary

Once again a perfect album that fell through the cracks at a time when classic albums were so common. This deserves recognition as it doesn't contain a poor moment whatsoever, and is an album you'll want to hear again and again.

Following this one off Salem hooked up with The Godz' Eric Moore, with whom he had toured with previously, the two reigniting The Godz for 1985's 'Ill Get You Rockin'. Salem left in the late 80's to pursue his career with the reformed Outlaws, but left that soon after also.

He has since gone on to produce various artists, and of his band members, Grombacher played with Lita Ford for a period of time, while Saunders went solo releasing 'Cashmere Dreams' later in the 80's.

'Cat Dance' is Salem's definitive work and in my eyes an all time classic. One to watch out for.

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