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Pre C.B.S.

Peter Miller and the Wildcats

1981. .22 Records Vinyl Album
1. Pre C.B.S.
2. Bad Girl
3. Goin' Up The Jungle
4. The Shape I'm In
5. Rude Boy
6. Ubangi Stomp
7. I Thinl I'm Gonna Kill Myself
8. Ride With The Angels
9. Not So Long Ago
10.High Noon
11.High School Daze
12.Why Did It Have To Be You
13.Go Away
14.The King Of Beretania
Guitars: Peter Miller
Keyboards: David Merrill
Drums: Rob Anderson (Carl Tassi on "High Noon")
Upright Bass: Shawn Silverman and Charlie Degelman
Saxes: Ray Moseley-Norman Salant-Jim Warshauer
Percussion: Rob Anderson-Kate Shulman-David Merrill
Backing vocals: Terry Abstein - Bruce Adams - Rob Anderson - Ken Cameron - Charlie Degelman - Chuck Foley - Ani Glaros - Deborah Krantz - David Merrill - Melody Moseley - Penny Moseley - Ray Moseley - Pat Mullane - Peter Quayle - Norman Salant -
Jay Shoemaker - Kate Shulman - Maryanne Tarantino - The Toons
Produced by Peter Miller
Engineers: Peter Miller and Chuck Foley
Recorded and mixed at Peter Miller Recording Studio, San Francisco
Cover Design: (front) Julie Peterson, (back) Ani Glaros

Peter Miller and The Wildcats

Miller and his Wildcats, meanwhile, have put together a brilliant synthesis of old and new sounds. They simply take primitive rock and roll (lotsa rockabilly, rock steady, cheesy ballads, R&B) and bring to it advanced production ideas, smart melodies, cool playing, and interesting lyrics that don't pretend to have the answers to existence. No two cuts repeat concepts shown elsewhere and there's plenty here to invite the listener back for repeated spins, which, no doubt, will reveal previously unheard delights. The title may be a put-on, but it would be more than a shame if this band did remain obscure.

Peter Miller and The Wildcats. The Fortnightly College Radio Report

What some critics refer to as country bop is celebrated by the former Peter Jay (and the Jaywalkers, a sixties British band) with tons of slap echo and unexcelled wit. The mock reggae "Rude Boy," good as it is, is eclipsed by Presley and Chuck Berry take offs and by a "High Noon" that really is a new, invigorating version. Off and on through the years Miller has been involved with 26 different records, as sideman and leader, and his expertise shows. You can program virtually all of the 15 cuts on this album. Usually, our procedure is to march through an album listening for influences and analyzing the sound, lyrics and overall ambience. We're not ashamed to say that with this one, we just sat back and enjoyed it. We suggest you do the same.

Peter Miller and The Wildcats. San Francisco Chronicle

Here's a surprise. Produced and engineered by one Peter Miller, a local boy, at Peter Miller Recording Studios, this home-made album is something of a knockout. Mixing new wavish strains of reggae and rockabilly. Miller and associates whip through 15 cuts, mixing top notch Miller songs like "Bad Girl" and "Ride With the Angels" with obscure rockabilly and reggae pieces like "Rude Boy", "I Think I'm Gonna Kill Myself" and "Ubangi Stomp". The net effect is a jolly romp through basic rock and roll styles, complete with funky recording values and a jaunty spirit that overcomes any technical considerations.

Joel Selvin

Peter Miller and The Wildcats. BAM Magazine

This is the kind of upbeat rock and roll record I think most people would love if they heard it - a distressingly unlikely prospect in this age of constipated radio. The album is by and large a fond musical look back at a much simpler era of rock and roll, with a heavy rockabilly thrust, echoes of everyone from Elvis to Buddy Holly to Fats Domino, but also plenty of wit and enough contemporary touches to keep Miller from sounding like he's just aping '50s music. Miller isn't some fresh-faced kid who just discovered Johnny Burnette, either. A veteran rocker, he was the leader of a marginally popular British band in the early '60s called Peter Jay & the Jaywalkers; his discography shows that he's been part of 26 records over the years. The album title refers to the early days of Fender guitars (before the company was bought by giant CBS) and if I'm not mistaken, the back cover graphic is an old amplifier tube; no solid state or computer circuitry here. Miller yearns for the time when rock and roll was still rebel music, and his songs are convincing evidence that it still can have that sort of youthful abandon. It's a diverse collection, to say the least. The title cut has a "Willie & the Hand Jive" beat; "The Shape I'm In" and the ironically cheerful "I Think I'm Gonna Kill Myself" both recall Elvis' "Don't Be Cruel" to a degree; "Rude Boy" is reggae; "King of Beretania" is an undescribable bit of madness that sounds like a cross between a Specials song and John Lennon's "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite". Miller and his group are best when they stick to rock and roll like "High School Daze" (an affectionate paean to adolescent life), "Bad Girt" and the classic "Ubangi Stomp". Pre C.B.S. is a fun record, a party record, but it also has something to say about what rock and roll is and where it has gone over the past 25 years. The album probably will be difficult to find, but it's a good one to take a chance on .22 Records.

Blair Jackson

Peter Miller and The Wildcats. Earwax

This album opens with tho unmistakable Bo Diddley riff, on the title cut, and it's a clear signal this is a band with deep roots in the earliest rock & roll. Starting with this clever, high-spirited tribute to rock's innocent age ("Uncle Leo was inventin'/Something big was in the wind/Ike was in the White House/Keepin' Mamie off the gin... /Pre CBS"). "Pre CBS" serves up doses of early rock & roll's various styles. The record is almost a sampler of roots rock styles: Rude Boy borrows from early reggae/rock-steady rhythms. Ride With the Angels has a classic car/biker theme. High School Daze is reminiscent of earlier songs about adolescent frustration and the list goes on and on. Miller is an impressive vocalist who owes debts to Jerry Lee Lewis and Buddy Holly, with a nod to Bob Wills. Even the production reflects the rawness of early rock. For all its debt to early styles, "Pre CBS" is neither academic nor unsophisticated. There's a freshness and excitement in this music that makes it completely appropriate for modern audiences, even if they'd never heard of Buddy Holly. "Pre CBS" is an unexpected pleasure and success.

Jonathan Taylor

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