Scruffy The Cat: High Octane Revival EP (1986)

Killer college party tunes, circa mid-80s.  Well, at least that was my personal experience; Scruffy were a Boston-based band who did the college & small club circuit back when I was in school, and I saw them at any number of parties (one of the band members was an alum, so they probably played an inordinate number of campus gigs for us).  We'd dance on sticky floors full of warm, spilled Schaefer and Rolling Rock while Scruffy, led by the late, great Charlie Chesterman, belted out catchy pop songs, equal parts roots-rock and bar band boogie and 50s retro stylings. 

Their debut remains a favorite, 6 great little ditties still fun to crank up before you head out for the weekend.  The highlight is "Happiness to Go," to this day one of my all-time favorite rave-up tracks, the sort of thing that would have been #1 with a bullet in a just world (but had to settle for incessant college radio airplay).  But the rousing "Life Is Fun" is, as the title aptly suggests, every bit as jubilant, as are upbeat tracks like "40 Days & 40 Nights" and "Tiger Tiger."  Meanwhile, even the two (slightly) more mid-tempo tracks, "Buy a Car" and "Land of 1000 Girls" sport killer hooks, making this pretty much perfect start to finish.  

The band went on to record a few more EPs/singles as well as two full-length LPs before calling it a day, never having found the larger audience they deserved; the two albums, while not quite as consistently great as the debut EP, still had plenty of great tunes. A few years ago, shortly before Chesterman's untimely passing, they put together a fantastic compilation collecting pretty much all of the official releases, and it's fantastic.  You should definitely own a copy (Spotify link below).  (At the same time, they issued a second collection of demos and unreleased tracks, giving you all the Scruffy you could ever need!)

Here's an audio rip of "Life Is Fun":
Here's a great, blistering live take on "Happiness to Go" (and a longer oldies medley):


  1. Amen! I don't have anything to add to this excellent review. Scruffy the Cat is one of my favorite bands and not just '80s bands. Their music always feels fresh and not dated.


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