Brian Setzer
"Rockabilly Riot, Vol. 1: A Tribute to Sun Records"

(Surfdog Records 2005)Brian Setzer - Rockabilly Riot, Vol. 1: A Tribute to Sun Records

Brian Setzer's days as a Stray Cat may be numbered, but he certainly still has that strut in his step. If anyone should be doing a tribute to Sam Phillips' Sun Records, it is Setzer. "Rockabilly Riot!, Vol. 1" pools together twenty-three songs of what Setzer considers to be "Sun Records' best recordings." Some are notable classics like Carl Perkins' "Blue Suede Shoes" and "Get Rhythm" while other tunes you may be hearing for the first time.

Regardless of whether a song is a "classic" or an "overlooked favorite," Setzer gives them each the love and focus that they deserve. Straight rocking songs such as "Red Hot" and "Put Your Cat Clothes On" pull no punches, delivering that classic sound while taking advantage of modern techniques. Setzer puts a lively wriggle into Johnny Cash's "Get Rhythm" and Perkins' "Glad All Over." Saxophone adds to "Lonely Weekends" before the do wop accents of "Stairway To Nowhere" while Setzer and his gang makes the vocally driven song sound fresh, like it just stepped out of the fifties. Piano pounders like "Flyin' Saucer Rock And Roll" and "Real Wild Child" get you moving and bring the real showman, Jerry Lee Lewis, who popularized the latter song, to mind.

Setzer infuses new energy and life into classic and sometimes forgotten songs that were the foundation of rock 'n' roll. What is better is that Setzer's performances of the songs are generally true to the originals, keeping their integrity intact. And remember, for Setzer's sake and peace of mind, it is "rockabilly," not "rock 'n' roll."


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