The R&B Cadets @ Shank Hall / Milwuakee,WI
Shank Hall - Milwaukee - WI
Date(s) - 11/26/2021
8:00 pm - 10:00 pm
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The R&B Cadets played their first gig shortly after New Year’s in 1980 and their last in the summer of 1986. In that time they got a lot of folks out on the dance floor, playing a distinctive mix of of deep soul cuts from Paul Cebar’s massive record collection and some sparkling originals, written by John Sieger, often in tandem with Michael Feldman, a friend and now longtime host of Public Radio’s Whad’ya Know?
Splitting lead duties with Sieger and Cebar was the lovely chanteuse, Robin Pluer. Owner of one the lovelier voice heard in the midwest, Ms. Pluer was a dollop of sweetness at the top of the band’s deep range. Rounding out the lineup was Mike Sieger, John’s brother and vocal doppelganger, who played bass. Original drummer Cy Costabile, was later replaced by Bobby Schneider and the saxophonist Juli Wood was replaced by keyboard/sax man Bob Jennings.
In it’s prime, the band had a large following in Milwaukee, where they were pretty much the house band at the late, lamented Century Hall. They travelled well too, with fans in the Twin Cities, Chicago, Madison and even New York where they played legendary clubs like CBGB’s, The Knitting Factory and The Lone Star. Their only record, Top Happy, came out in 198-. It featured a song produced by Nick Lowe, a fan who had stumbled across them after playing a show in Milwaukee. The record got great reviews and could have been the start of even bigger things, but like many bands, people were pulling, and being pulled, in different directions.
The positive result of their breakup was two, then three very vital and entertaining acts. There was Semi-Twang, which concentrated on John’s songs and did a record, Salty Tears for Warner Brothers that gathered more love than sales. John later moved to nashville and had many of his songs recorded by artist like Dwight Yoakam, Flaco Jimenez and The Bodeans.
Paul and Robin continued with the beefed up and ever-popular Milwaukeeans, releasing a record in the 1990s on Shenachie that got radio play around the country. That lineup stayed around until Robin bid adieu. Tired of touring and now married, she headed to New York for a while, before returning. She has carved out a special niche between soul, swing, standards and the French chanson that she loves, and is still performing today.
In 2009 Semi-Twang reunited and have released two CDs, both of which garnered raves. Paul has continued non-stop, his latest was out last year with his most recent moniker, Tomorrow Sound. The three headed beast has been in rehearsal, tightening up songs old and new. The crowd at their first reunion gig in many years was up and dancing at the first down beat, you probably will be too.