Monday, January 5, 2015

Review: 'Boof! The Complete Pussy Cat: 1966-1969'


France’s - girls were known for singing—or often speak-singing—coquettish or girlish lollipop pop and looking cute. Pussy Cat would have none of that. Her stage name was the only cutesy pie thing about Évelyne Courtois, a serious rocker who sang and played guitar in France’s first all-female band, Les Petites Souris, and later drummed in Les Pussy Cat. Moving outside of that band while taking along its name for herself, Pussy Cat performed tough-ass, modish rock and pop, appropriately debuting with a version of “Sha La La La Lee” (“Ce N’Est Pas Une Vie”) that doesn’t hold back any of Small Faces’ bottom-heavy bash. Her attitudinal singing has none of Bardot’s disaffected meow. Stand back when her rage boils over on an electrifying cover of Betty Everett’s “You’re No Good” (“Mais Pourquoi…”).

Having also cut tracks by and popularized by The Hollies, The Moody Blues, Paul Revere and the Raiders, The Ballroom, and Herman’s Hermits (okay…she does have her odd cutesy moment), Pussy Cat eventually distinguished herself as a good songwriter in her own right in the late sixties, though by that point she’d shed a lot of her Rock & Roll hellfire and went in more of an emotive ballad direction. Nevertheless, her rock and pop roots were still very detectable, as when she stole a bit of The Ronettes’ “Walking in the Rain” for “Cette Nuit” or did a pretty good version of The Zombies’ “She’s Not There”.

RPM Records’ Boof! The Complete Pussy Cat: 1966-1969 collects all of Pussy Cat’s sides for her first anthology released outside of France. A couple of unreleased cuts and four Les Petites Souris sides that reveal Courtois had been penning her own material as early as 1965 complete a revelatory portrait of one of France’s most legit rockers.

Get Boof! The Complete Pussy Cat: 1966-1969 on Amazon.com here:
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