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The Cats and the Fiddle


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The Cats And The Fiddle was one of the pre-eminent, pioneering R&B vocal groups of 1930s, and its place in the history of this style is assured. It was 1937 when the group formed, amalgamating two earlier, separate bands: the “Harlem Harmony Hounds,” led by singer Austin Powell, and the aspiring trio of Jimmie Henderson, Chuck Barksdale and Ernie Price. The latter, Chicago-based group needed a lead singer, and Powell slipped into this role perfectly, so that the initial four-part vocal-instrumental line-up was born. The Cats and the Fiddle was one of the pre-eminent pioneering R&B vocal groups of the 1930s. “The Fiddle” in the group’s name is not purely whimsical: it alludes to the stand-up bass they used, while in jazz parlance each member of the group was a “hep cat,” as in the track, “Hep Cat’s Holiday.”


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