Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Song of the Week: "Purr, Kitty, Purr", Sid King & the Five Strings

The Flip-Side central command has many pleasures in life. Some of them to which we even admit publicly. One of those is turning people on to hep-cat (ooh, did we just try to get away with that term?) music that -- in all likelihood -- the aforementioned "people" have never heard before. And so it is, with great pleasure, that we present today's song of the week. The song is Purr, Kitty, Purr, by Denton, Texas band, Sid King and the Five Strings.

Sid King was actually a lad from Denton, Texas born with the un-rock-n-roll name Sid Erwin. Sid and his gang made a (new) name for themselves playing radio stations, school dances, roller rink "all night" hops and other assorted local gigs in the early to mid 1950s. Like the teenage Buddy Holly way over in Lubbock, The Five Strings were playing a steady dose of Bob Wills influenced Western Swing. Then they began flirting with a new sound. That sound, of course, is rockabilly. But unlike Holly or Elvis or the Johnny Burnette Trio, The Five Strings never quite stepped wholly into the nascent rockabilly craze. In fact, they remained, at heart, a western swing band. And a dang good one indeed. But, in the flip-side's humble opinion, their best work was their rockabilly forays. But even those weren't wild ravers like the other cats we mentioned. No, they were more in the vein of Carl Perkins: country boys at heart flirting, but never quite becoming, rock-n-roll. Their best songs, like Purr, or Shake the Shack, are a study in restrained power. Songs which hint at a break out, but never quite make that break. Songs that play with lyrical coyness but never quite turn into the bathroom-wall expose it may have become under a different band.

Purr, Kitty, Purr is a wonderful song with a snappy "tom-cat" beat and a lyrical guitar up front and center. But, again, the guitar, like the whole song, is restrained. Even Sid's kitty-cat growls seem innocent and somewhat humorous by today's standards.

I'm sure you'll agree, this kitty-cat is the type of song you'll enjoy making purr over and over again. Enjoy. And enjoy with a person you love. Or by yourself, if that's your thing, you know. I won't tell.  


  1. Sid King now runs a barber shop in Richardson, TX (suburban dallas), in case you didn't know. He and his brother run a cool little place where you can still get a good flattop or a DA. Thanks for the post.

  2. Next time I'm in Richardson I know where I am going with my little 45 rpm record. A signed record and a flat top. But what is a "DA"?

    I'd like to point out that an excellent comp is available from the good folk at Bear Family records (also do Howlin' Wolf's Sun Records stuff and Johnny Horton's too!). Hopefully Sid and the boys get a penny or two.

    Thanks for taking time to update us Steven.


  3. I believe what Steven is referring to is a hairstyle known as a Duck's Ass, and frankly that would look better on you than a flat top.

  4. Ahhh, is that the little flippy tail hanging down in front on the pompadour?