The GATERS, with Sandy Bailey, Maggie Catfish, Joe Tate and Lonnie Walter have been playing the early Saturday evening music set for quite a while and they are booked through till October 29 in this time slot. The name derives from locale’ rather than a type of reptile.
The Gates is a section of the waterfront where liberty ships were built in WWII. Gate 3, which is near Mollie Stones Market, was the center of the ways where most of the final assembly and launches took place. Most of the houseboats are located around Gate 5 and 6.
It was in this area that The Redlegs, a 70s rock band, once flourished. Catfish and Tate were members of The Redlegs and are now content just to be GATERS. They have teamed up with Lonnie Walter, who grew up at the Gates and Sandy Bailey who lived in Sausalito back in the day.
The group has departed from the usual guitar, bass and drums rhythm section and instead use bongos, ukulele and bass ukulele. This provides an intimate sound that is easy on the ears.
The ukulele bass, played by Bailey, has the same tonal range as a regular bass but with faster attack and decay, the rising and falling volume of each note. This adds to the percussive effect of the bongos. The ukulele played by Catfish also adds another strong rhythm element. Taken all together with Tate’s guitar and the three part harmony, it’s a very compelling sound.
On many songs, Tate sings old favorites in a strong baritone voice while Bailey and Catfish lay down harmonic background lines. Then, effortlessly they segue into three parts. Fats Domino’s music is well represented along with The Coasters and Tate has a version of Cab Calloway’s Minnie The Moocher that brings the house down. Another favorite at the No Name Bar is Bailey’s rendition of On Bridgeway, a send up of George Benson’ On Broadway.
There were some notables in attendance including Margo St. James, Kayla Kahn and Larry Moyer. There are those who say these folks used to live at the No Name Bar. Nowadays, James lives up north and only visits occasionally while Kahn can often be spotted at Bridgeway Gym. Moyer, ever the artist, spends most of his time in a floating studio anchored offshore from Gate 5. One of Sausalito’s most respected artists, his paintings grace city hall and are in high demand. He still cranks them out on regular basis, seldom bothering to come ashore.
Night Beat digresses though. Lonnie Walter takes a couple of amazing solos and demonstrates why Tate calls him Showtime. There’s a tune called Nasty Little Boy, Tate’s biographical account of not behaving well, in which Walter blazes away on the bongos while simultaneously doing all these dance-like motions with his arms.
After some New Orleans stuff like Rockin’ Pneumonia, the genre shifts to Hawaiian and doggone if it doesn’t feel like the Islands. This starts with the well known Hanalei Moon, Bob Nelson’s hapa haole classic.
Tate has his own hapa haole song called Pahala. It’s quite beautiful and it is about a small town in Hawaii where he had attended a Hawaiian music workshop. Apparently some of it rubbed off on him. Maggie Catfish tops off this section with Moon Of Manakoora, a Hollywood created song first sung by Dorothy Lamour for the movie, Hurricane.
There’s also a lot of trading instruments between these players. They call it musical instruments.
Bailey usually has the bass. But then he hands it to Catfish and starts playing ukulele.
Tate sometimes gets out a uke too. But this one has eight strings and sounds like a harpsichord. When this happens, Catfish plays guitar. They do Troubled Times in this configuration, a lament about losing a job, having a house foreclosed and going to jail. It does ring a bell.
To learn more about the GATERS go to http://www.localmusicvibe.com/artist/the-gaters
To learn more about Joe Tate go to http://fwd4.me/02ts
To learn more about the No Name Bar go to http://localmusicvibe.com/venue/no-name-bar
This a video slide show of one of our songs about sailing away in the Richmond.