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Stray Cats

Stray Cats

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Album Review

Stray Cats debut album came hot on the heels of the two hit singles "Runaway Boys" and "Rock This Town," both energy filled rockabilly songs that hearkened back to the 1950s era of pure rock & roll with an updated, clean '80s sound highlighted by the prominent double bass playing of Lee Rocker and drumming of Slim Jim Phantom. The Stray Cats had more depth than pure rockabilly, as shown on the out and out rock & roll tracks "Fishnet Stockings," "Double Talkin Baby," and "Jeanie, Jeanie, Jeanie" (a facsimile of "Summertime Blues"), and the sleazy third single "Stray Cat Strut," perfectly evocative of a night out on the tiles. "Storm the Embassy," a song about the Iranian hostage situation than ran throughout 1980, would not have sounded out of place performed by the Clash, and "Ubangi Stomp" bore more than a passing resemblance to another musical craze of the early '80s: ska as performed by Madness or any of the 2 Tone stable of acts. This album was by far their most successful, hitting number six in the charts and their only entry into the Top 40. It was never released in the U.S., but five tracks, the three singles, plus "Rumble in Brighton" and "Jeanie Jeanie Jeanie" were amalgamated with tracks from the follow-up, Gonna Ball and appeared on the U.S. compilation Built for Speed.

Customer Reviews

Don't read the date and you'll be fine

For 1981, this is incredibly backwards looking, stripped down fifties is the name of the game here, and it’s brilliant – Rockabilly’s second wave if you will. It’s mostly based around the good ‘ol 12-bar, but each song is a different interpretation, and so it doesn’t drag. Brian Setzer's guitar work is great, there’s chordy solos, loads of trem use and a load of surfy influence, and he pulls out something different for each one, I wish more people would do it like that. Vocals are of a great elvis style, slapback reverb and all that, drums are mostly a snare and a cymbal, full stop. This album is a great melting pot of influences if you want to call it that, and it's a great listen.

Biography

Formed: 1979 in Long Island, NY

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

The key group of the early-'80s rockabilly revival, the Stray Cats scored several big hits on both sides of the Atlantic thanks to a striking visual style tailor-made for the early days of MTV, as well as genuine musical chops that evoked the best players of rockabilly's original heyday. The Stray Cats were formed by guitarist/vocalist Brian Setzer in the Long Island town of Massapequa, NY, in 1979. At first, Setzer played rockabilly covers in a band called the Tom Cats with his brother, drummer...
Full bio

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