Little Caesar was one of those great bands that didn’t have the chance to realize their potential because the musical landscape changed: along came Nirvana, the scene shifted from L.A. to Seattle. So call this a little fan appreciation.
Little Caesar was, at their heart, just a rock and roll band. They weren’t just based in the blues, they were based in soul. This was evident in their cover of Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools”, their cover of The Temptation’s “I Wish It Would Rain”, and their own original songs like “In Your Arms”, “Cajun Panther”, “Stand Up”, “Ain’t Got It”, “So Damn Tired”, “Tell Me That You Love Me”. Ron Young’s voice was the key to this. Powerful, dynamic, a gravel-laiden belting or a quiet soulful whisper; Ron’s voice was expressive and was the body and soul of the band.
Another trait of the band was storytelling. “Ballad of Johnny”, “Pray For Me”, “Hard Times” all tell their own stories. Of course we can’t forget the double entendre of “Drive It Home” and “Slow Ride”. And sometimes they just went with straight-ahead rockers like “Rock-N-Roll State Of Mind”, “Down-N-Dirty”, “You’re Mine”, and “Rum And Coke” reminding you what rock and roll is all about.
They had the sound, they had the songs, and they had the look. They had cultivated a biker image that was genuine rock and roll: long hair, tattoos, leather, denim. Ron Young fronted the band well and had the right look.
The band plays the occasional gig now and again, and if the YouTube recordings are any indication, they’re sounding good. Here’s a video of their hit “Chain Of Fools”. I don’t think this was their best song, but it was their most popular and showcases the band well.