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Cate Brothers @ Chrome Lounge
August 30, 2018 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm$15
Arkansas-based Earl and Ernie Cate were prolific songwriters and singers who blended the blues with elements of rock & roll, country and rockabilly. Pianist/vocalist Ernie and guitarist/vocalist Earl signed to Asylum Records in 1975; their self-titled debut, issued shortly after, included appearances by Donald “Duck” Dunn, Steve Cropper, former Band drummer Levon Helm, and former Eagle and Poco member Timothy B. Schmidt. They followed up their debut in 1976 with In One Eye and Out the Other, trailed in 1977 by The Cate Brothers Band. Spurred by the success of the single “Union Man,” 1979’s Fire on the Tracks reached number 24 on the album rock charts in 1976.
Radioland Despite a dearth of recordings through the 1980s, the band remained a popular touring act in Tennessee, Arkansas and other strongholds of country rock and blues around the South. In the early ’80s, Earl and Ernie joined Helm and others to form a reconstructed version of the Band, which by that point had lost guitarist Robbie Robertson; aside from touring with Helm, they also collaborated with blues singer Maria Muldaur. The Cate Brothers continued recording into the 1990s; in 1995, they issued Radioland, a unique hybrid of pop-oriented blues-rock, Stax-era soul-blues and country-rock on which they were joined by former John Mayall blues guitar phenom Coco Montoya. A new album, Play by the Rules, was released in 2004.
The link between the Band and the Cate Brothers dates back to 1966, when Levon Helm was their drummer for a few gigs in Arkansas after he had left the Hawks’ tour with Bob Dylan. In 1981, five years after The Last Waltz, Levon and the Cates did a series of concerts in Canada and the US. When the Band finally was reunited again in 1983, they started out as an eight-piece ensemble with Levon, Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, and Richard Manuel, plus the following members of the Cate Brothers Band:
Earl Cate, guitar
Ernie Cate, keyboards
Ron Eoff, bass
Terry Cagle, drums
Band guitarist Jim Weider also played with the Band during this period. The Cates teamed up with the Band again on the beginning of their 1985 tour, but had to leave after a while due to economical problems. Jim Weider instead continued as the guitarist of the Band. The Cate Brothers Band have in the later years done occasional performances with Levon, Garth Hudson, and the Band.
Levon Helm appeared on The Cate Brothers’ debut album Cate Brothers (1975) and on their fourth effort, Fire on the Tracks (1979). No Band members are credited on their later releases. The Cates also contributed to Levon’s solo albums Levon Helm (1978), American Son (1980), and Levon Helm (1982).
Levon’s nephew Terry Cagle and his group the Jungle Bush Beaters, named after Levon Helm’s first high school band, released the album Distant Drums in 2000.