Cat Mother

Cat Mother and the All Night Newsboys
OriginNew York, later Mendocino, California
GenresRock, country rock, alternative country
Years active1967–1977
Associated actsThe Belairs
Au Go Go Singers
The Conqueroo
Jackson Heights
Sha Na Na
New York Rock Ensemble
The Surfaris
Loy Bones The Band
Past membersRoy Michaels (a.k.a. Loy Bones) d. 2008
Bob Smith d. 1991
Michael Equine
William David "Charlie" Chin
Larry Packer
Jay Ungar
Paul Johnson
Charlie Prichard
Steve Davidson
Charlie Harcourt
RJ "Beans" Bellanca d. 2014

Cat Mother and The All Night Newsboys was an American musical group, originally formed in New York and later based in Mendocino, California, most active in the late 1960s and early 1970s.


Cat Mother and The All Night Newsboys was co-founded by Roy Michaels (February 25, 1942–September 23, 2008) and Bob Smith (July 7, 1942–March 21, 1991) in the fall of 1967. Michaels had previously been playing with Stephen Stills and Richie Furay in the Au Go Go Singers, prior to the formation of Buffalo Springfield.[1][2] Initial members were Bob Smith on vocals, keyboards and drums, Roy Michaels on vocals and bass guitar, William David "Charlie" Chin on vocals and guitar, Larry Packer on guitar and violin, and Michael Equine on drums and guitar. Jay Ungar was also initially associated with the group, on violin, and rejoined the group for their second album. Core band membership consisted of Michaels, Smith and Equine.

The ensemble's popularity in New York grew during 1967 and 1968, through regular appearances at the Cafe Wha?, which led to an engagement as the house band at New York's Electric Circus.[3]

The band was particularly notable for its rock and roll medley "Good Old Rock 'n' Roll", a Top 40 hit in the summer of 1969, reaching no. 21 on the U.S. Billboard Pop Chart, and which also ranked Number 35 in the "Top 50 Songs from the Summer of 1969", just behind The Youngbloods' "Get Together" (No. 34) and ahead of Bob Dylan's "Lay Lady Lay" (No. 41) and The Plastic Ono Band's "Give Peace a Chance" (No. 43). Number 1 on this list, reflecting an era before strict radio formatting, was Zager and Evans' "In the Year 2525".[4] "Good Old Rock 'n' Roll" included cover versions of "Sweet Little Sixteen" by Chuck Berry, "Long Tall Sally" by Little Richard, "Chantilly Lace" by The Big Bopper, "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" by Jerry Lee Lewis, "Blue Suede Shoes" by Carl Perkins and "Party Doll" by Buddy Knox. "Good Old Rock 'n' Roll" was covered by the Dave Clark Five later in 1969.

The single and the band's first album, The Street Giveth and the Street Taketh Away, were produced by Jimi Hendrix.[5] The association with Hendrix came through the band meeting him in New York City. Cat Mother was initially managed by Michael Jeffery, who also managed Hendrix.[6] Cat Mother opened for Hendrix on several occasions, as a result. Other notable early appearances included playing at the Toronto Rock and Roll Revival, the historic concert headlined by The Doors, where John Lennon and The Plastic Ono Band appeared in a surprise performance.[7]

Other popular songs by the band included "Track in A" and "Strike a Match and Light Another." However, the band's principal chart success remained "Good Old Rock 'n' Roll", a work not representative of the diversity of its sound but rather the group's ability in original, late 50s rock style. Similar to contemporaries Moby Grape, Poco and the post-1967 Byrds,[8] as well as predating the Eagles, Cat Mother was one of the first rock bands to blend rock and country music.

As part of the band's actions to sever ties with manager Michael Jeffery,[9] the group relocated to San Francisco in 1970,[3] and later settled in the Mendocino area. By the time of their 1970 second album, Albion Do-Wah, they were joined by Jay Ungar (violin, mandolin, guitar, & vocals), Paul Johnson (guitar), and special guest Lyndon Lee Hardy (vocals on two songs). The third album, Cat Mother, released in 1972, featured Michaels, Smith and Equine joined by Charlie Prichard (lead & slide guitar) and Steve Davidson (congas & percussion). By the time of the band's final album, Last Chance Dance, in 1973, Charlie Prichard had been replaced by Charlie Harcourt on guitar, harmonica and vocals. The band continued to perform until 1977.

Michaels,[10] Smith[11] Packer,[12] Chin,[13] Ungar,[14] Johnson [15] Prichard,[16] Davidson[17] and Harcourt [18] all continued in music. (As of November 2020, Michael Equine is alive and the last remaining corporate officer of the band.)

The Street Giveth ... and the Street Taketh Away and Albion Doo-Wah are available through streaming services and as a digital downloads.



