Tanega’s arc is unfortunately all too familiar among ‘60s pop acts. The singer was discovered as a music counselor at camps in the Catskills and brought to producer Bob Crewe. Despite possessing uniquely robust voice, that recalls Nico at times, Tanega was pushed towards the lighthearted single that gives this album its name. “Walkin My Cat Named Dog” wasn’t exactly representative of her other works, but it would be the song that she’d long be associated with. The single was rounded up alongside material that was much more a fitting environment for her strong vocal style, mixing folk with lush pop arrangements that swerve through Brill Building sounds. I’m sure that anyone coming to the album on the heels of the single might be a bit surprised. Its a lovely, melancholy record that might find some shelf space next to Wendy & Bonnie or The Proper Ornaments.
The album wasn’t exactly a chart success when it was released in 1966, but the label kept her on a few more years. She’d record several other singles through the end of the ‘60s and into the beginning of the ‘70s when she issued the album I Don’t Think It Will Hurt If You Smile for RCA in 1971. Her other singles “Bread” and “Run, On The Run” are included here as well. While the record has been on CD in the past few years this edition from Real Gone marks a return to vinyl for the songs here. Norma’s voice, alongside the whimsical production, paint a picture of an artist that was much more than just a novelty hit. In recent years the album’s opening track “You’re Dead” has found some life on television as the theme song to the Matt Berry show What We Do In The Shadows. However she gets it, though, Tanega’s well worth the attention. I’d definitely recommend nabbing a copy of the LP and letting the bittersweet glow wash over your day.
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