Fran Stallings | Cat O' Nine Tales: Stories & Songs About Cats

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Cat O' Nine Tales: Stories & Songs About Cats

by Fran Stallings

Hilarious and touching songs, instrumentals, and world folktales about our furry friends--FOR our (shed) fur-covered friends, with hammered dulcimer, autoharp, and bass.
Genre: Spoken Word: Storytelling
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Catnip Jig
Gail Huggett, Fran Stallings, Moby Anderson
1:07 $0.99
2. A Second Language (Story)
Fran Stallings
0:50 $0.99
3. Feline American Princess
Gail Huggett, Fran Stallings, Moby Anderson
3:11 $0.99
4. Why Some Dogs Chase Cats (Story)
Fran Stallings
3:23 $0.99
5. Bella Chow
Fran Stallings, Gail Huggett, Moby Anderson
1:57 $0.99
6. How Mom Tried to Kill My Sister's Cat (Story)
Fran Stallings
3:58 $0.99
7. The Cat Came Back
Gail Huggett, Fran Stallings, Moby Anderson
2:48 $0.99
8. The Cat and the Cow-Horse (Story)
Fran Stallings
3:49 $0.99
9. I Love Cats
Gail Huggett, Fran Stallings, Moby Anderson
2:15 $0.99
10. Catnip Reel
Gail Huggett, Fran Stallings, Moby Anderson
1:48 $0.99
11. Old Grey Cat
Fran Stallings, Gail Huggett, Moby Anderson
2:33 $0.99
12. The Antiquer's Cat (Story)
Fran Stallings
4:46 $0.99
13. Don Gato
Gail Huggett, Fran Stallings, Moby Anderson
2:19 $0.99
14. The Cat Who Became a Queen (Story)
Fran Stallings
5:58 $0.99
15. Toby Was There
Gail Huggett, Fran Stallings, Moby Anderson
3:10 $0.99
16. The Cat's Name (Story)
Fran Stallings
3:39 $0.99
17. Overflowin' Cat-Box Blues
Gail Huggett, Fran Stallings, Moby Anderson
3:24 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Professional storyteller Fran Stallings (stories, vocals, autoharps, percussion) and singer/songwriter Gail Huggett (vocals, hammered dulcimer, autoharp) perform traditional and unconventional material together as “Prairie-Fire.” Bassist Moby Anderson plays back-up for us when he can get away from his oilfield valve business. Rehearsals were supervised by Fran’s marmalade tabby Sanza, Gail’s tortoise-shell Natasha and Alexander Pusskin, who moved on to his tenth life as we finished this project.


“I loved receiving your tape. I’ve been listening in the car. Very fun. Thanks!”
-- Stevie Beck, Associate Producer, Prairie Home Companion, St Paul MN.

“We play it over and over in carpool, laughing our heads off, while the youngest children say, ‘Huh?’”
-- Mother of teenagers, Bartlesville OK.

“My daughter (12 yrs) took it to her room and played it for a couple of hours. I think it is helping her to learn English.”
-- Nak Sung, research scientist, Phillips Petroleum Company.

“Yarnspinner Fran Stallings and singer Gail Huggett have combined their talents to produce a delightful recording of stories and songs ranging from the traditional to the unconventional, with feline protagonists in center stage. Stallings introduces listeners to a bilingual circular tale from Japan; an African-American pourquoi story; a Middle Eastern tale re-set in the American West; a legend from India; a personal family story; and several droll tales from popular folk culture. The songs are no less intriguing and diverse, from that chestnut “The Cat Came Back” to the sprightly Mexican “Don Gato”; from Huggett’s original ballad “Toby Was There” to some pretty strange filk including “Overflowing Catbox Blues.” Bassist Moby Anderson especially shines on the bluesy numbers, and backs up Stallings’ autoharps and Huggett’s hammered dulcimer in some lively instrumental pieces.
“Aside from the recording’s variety, what makes this worth listening to is the quality of the recording as a whole. There is good balance, not only of singing voices but where instruments are involved. All in all, if you have a favorite feline, this will put you forever in their highest esteem.”
-- Robert Rodriquez nationally known folksinger; producer of folk-music & storytelling radio shows. NYC


1. CATNIP JIG (1:05) 0riginal dance tune by Gail Huggett © 1994. Ham.dul. GH; autoh. FS; bass MA.

2. A SECOND LANGUAGE (0:49) Fran’s retelling of a tale from folk culture. Frank de Caro’s The Folktale Cat has a British version, “The Linguistic Cat”.

