The R&B Cadets
The R&B Cadets played their first gig shortly after New Year’s in 1980 and their last in the summer of 1986. In that time they got a whole lot of people out on the dance floor, playing a distinctive mix of of deep soul cuts from Paul Cebar’s massive record collection and some sparkling originals, written by John Sieger, often in tandem with Michael Feldman, a friend and longtime host of Public Radio’s Whad’ya Know?
Splitting lead duties with Sieger and Cebar was the lovely chanteuse, Robin Pluer. Owner of one the lovelier voice heard in the Midwest, Ms. Pluer was a dollop of sweetness at the top of the band’s deep range. Rounding out the lineup was Mike Sieger, John’s brother and vocal doppelganger, who played bass. Original drummer Cy Costabile, was later replaced by Bobby Schneider and the saxophonist Juli Wood was replaced by keyboard/sax man Bob Jennings.
In it’s prime, the band had a large following in Milwaukee, where they were pretty much the house band at the late, lamented Century Hall. They travelled well too, with fans in the Twin Cities, Chicago, Madison and even New York where they played legendary clubs like CBGB’s, The Knitting Factory and The Lone Star. Their only record, Top Happy, came out in 1986. It featured a song produced by Nick Lowe, a fan who had stumbled across them after playing a show in Milwaukee. The record got great reviews and could have been the start of even bigger things, but like many bands, people were pulling, and being pulled, in different directions.
What once was one thing became three, Paul toured and recorded with The Milwaukeeans and Tomorrow Sound. John led Semi-Twang to a short lived deal with Warner Bros. Records and wrote songs for other artists, like Dwight Yoakam and The Bodeans. Robin continued to dazzle, singing standards and soul in both French and English. There was brief reunion in 2000, and in 2015 they got back together. Asked to perform at an outdoor event in the Milwaukee suburb of Wauwatosa, the rehearsals went well and the gig was a smash. Further bookings followed and you can expect to see more of the the band in the future at select venues. Don't miss it, your feet and ears will thank you!
More, including photos and updates on their Facebook page.