Brian Setzer ‘Rockabilly Riot Live’ – album reviewBrian Setzer ‘Rockabilly Riot Live’ – album review

Brian Setzer ‘Rockabilly Riot Live’ (Membran / Surfdog)
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I have an old cassette tape of The Stray Cat’s live in Tokyo that I ripped off of a VHS tape years ago. I still play it all the time. It’s still brilliant. It’s a rough, raw, powerful and energetic live on Memorex listening experience; still a favourite after all of these years and yes my car still has a tape deck.

Well, I am pleased to report that Setzer has still got it! Although not as energetic, this album will surely get the same amount of play for years to come, I predict. It might be on my MP3 player or computer though. I don’t have a tape deck to record with! That’s how hip and modern I am, eh! Anyway, when I got this album from the label for review, I stayed up way too late listening to it, going on Youtube and watching old Stray Cats videos, and Setzer Orchestra videos, videos from the tour these recordings were made on, some of Brian Setzer doing guitar instruction. Just so much good music has been made by this man. He’s still a guitar master, he’s still got one of the coolest voices around, and he’s keeping classic American rock and roll, rockabilly, R and B, and country music alive. I give him full credit and admiration for that! Someone has to do it, and Setzer does a fine job of it.

From the Rockabilly Riot Tour “Fishnet Stockings”


This has been assembled from recordings made while tramping all over the planet on his Rockabilly Riot tour over the course of 4 years. As the story goes, an “on fire” (??) boogie-woogie piano, two slap basses and two drummers,including Slim Jim Phantom,backs Setzer up. Oh, if only Lee Rocker would have shown up!! BLISS!So, this is a bit more beefed up than the Stray Cats were, but much more pared down than the Setzer Orchestra. It’s a nice happy medium. Now, I have to say, this doesn’t have the same level of energy that the Tokyo album had, but you know what? That was 22 years ago! I know I don’t have the energy I had 22 years ago! Setzer is 53 years old! He doesn’t look it, and doesn’t sound it. But, you know, age does have an effect. So, yes, there is a notable difference in the energy level after two decades, but that can be forgiven.

This album features so many great songs! “Blue Moon of Kentucky” written by the late, great Bluegrass inventor Bill Monroe. “Rumble in Brighton” and “Runaway Boys” are arguably two of the Stray Cats finest songs. “Folsom Prison Blues” (although attempts at hitting the low-end Cash notes end poorly) needs no introduction, nor should Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Great Balls of Fire”. Oh man, such a great selection of songs, either from Stray Cat albums, Setzer Orchestra albums, solo albums or covers. It’s essentially a retrospective of all things Setzer, LIVE!

From the Rockabilly Riot Tour “Rumble in Brighton”


It’s just wonderful to listen to a new record (of old stuff) from Brian Setzer. This is just plain ol’ good music, period. It’s simple, it’s catchy, and it’s fun stuff that never goes out of date. Timeless! Legendary! Classic! With each listen, I want to buy a rat rod with some suicide doors, slick my hair back into a duck tail, go down to the soda shop and raise a little hell…by drinking soda. Okay, I’m not overly rebellious, what can I say….Daddy-o!

So, for those collectors out there, Setzer has a limited edition triple-fold colour vinyl….wait, stop the presses! According to his website, all 1000 copies have been sold! Looks like eBay is the place to go! But, you can still get the CD at your favourite record store, and the MP3 version on iTunes and other fine online retailers. Mr. Setzer has a pretty cool little webpage going on with tons of Setzer history to read about, and of course he is on Facebook.

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Deep in the heart of Canada, on the north shore of frigid Lake Superior, is a town called Thunder Bay. That\'s where I am from. That\'s where I started to write. And that is where I started to discover music. Now, I\'m a married man with two boys. I still love music. I still go to shows. And I still visit Thunder Bay, even though I haven\'t lived there for many years. What will you find on my iPod? You\'ll find lot of Americana, classic country, heavy stuff, punk and plenty of “guilty pleasures”.


  1. I saw him in Brixton on this tour & I thought he was fantastic. Great voice, great twangin’ & a top night out. I think the old-Stray Cats- fans who I was with loved it even more. Man’s a legend.


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