3. FELINE AMERICAN PRINCESS (3:09) Music Leslie Fish, lyrics Mercedes Lackey, ©1986 Firebird Arts and Music Inc.. Used with permission Vocal GH; autoh. FS; bass MA.

4. WHY SOME DOGS CHASE CATS (3:22) Fran’s retelling of an African-American tale heard from Linda Levy. Julius Lester’s “Why Dogs Chase Cats” (in The Knee-High Man & Other Tales) has a different plot!

5. BELLA CHOW (1:52) Original lyrics Cynthia McQuillan (©1991 Unlikely Publications, BMI) to an Italian folksong called “The Black Rose.” Used with permission. Her own version is on Bedlam Cats. Vocals FS & GH; autoh. FS; bass MA.

6. HOW MOM TRIED TO KILL MY SISTER’S CAT (3:56) A family story told with the permission of Fran’s sister Emily Oguss Robertson.

7. THE CAT CAME BACK (2:46) By late 19th C vaudevillian Harry Miller, with later folk-process additions. The melody varies regionally, too. Vocal & autoh. GH; bass MA.

8. THE CAT & THE COW-HORSE (3:48) Fran’s retelling takes off from “The Camel and the Cat,” a Syrian and Lebanese tale in Leslie W. Leavitt’s Stories from the Near East (London: Longmans, Green & Co).

9. (I Love) CATS (2:12) Lyrics Anne Davis & Meg Garrett, music Cynthia McQuillan ©1982. Used with permission. Another version is on Bedlam Cats. Vocals FS, GH; autoh. FS: bass MA.

10. CATNIP REEL (1:46) Gail’s 4/4 version of her 6/8 jig.There’s more than one way to skin a cat! (© 1994 Gail Huggett) Ham.dul. GH; autoh. FS; bass MA.

11. OLD GREY CAT (2:31) Traditional. Adapted from The Ruffwater Fake Book (Judi Morningstar, 1991). Ham.dul. GH; autoh. FS; bass MA.

12. THE ANTIQUER’S CAT (4:44) From contemporary folk culture, freely retold by Fran.

13. DON GATO (2:17) Mexican folksong. English words by Margaret Marks. Vocal & autoh. GH; shaker FS.

14. THE CAT WHO BECAME A QUEEN (5:57) Fran’s retelling is based on J.H. Knowles Folk-tales of Kashmir (London, Paul, Trench, Trüber, 1893) collected from a narrator named R’azi. Parvati is the maiden aspect of Kali Ma, Queen of the Heavens.

15. TOBY WAS THERE (3:06) Lyrics & music by Gail Huggett ©1994. Vocal & ham.dul. GH; autoh. FS; bass MA.

16. THE CAT’S NAME (3:37) This is Fran’s bilingual retelling of Neko-no Namae, a traditional Japanese folktale which she heard (in Japanese) from folkteller Hiroko Fujita. The story is used here with Fujita-san’s permission and assistance.

17. OVERFLOWIN’ CATBOX BLUES (3:18) Lyrics & music Jane A Robinson (©1989 Unlikely Publications, BMI). Used with permission. Her own version is on Bedlam Cats. Vocals FS & GH; ham.dul. GH; autoh. FS; bass MA.

All story retellings © Fran Stallings


Recorded at: Greenwood Studios, Tulsa OK, on Spectral Synthesis direct-to-digital equipment.
Engineer: Lonnie Liggett.
Music arranged by: Gail Huggett.
Stories researched and retold by: Fran Stallings.
Design, text & graphics: Stallings & Huggett.
Cover art: from Music by Jim Harden (Dover Press), used with permission.
Hammered dulcimer built by Russell Cook, Burleson TX.
Chromatic and diatonic autoharps built by George Orthey, Newport PA.
Moby’s accoustic bass is a 1960 blonde Kay.



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