Working on Music Like Crazy

New York Times Article

By Procter Lippincott

  • March 25, 1979

“I’m an original music freak,” Cliff Abeles, owner of the Lion’s Cage on New York Avenue in Huntington, said recently, and the music policy at his club bears him out.


By featuring groups with original material (as opposed to “cover” or “copy” bands), the Lion’s Cage stands apart from the majority of Long Island venues. Only a handful of others most notably the Right Track Inn (Freeport), the Henry Afrika Cafe (Northport), the Music Box (Bellmore), the Silver Dollar Saloon (Bay Shore), and My Father’s Place (Roslyn) — regularly risk public indifference for the sake of exposing original talent. As any club owner (or psychologist, for that matter) is likely to point out, the public almost inevitably gravitates toward the familiar.


But bucking the tide and taking risks is not without its pleasant surprises. Mr. Abeles’s latest discovery is a tight, hard‐hitting rock band from the Huntington‐Syosset area known as Kip, Cat & the Horton Brothers, who will play the Lion’s Cage every Sunday night for an indefinite period.


Nrew York Times article

The quartet, which teamed up only last December, infuses its repertoire of about 30 original tunes with a bright sound and contagious rhythm that may be as captivating as most “hits” on the radio. If the melodies are unfamiliar, the groove certainly isn’t.


The group’s musical peregrinations (traveling through R & B, rock and roll and love ballads) are consistently grounded by a danceable and undeniably heavy beat often layered with scorching lead guitar lines from Danny Horton.


Mr. Horton and Kip Carmen share lead and rhythm guitar duties, sing most of the vocals and do the bulk of the group’s writing. As such, they constitute the front line of the band. Both men, however, were quick to note that every member contributes significantly to the finished arrangements.


Judging from the gusto with which each musician plays and the animated faces behind each instrument, the band enjoys itself enormously. Mr. Carmen seemed to speak for everyone when he said, “I love the stage — performing —it makes me feel good. And I love working with these guys. This is one of the few groups I’ve been in where all the members are contributing and projecting like crazy. We complement each other very well. And, personally, I think Danny here is the guitarist of the 80’s.


“Right now, we’re concentrating on making our music work. We spend as much time together as possible.”


All the band’s members have had recording‐studio experience, working with some of the most respected names in the business. Mr. Carmen and Tony Catanzaro, an ex‐trombonist who plays bass with the group, both recorded in Memphis with Al Green and Willie Mitchell, the producer. Some records were released and, although “nothing hit the charts,” Mr. Carmen, who has also worked with Cornell Dupree, recalls the Memphis experience as important.




Mr. Horton worked sessions on the West Coast with such people as Buzzy Feiten, Neil Larsen and Doctor John before returning to his Long Island home. Kevin Kelly, the band’s drummer, is a regular session player at Kingdom Studios in Syosset, where he has worked with numerous Long Island groups.


At this point, according to Mr. Horton, “We’re not interested in any B‐flat deals, because everyone of us has been under contract before. Contracts are not important unless the record company is seriously interested and willing to get behind us to help develop our careers.”


In addition to their Lion’s Cage appearances, Kip, Cat & the Horton Brothers are Wednesday night regulars at the Music Box in Bellmore, and will play at U.S. Blues in Roslyn on Wednesday, April 4.

Kip, Cat & the Horton Brothers recorded live at The Lion Cage (1979)

“So Good”

“Never Felt Like This”

Danny Horton – Hortunes ASCAP

Kip Carmen – Carsongs ASCAP

Kip Carmen – Vocals, Guitar

Danny Horton – Guitar

Tony Catanzaro – Bass

Kevin Kelly – Drums

Kip, Cat & the Horton Brothers rehearsal at Kevin’s White House (1979)


“Is It Real?”

“What A Gas”

Danny Horton – Hortunes ASCAP