Little Charlie & the Nightcats

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Little Charlie & the Nightcats
Origin Sacramento, California, United States
Genres Electric blues,[1] West Coast blues, jump blues, swing revival
Instruments Guitar, harmonica, bass, drums
Years active 1976–present
Labels Alligator Records
Members Kid Andersen
Rick Estrin
Lorenzo Farrell
J. Hansen
Past members Charlie Baty
Jay Peterson
Dobie Strange
Brad Lee Sexton
Ronnie James Weber
June Core
Frankie Randall
Joey Ventittelli
Fletcher Fox
Gerald (Jerry) Eddleman
Charles (Little Charlie) Baty in San Diego 2007
Rick Estrin in San Diego 2007

Little Charlie & the Nightcats (now billed as Rick Estrin & the Nightcats) is an American four-piece electric blues[1]/swing revival combo, consisting currently of guitarist Kid Andersen, harmonicist/lead vocalist Rick Estrin, bassist Lorenzo Farrell and drummer J. Hansen.


Charles Baty (born 1953)[2] was studying mathematics at University of California Berkeley and when he and Rick Estrin (born 1949) formed Little Charlie & the Nightcats in 1976.[2][3] Their first album, All the Way Crazy, was issued in 1987.[3] It includes the songs "Poor Tarzan", "Suicide Blues" and "When Girls Do It". The following album Disturbing the Peace (1988), included "That's My Girl", "My Money's Green", "She's Talking" and "Nervous". They began touring the United States and internationally.[3] They have played at the San Francisco Blues Festival in 1980 and 1982, the Montreal International Jazz Festival, the San Diego, California Street Scene and Seattle's Bumbershoot Festival plus the Juneau Jazz & Classics Festival in 2002.

Their 1993 album, Night Vision, was produced and played on by Joe Louis Walker.[2] The album included "My Next Ex-Wife," which won a W.C. Handy Award for Song of the Year.[3] The drummer, Dobie Strange, was replaced by June Core in 1996.[3]

In early 2008, Baty announced he was entering "soft" retirement, no longer tours with the band, except for possible reunion tours/shows in Europe and select North American festivals. Baty performed with JW-Jones at Mont Tremblant Blues Festival, Ottawa Bluesfest, and Piazza Blues in Bellinzona, Switzerland in July 2009. Estrin continued with the band re-billed as Rick Estrin & the Nightcats. Baty was replaced on guitar by Chris 'Kid' Andersen (born 1980), originally from Telemark, Norway. Andersen had played backing Charlie Musselwhite and Terry Hanck as well as fronting his own band.

Baty's most recent blues recording was as a guest on JW-Jones, Bluelisted (2008), an album which marked the first time in his career that he documented his harmonica playing on a recording, and the first time he and another West Coast blues musician, Junior Watson, had recorded together on the same tracks.[citation needed]

In 2013, Rick Estrin was nominated for a Blues Music Award in the 'B.B. King Entertainer' category.[4] He was nominated again in 2014 for the same award, with the ensemble also being nominated as 'Band of the Year'.[5]

Selected discography[edit]

Year Title Genre Label
1987 All the Way Crazy (reissued) Jazz, Blues Alligator Records
1988 Disturbing the Peace (reissued) Jazz, Blues Alligator Records
1989 Big Break Jazz, Blues Alligator Records
1991 Captured Live [Live] Jazz, Blues Alligator Records
1993 Night Vision Jazz, Blues Alligator Records
1995 Straight Up! Jazz, Blues Alligator Records
1997 Deluxe Edition Jazz, Blues Alligator Records
1998 Shadow of the Blues Jazz, Blues Alligator Records
2002 That's Big Jazz, Blues Alligator Records
2005 Nine Lives Jazz, Blues Alligator Records
2009 Twisted Jazz, Blues Alligator Records
2012 One Wrong Turn Jazz, Blues Alligator Records
2014 You Asked For It...Live Jazz, Blues Alligator Records


  1. ^ a b Du Noyer, Paul (2003). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music (1st ed.). Fulham, London: Flame Tree Publishing. p. 181. ISBN 1-904041-96-5. 
  2. ^ a b c Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues - From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. p. 136. ISBN 1-85868-255-X. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Biography by Steve Huey". Retrieved May 29, 2009. 
  4. ^ "Blues Music Awards Nominees - 2013 - 34th Blues Music Awards". Retrieved 2013-03-21. 
  5. ^ "2014 Blues Music Awards Nominees and Winners". Retrieved 2014-05-16. 

External links[edit]