Puttin’ My Cat Clothes On

One of the things I enjoy about digging through old pictures is how I inevitably stumble onto surprises, in some cases jaw-dropping ones. That would be a good description of how I reacted when I recently found a picture of myself from the Fifties, when I was a teenager and obviously fashion-challenged.

I think I remember the gaudy striped shirt, but I cannot believe that I ever wore those pants in public. It seems to me that they were called clamdiggers, or beachcombers, or maybe pedal pushers. And girls sometimes called their version Capri’s — I think.

Like most teenagers — then and now — I was very insecure about things like that, so apparently I thought I was right in style or I would never have allowed that picture to be taken. And at least the pants were white, unlike those described in a song titled “Pink Pedal Pushers,” by rockabilly legend Carl Perkins.

In fact, I’d like to think that another of ol’ Carl’s songs might have come closer to how I was feeling when the picture was taken. If you read the lyrics of his 1956 hit, “Put Your Cat Clothes On,” his advice seems to be aimed at his girl, Kitty. (Get it?) But I think it was actually Carl’s advice for anyone planning to go out and raise a little hell. After all, he also mentions how he gets himself slicked up to look like a dilly’.

It’s a good song and I’ve always been a fan of Perkins, but I also like a modern cover — a live performance by retro-rockabilly Brian Setzer. In the last couple of decades, Setzer has probably done as much as anyone to keep the sounds of rockabilly alive.

If you can stop snickering at my picture for a few minutes, listen to each version and see which you like best.

(Original source of video no longer available.)

“Put Your Cat Clothes On” – Brian Setzer & The Nashvillains

6 thoughts on “Puttin’ My Cat Clothes On

  1. Your post certainly brought back a couple of memories regarding a couple of items in particular that I owned that could certainly be called “cat clothes”…… or perhaps more accurately, “cathouse clothes”.

    I use to have a canary yellow leisure suit that I wore along with a silk aqua blue shirt and some really flashy cuff links. White shoes of course. Eat your heart out Pat Boone….

    And I’m sure you’ll remember the popular “wingtip” oxfords that most of us had at one time or another referred to as “dress shoes”. I had a pair that were red, white and blue. The toe was red, the middle part of the shoe was white and the back and heel was blue. I wore those with a suit that was made out of material that looked like denim with red stitching along with a red and white paisley shirt.

    What was I thinking….? πŸ™‚

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  2. Thank you for Laura and the YouTube clip. I was a YouTuber (Is that like a personal yam?) before most and told everyone I knew about it. Anyway, I have a lot of that clothing, but it’s all in mothballs & belonged to a dear relative that was about 25 in the late 30’s. I supposes it’s worth something to a Hollywood Property Manager. I love the song & have it by the Four Freshmen. Can anyone thing of other artists (Outside of ‘The Voice’) that did this song both instrumentally & vocally?

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  3. Maybe calling someone a YouTater would sound better? Then their child could be a YouTaterTot. (groan.)

    You know, I thought at first that you were saying that you have “Put Your Cat Clothes On” by the Four Freshmen. πŸ˜‰ Kinda think you were talking about “Laura”.

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  4. Well, I guess I deserved that. I was on the wrong page about the Laura compliment… I’ll research it… I know someone else must have done it… Sinatra, Mathis, those kind of artists… Probably a Percy Faith one laying around too.
    Thanks & Happy Holidaze!
    MikelJ

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  5. Best wishes for the holidays for you too, MikelJ. About your original question — someone who recorded “Laura” as both instrumental and vocal, all I can think of is Woody Herman, who led his band while handling the singing too. ALLMUSIC lists a lot of artists, if you want to dig deeper.

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