2016 album. Bluegrass.
The bluegrass quintet based in the Netherlands, The Oldtime Stringband demonstrate once again their love for the sonic builders who have influenced their sound and release ‘Cats Got The Measles’ the follow up to 2014’s ‘Chicken Crows For Day’. Their third album is an eclectic and diverse collection of 13 tracks, that highlights their solid repertoire from accomplished musicians filled with close harmonies, flat-picking, high-lonesome hollers and plenty of rustic stomp all encapsulated in a sheer sense of fun. As bassist Nico Druijf explains “This album was recorded in two days. We invited some guest musicians. They joined the circle we were playing in and so they were part of the fun. Again some originals, some traditional songs and some covers.”
For ‘Cats Got The Measles’ The Oldtime Stringband gathered another cunning mixture of songs, again showing their great knowledge of traditional and oldtime songs alongside more contemporary fare and original songs. The renowned Dutch singer-songwriter Tim Knol does the vocals in “Bumming An Old Freight Train” a song by the pickers Flatt & Scruggs, while tunes by Charlie Poole (“Milwaukee Blues”), J.E. Rainer (“Run Mountain”) and the title track “Cat’s Got The Measles” by Papa Charlie Jackson. Social commentary songs from back in the day include “Cotton Mill Girl” detailing the life and conditions in the industry when pay was poor and the work was endless.
There is a suite of three modern songs on this album with Dwight Yoakam’s “Miner’s Prayer”, Iris Dement’s “Our Town” and Nick Caves’ re-arrangement of “Henry Lee” (which he sang with PJ Harvey) although the band turn it into more of a hoe-down. There are two original songs by singer Shelly O’Day (Guitar, autoharp, Cajun-triangle) who sings about her youth in California. As with their other albums, everything fits together and you can’t see the joins as the band stamp their prints over the material and make the songs their own. A very satisfying listen!
‘Cats Got The Measles’ received acclaimed reviews in and outside the Netherlands.
The Band (originally a sextet) got together in 2011 specifically to provide musical accompaniment to a documentary about the Dutch cow-painter Ruud Spil. Both the musicians and the audience enjoyed it so much that the band started what they called “a stampede of interest”, resulting in the collective self-producing their first album ‘Gotta Quit Kickin’ My Dog Around’ 2012. Since forming the fivesome - Shelly O’Day: Guitar, autoharp, Cajun-triangle. Ton Knol: Guitar, mandolin. Ruud Spil: Banjo. Rene Boerichter: Fiddle. Nico Druijf: Upright bass, singing saw - have performed extensively in the Netherlands and toured in America and Europe.