Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay

by Christine Wiese –

Alley CatsIf A Cappella means unaccompanied (and it does), then the stage setting for the Alley Cats at The Clausen Center in Holstein last Saturday night was perfect. It was bare of everything but microphones and bottled water. That’s all the fellas needed to dispense fun, frolic, and fundamental Doo-Wopery.

Hearken back to the 50’s and 60’s they said. Remember when Dad first gave you the keys to the car. Remember your first date. Remember the drive-in movies. Ah, it was all there.

From the opening “Come Go with Me” to the closing romp of “Good Night, Sweetheart” it was a tonal theme park of nostalgia for those of what they call “a certain age”. And for the youngsters in attendance, it was an eye opener to the inner workings of their elders’ psyches. Every generation has its own special love songs, of course, but who could best John O’Campo’s rendition of “Only You”? Oh, he glammed it up by working the ladies in the front of the house, but the words soared up to the ceiling and beyond.

Alley Cats dancingThe rest of the group was just as great. Armando Fonseca, founder of The Alley Cats, is a lunatic with lyrics, a Michael Jackson of footwork, and a tornado with the tambourine. “Run Around Sue” showed just how radically involved he can get with his music.

Frank Romeo will stand some watching. He might be quieter than the other guys but then he’s only been with them for two out of their twenty-five years. Just give him time. His asides were pithy/punchy and his baritone was honey. He only worried me once and that was during “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”. Thought maybe he would do some irreparable harm to his vocal cords doing the jungle bird calls. Seems he has that under control, though.

Alley Cats ElvisWhat can you say about Royce (The Voice) Reynolds? Or more to the point, what can’t you say? He was all over the place with his amazing bass creating heart palpitations among the female half of the audience. Things nearly got out of hand when he cruised the aisles as Elvis. “Don’t Be Cruel”, indeed.

One of the best things these guys do is to integrate the audience into their show. Wild applause erupted when Reynolds picked Dave Hinkeldey of Aurelia out of front row – stage left to boom out “Blue Moon” with him. What a treat! Who knew we had such talent out here in the corn fields of Northwest Iowa?

The night was a delight and ended with a musical promise to everyone there – “Rock and Roll Is Here to Stay!”. With The Alley Cats around, it surely will.