  1. ^ Uncred and undated, Summary review of first time CD reissue of The Street Giveth and The Street Taketh Away, Uncut; See also Stephen Stills and Cafe Au Go Go.
  2. ^ After his experience with the Au Go Go Singers, Michaels relocated to Toronto, where he played with Amos Garrett in The Dirty Shames, prior to returning to New York City. See Loy Bones Bio; See also Amos Garrett.
  3. ^ a b Jason Ankeny, Profile of Cat Mother and The All Night Newsboys;
  4. ^ List of Top 50 Songs From The Summer of 1969 Archived 2009-12-19 at the Wayback Machine;
  5. ^ Being the sole production activity by Hendrix of an independent artist.
  6. ^ Hendrix also acted as the sponsor to obtain union membership for band members, in order that they could play professionally on tour with him. See comments of Larry Packer in Bonnie Langston, 'Roots of '69' return to Woodstock Archived 2012-03-04 at the Wayback Machine, The Daily Freeman, August 8, 2008;
  7. ^ Toronto Rock and Roll Revival Fansite;
  8. ^ who released their seminal country album, Sweetheart of the Rodeo, in 1968.
  9. ^ whose legacy as a music manager remains highly controversial see Michael Jeffrey
  10. ^ Michaels relocated to the Pattaya area of Thailand, where he adopted the name Loy Bones, ran a bar and completed some recordings with Carabao, a popular Thai folk-rock band. See Tony Clifton, Rip Roy Michaels Aka Loy Bones, Houston, Texas, Sept. 23, 2008 Archived 2009-02-09 at the Wayback Machine. With Bob Schmidt (a.k.a. Doppler Bob), Michaels formed Loy Bones The Band, which played in Austin, Texas and area in 2006 and 2007, until Michaels became too sick to play. The duo released one independent album, Stories From Joe's. See Loy Bones The Band MySpace Page, including music samples; See also DJ Smokehouse Brown, RIP Roy Samuel Michaels AKA Loy Bones, 1943-2008 Archived 2010-06-13 at the Wayback Machine. See also Comments of Doppler Bob in relation to Roy Michaels Memorial Service, February 14, 2009. Mendocino Beacon, as reprinted at Michaels was particularly popular at KVRX, an alternative radio station at the University of Texas at Austin. Michaels died of cancer in Houston, Texas on September 23, 2008, having returned to the United States for treatment. On January 17, 2009, a memorial service was held for Michaels in Mendocino, organized by former bandmate Steve Davidson, and attended by various musician and non-musician friends. See "Remembering Roy Michaels". Obituaries, Mendocino Beacon, January 15, 2009. The service facilitated an impromptu reunion of some of the surviving members of Cat Mother. See "Cat Mother Reunion, January 17, 2009";
  11. ^ Bob Smith continued to play in bands in the Mendocino, California area until his death in San Francisco on March 21, 1991. Mendocino photographer Nicholas Wilson dedicated his 2006 book of photography, Mendocino in the Seventies, to the memory of Bob Smith. See Tony Miksak, Review of Mendocino in the Seventies Archived 2010-07-07 at the Wayback Machine; See also Nicholas Wilson, Sample Photo Page, Mendocino in the Seventies Archived 2010-09-28 at the Wayback Machine, including dedication photo of Bob Smith, plus Cat Mother in Mendocino photo;
  12. ^ Packer worked with Lou Reed, Hall and Oates, Phoebe Snow, Judy Collins and Juliana Hatfield, among others. He was a member of Sha Na Na and was also in a later configuration of the New York Rock & Roll Ensemble (then known as the New York Rock Ensemble). He also released a solo album, Eye of the Sun (Woodstock Records, 2002) that included contributions from Garth Hudson and Tom Malone. See Larry Packer Biography Archived 2009-08-30 at the Wayback Machine;
  13. ^ After Cat Mother, Chin in 1970 joined with Chris Iijima and Nobuko Miyamoto in a trio that toured the United States and released A Grain of Sand, considered to be the first Asian American musical album. In 1989, the Smithsonian Institution presented Chin with the "Community Folklore Scholar Certificate" in recognition of his work in Asian American Studies. Chin is also a member of the American Folklore Society. See Profile of Charlie Chin Archived 2007-10-28 at the Wayback Machine, Chinese Historical Society of America;
  14. ^ See Jay Ungar.
  15. ^ Johnson, considered to be a surf music pioneer, was a member of surf bands The Belairs and The Galaxies, prior to joining Cat Mother. He has released a number of instrumental albums and continues as member of The Hepcats and of the "Jim Fuller version" of The Surfaris. See Paul Johnson's Guitar Heaven; See also Profile of Paul Johnson Archived 2010-07-18 at the Wayback Machine;
  16. ^ Austin-based Prichard, prior to joining Cat Mother, was originally associated with The Conqueroo, a legendary band that often played with the 13th Floor Elevators, among others. Prichard continues as an acclaimed guitarist in Austin, Texas and area. See Carlton Crutcher, The Conqueroo: The Charlie Prichard Interview Archived 2009-08-18 at the Wayback Machine, 2006; See also Imperial Golden Crown Harmonizers.
  17. ^ Davidson continues in Mendocino, playing and recording as a percussionist. See, for example, Lenny Laks Press Release in relation to Ring Around The Sun (2005);
  18. ^ Prior to joining Cat Mother, Harcourt had been a member of the Junco Partners, one of the first bands managed by Robert Stigwood, and Jackson Heights, formed by Lee Jackson, formerly of The Nice. Post Cat Mother, Harcourt joined Lindisfarne and co-wrote a number of songs with Ray Jackson. Jackson was later the lead singer in Harcourt's own band, Harcourt's Heroes. See Chris Kelly, Interview with Ray Jackson, Part 2 Archived 2011-07-25 at the Wayback Machine, Autumn 2005; In later years, he has been associated with Whitaker Waller and Harcourt, which includes former Harcourt's Heroes member Mike Waller on keyboards.

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