Probably like many I never really took much notice of The Stray Cats except for a couple of singles but decided to give them a try on a whim. I was certainly surprised and this is a great CD for the car. Brian Setzer is definitely a far better guitarist than many give him credit for. If only 'Rumble In Brighton' had been omitted though! That said this CD is still worth the money.
Yes, yes. I know.... I am 55 years old and have never got in to rockabilly until now. What did it? Jeff Beck! Yes, Jeff Beck! His "Tribute to Les Paul" concert (excellent and on DVD now) features a superb backing group and lead singer (Imelda May) and also features a guest slot from the lead singer/guitarist of the Cats. Very good. This is a great compilation. Shame I missed out back in the 70's. More in to the Floyd, Genesis, the Moody Blues and Genesis.
Rockabilly was one of the earliest styles of Rock'n'Roll music, emerging at the start of the 1950's and is an amalgam of Rock and Hillbilly (the original name for Country music in the 30's and 40's). Stars that 'flirted' with the 'Rockabilly Sound' as emanating from the Sun Records studio and elsewhere, were Eddie Cochran, Carl Perkins, Elvis Presley, Bill Haley, Johnny Cash, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis and many others.
The genre went in decline in the 60's and 70's but when a revival of interest was rumoured The Stray Cats formed (Brian Setzer, guitar, bassist Lee Rocker and Slim Jim Phantom, drums) and on hearing of the 'rising from the ashes' of the 50's Teddy Boy culture in England, moved there. They then spearheaded the nascent rockabilly revival, by blending the 50's Sun Studio sound with modern punk musical elements and dressing 50's style with drape jackets, drainpipe trousers, brothel creepers, western shirts and modern takes of 1950's hairstyles.
In 1982, their UK fame and work with 'rocker' turned record producer, Dave Edmunds, attracted the attention of EMI America, who issued an album (Built For Speed) of the best tracks from their 2 UK albums. The record went on to sell double platinum in the US and Canada and was the #2 record in the Billboard Album chart for 26 wseeks.
Unfortunately the group did not handle success very well and personal conflicts began to emerge which limited the potential to build their united careers beyond occasional tours, the last being in 2008 to Australia and New Zealand. They do, however, have a dedicated and rather strange group of fans in Japan, called the "Tokyo Rockabilly Club", which comprises of usually slightly tipsy, leather clad 'punk' bikers who meet every Sunday in Yoyogi Park, Harajuku, Tokyo, with the men dancing a very 'odd' version of Rockabilly. 'YouTube' has several clips - very amusing.
Tracks that I liked were "Runaway Boys", "Wicked Whiskey" instrumental, "18 Miles From Memphis", and "Too Hip, Gotta Go".
The Stray Cats were the leading proponents of a recognised popular branch of Rock Music and produce a bright, breezy, foot-tapping, rhythmic and most listenable music.