Brian Setzer Collection '81-'88

The Brian Setzer Collection '81-'88

by Stray Cats
     
 
Jumpin', jivin', wailin' hipsters on the '90s swing shift whose only memories of the pre-orchestral Brian Setzer are the Stray Cats' "Rock This Town" and "Sexy and 17" may be surprised by the Setzer of this '80s retrospective. After the Cats blaze through their hits in true retro-rockabilly fashion, good-time ear candy gives way to the work of a sensitive, if fairly

Overview

Jumpin', jivin', wailin' hipsters on the '90s swing shift whose only memories of the pre-orchestral Brian Setzer are the Stray Cats' "Rock This Town" and "Sexy and 17" may be surprised by the Setzer of this '80s retrospective. After the Cats blaze through their hits in true retro-rockabilly fashion, good-time ear candy gives way to the work of a sensitive, if fairly cliched, LA new-waver searching for a sweet spot between Marshall Crenshaw's roots impressionism and Bruce Springsteen's arena dynamics. When he succeeds, as on "The Knife Feels Like Justice," "Every Tear That Falls," and "Waiting for Desiree," he's as endearing as any like-minded star of his era -- and a sexily nuanced guitar stylist to boot. "Thing About You" is as hot and tender, if not as literate, as the early Blasters, and throwaway rockers like "Summertime Blues" are as freewheelin' and sun-dazed as they ougtha be. Sure, set him next to John Doe or Dave Alvin and he's a bit of an airhead, but, hey, bleached blonds have more fun. And this set is fun stuff, indeed.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
It makes sense that Capitol released The Brian Setzer Collection 1981-1988 in late 1999, since Setzer was riding an unexpected comeback powered by his cover of Louis Prima's "Jump Jive and Wail." Cynics may suggest that the label was simply trying to cash in on his success, but there was a need for a compilation covering these unknown years. Unfortunately, this 18-track disc is imperfect. Since there were no hits from The Knife Feels Like Justice and Live Nude Guitars, the compilation need to be baited with familiar tunes, hence the presence of good single edits of "(She's) Sexy and 17" and "Rock This Town." That wouldn't be a problem if this combined highlights of the Stray Cats and solo years, which would be a really good disc. Instead, this is a hodgepodge, containing highlights, rarities, outtakes, and live tracks, all assembled with no consideration for chronology or listenability. That's too bad, because there's good stuff here, in the album tracks and outtakes (including a version of "Summertime Blues," plus unreleased cuts like "Echo Park" and "Waiting for Desiree"). It can't even be seen as an overview of his forgotten years, since it has a bit too much Stray Cats material and unreleased recordings to be representative. Of course, those rarities will be of considerable interest to hardcore fans, and there's enough to make it worth their while. But anyone hoping that The Brian Setzer Collection: 81-88 will be a one-stop summary of Setzer's pre-orchestra solo recordings will likely not be satisfied.

Product Details

Release Date:
04/10/2000
Label:
Emi Europe Generic
UPC:
0724352253821
catalogNumber:
5225382
Rank:
84620

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