Monday, June 7, 2010

The Cat Empire: Sunny Afternoon

I got thinking about this song yesterday as the rain made the entire afternoon very dismal. I was ready for a “Sunny Afternoon.” I began searching for covers of this song originally done by my favorite hillbillies – Muswell Hillbillies that is – The Kinks. I found this version by Cat Empire from Melbourne, Australia. The Cat Empire, who sport an eclectic mix of styles, grew out of a nine piece jazz ensemble called Jazz Cat.

It took me awhile to figure out the rhythm instrument that is vamping chords. I originally thought that it was a chord harmonica and I got out mine and was able to replicate the sound to an extent. As I listened to the song further, there are telltale signs that this is not a harmonica in any shape, form, or fashion.

There are a couple of instances where there are grace notes being played and a couple of chord changes that would require acrobatics to occur on a chord harmonica. The instrument appears to be a melodica – I got mine out and bingo, I could do the grace notes as well as the quick chord changes. I really like this rendition that comes from the various artists compilation – “Like a Version, Volume Two.”

The Kinks Original

I love this video of “Sunny Afternoon” that was obviously shot in the middle of winter. Watch drummer Mick Avory on this video. The song only charted at #14 in the US, but was a number 1 hit in the UK, Canada, and the Netherlands. Ironically, this single was released this week 44 years ago.

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