A Bit Like You And Me Radio

May 22, 2013

Cat Mother & the All Night Newsboys - Charlie's Waltz (1969)

Formed in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, New York in the fall of 1967, this band was held together over the years by its core members: Roy Michaels, Bob Smith, and Michael Equine. Through a connection with Jimi Hendrix’s manager, Michael Jeffrey, the band was able to get a record deal with Polydor Records in 1969, while simultaneously hiring Jeffrey as their own manager. After developing a friendship with Hendrix himself, Hendrix decided that he would be willing to produce the band’s first album, The Street Giveth…and the Street Taketh Away in 1969. From that album came the band’s only Top 40 hit, “Good Old Rock ‘n’ Roll,” a medley of rock and roll songs from the 1950s. In an effort to help propel the group forward, it was also arranged that the band would open a series of shows for Hendrix on tour. Although the touring went well, the connection to Hendrix was severed in 1970 when the band relocated to California, wanting to cut ties with their mutual manager, Jeffrey. (It's worth noting here that Jeffrey would soon be shrouded in controversy from his possible involvement in Hendrix's death.) While out in California, the band released their second album, Albion Doo-Wah, before shortening their name to just “Cat Mother” and moving back to New York in 1971. In the years that followed, the band released two final albums, the eponymous Cat Mother in 1972 and Last Chance Dance in 1973. They failed to reach any more commercial successes, but continued to play live until 1977 before retiring the band.

This song was written by William David “Charlie” Chin, an original member of the band while they were still in the Lower East Side. Chin, who would later be awarded by the Smithsonian in 1989 for his work regarding Asian American Studies, decided to quit the band after the release of their first album, not wanting to relocate to California. The song appeared on the band’s first album, The Street Giveth…and the Street Taketh Away, which reached number fifty-five on the charts. Of the band and the album, Hendrix said, “They are presentable enough, but not as good as I wanted them to be. … It could have been so much better, but we were working all the time and couldn’t spend the time we needed in the studio.”

album art

Cat Mother & the All Night Newsboys - Charlie's Waltz (1969)

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Lyrics:

She stood in the street
Holding her hat in her hand
I think I understand
Why she’s smiling at me
The whole world can see
From the sandals she wears
To the flower in her hair
How she’s leading me on
With a smile just like dawn
With an eye like a diamond
A walk like a whisper
She’s gone

Woah, how I cry
Woah, how I cry

Hands by your side
Like two small birds
At night
When I spied
The way that they tried
To capture my dreams
In a basket of fingers
The thought still lingers
Of the schemes that you tried
Moonstones that cry, girl
Love that won’t die
Cannot compare
To the color of her hair
In the morning

Woah, how I cry
Woah, how I cry

Woah, how I cry
Woah, how I cry

Love of a lifetime
Crushed into my mind
How can I find time
To refuse or decline
Your offer to me?
You, how could it be?
Honest or brew it
If you won’t be true to me
You know, promises made
Too many times
They seem to fade
In some peoples’ minds
Like she was

Woah, how I cry
Woah, how I cry

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