Cat o' Nine Tales:
stories & songs about cats''
Fran Stallings: vocals, autoharps, percussion, stories.
Gail Huggett: vocals, hammered dulcimer, autoharp.
Moby Anderson: string bass
Professional storyteller Fran Stallings and singer/songwriter Gail Huggett perform traditional and unconventional material together as "Prairie-Fire." Bassist Moby Anderson, on loan from Country Heart string band, plays back-up for us when he can get away from his oil field valve business. Rehearsals were supervised by Fran's marmalade tabby Sanza, Gail's tortoise-shell Natasha, and Alexander Pusskin, who moved on to his tenth life as we finished recording.
- CATNIP JIG (instrumental, 1:05)
Original dance tune by Gail Huggett, ©1994. Hammered dulcimer GH; autoharp FS; bass MA.
- A SECOND LANGUAGE (story, 0:49)
Fran's retelling of a tale from folk culture. Frank de Caro's The Folktale Cat has a British version, "The Linguistic Cat".
- FELINE AMERICAN PRINCESS (song, 3:09)
Music Leslie Fish, lyrics Mercedes Lackey, ©1986 Firebird Arts and Music Inc. Used with permission. Vocal GH; autoharp FS; bass MA.
- WHY SOME DOGS CHASE CATS (story, 3:22)
Fran's retelling of an African American tale heard from Linda Levy. Julius Lester's "Why Dogs Chase Cats" (in The Knee-High Man & Other Tales) has a different plot!
- BELLA CHOW (song, 1:52)
Original lyrics Cynthia McQuillan (©1991 Unlikely Publications, BMI) to an Italian folk song called "The Black Rose." Used with permission. Cynthia's own version is on Bedlam Cats. Vocals FS & GH; autoharp FS; bass MA.
- HOW MOM TRIED TO KILL MY SISTER'S CAT (story, 3:56)
An Oguss family story, ©1994, told with the permission of Fran's sister Emily Oguss Robertson.
- THE CAT CAME BACK (song, 2:46)
By late 19th C vaudevillian Harry Miller, with later folk process additions. The melody varies regionally, too. Vocal & autoharp GH; bass MA.
- THE CAT & THE COW-HORSE (story, 3:48)
Fran's retelling takes off from "The Camel and the Cat," a Syrian and Lebanese tale in Leslie W. Leavitt's Stories from the Near East (London: Longmans, Green & Co).
- (I Love) CATS (song, 2:12)
Lyrics Anne Davis & Meg Garrett, music Cynthia McQuillan ©1982. Used with permission. Another version is on Bedlam Cats. Vocals FS, GH; autoharp FS: bass MA.
- CATNIP REEL (instrumental, 1:46)
Gail's 4/4 version of her 6/8 jig. There's more than one way to skin a cat! (© 1994 Gail Huggett) Hammered dulcimer GH; autoharp FS; bass MA.
- OLD GREY CAT (instrumental, 2:31)
Traditional. Adapted from The Ruffwater Fake Book (Judi Morningstar, 1991). Hammered dulcimer GH; autoharp FS; bass MA.
- THE ANTIQUER'S CAT (story, 4:44)
From contemporary folk culture, as retold by Fran.
- DON GATO (song, 2:17)
Mexican folksong. English words by Margaret Marks. Vocal & autoharp GH; shaker FS.
- THE CAT WHO BECAME A QUEEN (story, 5:57)
Fran's retelling is based on J.H. Knowles's Folk-tales of Kashmir (London, Paul, Trench, Trüber, 1893) collected from a narrator named R'azi. Parvati is the maiden aspect of Kali Ma, Queen of the Heavens.
- TOBY WAS THERE (song, 3:06)
Lyrics & music by Gail Huggett ©1994. Vocal & hammered dulcimer GH; autoharp FS; bass MA.
- THE CAT'S NAME (story, 3:37)
This is Fran's bilingual retelling of Neko-no Namae, a traditional Japanese folktale which she heard (all in Japanese) from katarite teller Hiroko Fujita. The story is used here with Fujita-san's permission and assistance.
- OVERFLOWIN' CATBOX BLUES (song, 3:18)
Lyrics & music Jane A Robinson (©1989 Unlikely Publications, BMI). Used with permission. Her own version is on Bedlam Cats. Vocals FS & GH; hammered dulcimer GH; autoharp FS; bass MA.
BOOKINGS & TOUR INFO: Fran Stallings, 1406 Macklyn Lane, Bartlesville OK (Call 918/333-7390)
CDs $15 apiece, plus $2 postage and handling. Oklahoma residents please add $1.20 tax per CD.
Comments from Listeners
- "I loved receiving your tape. I've been listening in the car. Very fun. Thanks!"
- Stevie Beck, Associate Producer, Prairie Home Companion, St. Paul MN.
- "We play it over and over in carpool, laughing our heads off, while the youngest children say, 'Huh?'"
- Mother of teenagers, Bartlesville OK.
- "My daughter (12 yrs) took it to her room and played it for a couple of hours. I think it is helping her to learn English."
- Nak Sung, research scientist, Phillips Petroleum Company.
- "I'm delighted with the tape. The quality is really, really nice. It has so much appeal to it!"
- Ivan Stiles, editor Autoharp Quarterly magazine; 1993 winner, International Autoharp Competition. Phoenixville, PA.
- "Absolutely love your cassette. I have a cat and the songs have special meaning for me. Great job!"
- Lu Mitchell, singer/songwriter and grande dame of folk music. Dallas TX.
- "It's fantastic!"
- Lonnie Liggett, composer and Midi-magician. Tulsa OK.
:"...delightful ... new hit tape..."
- "Judging from the very enjoyable tape Cat o' Nine Tales, their other programs must be wonderful. We can only hope there will be more tapes!!"
- Mary Lee Welch, newsletter editor, Oklahoma City Traditional Music Association.
review from Territorial Tattler,
newsletter of the Oklahoma Storyteller's Guild