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Wasn't That Good?
May 12, 2008 1:27 AM   Subscribe

Bop Bop a Doo Bop. Please Give Me Something. Mellow Saxophone. Let's Have a Ball. Ubangi Stomp. Jeannie, Jeannie, Jeannie. Be Bop a Lula. My One Desire. Wasn't That Good. What do these songs, of varying levels of obscurity and fame, have in common? The Stray Cats. In order: Fishnet Stockings. Crawl Up and Die. Wild Saxophone. Gonna Ball. Ubangi Stomp. Jeanie Jeanie Jeanie. Be Bop a Lula. My One Desire. Wasn't That Good. Thirty years since they formed, the Cats' farewell tour begins in August.
posted by andihazelwood (9 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
What do these songs, of varying levels of obscurity and fame, have in common?

They all had more soul, spirit, personality and mojo than the Stray Cats could muster?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:11 AM on May 12, 2008


flapjax -- I did a gig with the Stray Cats in the early 80s, way before they were famous (actually, they were called the Top Cats then, and had a different bass player. Tiny NYC club. Might have been their first Manhattan gig (though Setzer played CBs with his old band a lot). Six people in the audience. I mean, nobody there. Setzer tore the place apart for us and the bartender. They not only played a long, absolutely smokin' set, Setzer and his girlfriend danced my whole band's set -- proper fifties dancing, not this new wave stuff. If you had seen this unknown band burning this noplace club up that night, I'm sure you would amend your "soul, spirit and personality" judgement. Because that's exactly what they had (so did a lot of other great bands, like Buzz and the Flyers, and the Kingpins back in those early rockabilly revival days). (Some of Setzer's best stuff can be found on his rockabilly and non-rockabilly solo albums done between the Stray Cats and the Brian Setzer Orchestra. Check out "Rebelline" and "The Rain Washed Everything Away," a song worthy of Smokey Robinson.)
posted by Faze at 4:52 AM on May 12, 2008 [3 favorites]


Personally, I prefer the Brian Setzer orchestra.
It sounds more...orchestrated.
posted by Balisong at 6:31 AM on May 12, 2008


Thanks for that comment, Faze.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:42 AM on May 12, 2008


Some of Setzer's best stuff can be found on his rockabilly and non-rockabilly solo albums done between the Stray Cats and the Brian Setzer Orchestra

Agreed. His The Knife Feels Like Justice is a fine straight ahead rock and roll album. 'Bobby's Back,' 'Radiation Ranch,' and the title track are all really good. If he had continued in this vein instead of becoming a one-man Sha Na Na, the world of music would've been much better off.
posted by jonmc at 8:36 AM on May 12, 2008


Talk about completely and totally misjudging your audience. Well, I enjoyed spending the day researching the lineage of the songs and crafting the post, because I love the music - both the originals and the reworkings. I think The Knife Feels Like Justice and Live Nude Guitars were well crafted, the Orchestra stuff is fantastic, and the more recent rockabilly records are fun... but they all sound like the work of an extremely talented and experienced world class guitarist - they lack the youthful passion, fire and punk rock sensibility (I didn't say punk rock, I said punk rock sensibility) of the Cats' early stuff.

A little over ten years ago I had an opportunity to spend the evening sitting at a table in a club with Brian Setzer and his wife at the time, watching my hometown's favorite rockabilly band play. Setzer sat in with them on several numbers, danced with me for a couple numbers, and was very kind and friendly to every person that came up and spoke to him, even the drunk, annoying people.

Towards the end of the evening when the club had emptied he was still hollering for the band, calling out requests, and taking off his t-shirt and fanning them to tell them they were on fire. They played one of the best shows I'd ever seen them do. We all stayed till the club kicked us out.

Say what you want, the guy is truly in love with rockabilly music.
posted by andihazelwood at 2:02 PM on May 12, 2008


I love all these songs, and am a big Setzer fan, but I think John Prine's version of Ubangi Stomp (on his Pink Cadillac album) rules.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 3:00 PM on May 12, 2008


I'm not a rockabilly fan, so it's odd that I need to point out just how good the Stray Cats could be. This is as close to "loud fast rules" as one could get on pop radio in the U.S. in the early '80s.
posted by ferdydurke at 3:19 PM on May 12, 2008


Setzer rocks.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:39 PM on May 12, 2008


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