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

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

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by Brian Setzer
     
 

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Rockabilly wasn't recorded exclusively at the Sun studio in Memphis, but it reached its creative zenith there and became the foundation for the mainstream rock 'n' roll that upended the world in the mid-'50s. Rockabilly's timeless spirit and unfettered bravado are well understood by Brian Setzer, who plays hot rockabilly guitar licks like he's channeling

Overview

Rockabilly wasn't recorded exclusively at the Sun studio in Memphis, but it reached its creative zenith there and became the foundation for the mainstream rock 'n' roll that upended the world in the mid-'50s. Rockabilly's timeless spirit and unfettered bravado are well understood by Brian Setzer, who plays hot rockabilly guitar licks like he's channeling Carl Perkins and Scotty Moore and managed the neat trick of having rockabilly-rooted hits with the Stray Cats in the '80s. For his tribute to Sun's rockabilly era, Setzer put together a red-hot trio (the Nash-Villains), recorded on vintage gear, and unearthed some primal screams the likes of which the world has rarely heard during the past half century. Setzer's unafraid to tackle rockabilly's Holy Grail, "Blue Suede Shoes," as well as more pop-influenced hits such as Charlie Rich's 1960 smash, "Lonely Weekends," but to his credit he's combed the Sun vaults for some obscure moments of inspiration that deserved a new hearing. So check out the frenzied automotive assault of Jack Earls's "Slow Down," a heavily echoed rendition of Warren Smith's cheatin' classic "Red Cadillac and a Black Moustache," and Dean Beard's "Rakin' and Scrapin," a showcase for a robust, twanging guitar riff, a furiously roaring sax, and Setzer's growling vocal. Setzer's guitar work is idiomatically right-on but not lacking in his own sound signature; his singing has personality to burn, and his band (who double as Jordanaires-type background vocalists on a few tracks) is right there with him, raising a ruckus from first note to last. Put your cat clothes on, 'cause you're really gonna rock to this one.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Hal Horowitz
The concept is stated in the title and the execution is about what you'd expect from one of the most popular rockabilly revivalists in contemporary music. It's not much of a stretch for Stray Cat Brian Setzer to take a break from writing his own rockabilly tunes that often sound like classic Sun material anyway, but by narrowing his focus roughly from 1954 to early 1957 and sticking with music produced by the king of country music record labels, he scores credibility points. The 23-track set is peppered with obvious choices like Carl Perkins' "Blue Suede Shoes" and "Boppin' the Blues" and Johnny Cash's "Get Rhythm," but dominated by more obscure fare from lesser-known acts such as Kenny Parchman, Ernie Barton, and Tommy Blake. Setzer even tracked down Jumpin' Gene Simmons to finish off "Peroxide Blonde in a Hopped Up Model Ford" when part of the original master copy was found to have been erased. Elvis is represented only by "Just Because," a brief nod to the King that also illustrates how many other acts had produced music nearly as vital from the same little room in Memphis. Setzer even calls in the Jordanaires to provide background vocals, bringing even more authenticity to this project. These versions are refreshingly stripped down, with standup bass, skeletal drums, acoustic piano, and occasional sax providing all the instrumental excitement. Even Setzer's fiery guitar solos are lean, mean, and never dominate the songs. He's in terrific form throughout; clearly his heart is in it and it sounds like he's having a blast. Whether listeners need covers that stick so closely to the originals, if with slightly fuller sound, when the real McCoys are easily available is something listeners will have to decide for themselves. Regardless, this is a rollicking, ballad-free, nonstop hour of classic rockabilly that shows how much great music emerged from such a short period, and from only one record label. Setzer fans will be thrilled and those first hearing these songs will want to go back to explore the genre's rich history firsthand.

Product Details

Release Date:
07/26/2005
Label:
Surfdog Records Ada
UPC:
0640424406820
catalogNumber:
44068
Rank:
8897

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Brian Setzer   Primary Artist,Guitar,Vocals
Jordanaires   Background Vocals
Bernie Dresel   Drums,Background Vocals
Kevin McKendree   Piano
Mark Winchester   Background Vocals,Slap Bass

Technical Credits

Charlie Rich   Composer
Jack Earls   Composer
Carl Perkins   Composer
Brian Setzer   Composer,Producer,Liner Notes
Ray Harris   Composer
Jay Livingston   Composer
Jeff Peters   Engineer
Sid Tepper   Composer
Bob Shelton   Composer
Joe Shelton   Composer
Slim Willet   Composer
Andy Engel   Graphic Design
Sydney Robin   Composer
Dean Beard   Composer
Dave Darling   Producer
Kenny Parchman   Composer
E. Day   Composer
Curly Griffin   Composer

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Rockabilly Riot, Vol. 1: A Tribute to Sun Records 2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Let me mention a few things about Brian Setzer's new album, Rockabilly Riot Volume 1: A Tribute To Sun Records. At first listen, I loved it, it's very danceable (that's probably not a word, but), loud, fast and the guitar work is good. The second, third, and fourth listen I didn't like it as much and I'm still desperately trying to like it as much as the first time. I don't and aside from a few stellar tracks and the above average guitar work, I don't really like the album. I think it's too predictable. I appreciate the selection of mostly obscure recordings, but somehow it doesn't work for me. I don't like the tracks Blue Suede Shoes or Get Rhythm because Setzer plays them just as Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash did (and I realize he was trying to stay close to the original versions, but variation would be nice, and I just don't see re-recording something if you aren't going to add anything new or original to it). However his version of Mona Lisa blows me away. Rock N' Roll Ruby, and Red Hot are pretty decent tracks. Real Wild Child is one of the better tracks on the album but I prefer BR5-49's cover to Setzer's. The album ends with the song Red Cadillac and a Black Mustache which is by far the best track on the album, simply because it's so painfully beautiful and musically well crafted. Overall, I wouldn't recommend this. Much like Setzer's previous record, Nitro Burnin' Funny Daddy, it's a bit of a let down. I think he needs to go away for a few years and come back in a few and see how things go. It's just that I think he's becoming to much of a "novelty" act so to speak. If you want Setzer stick to The Dirty Boogie, Guitar Slinger, or pick up an older Stray Cats record. There's not much more that I can say.