365 Days of Album Recommendations – Feb 16

Stray Cats – Built for Speed

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I heard Rumble In Brighton Tonight on the ol’ car radio today (thank you college radio!), and was reminded of just how much I LOVED this album when it was first released. Had I already heard the first two UK releases when it came out? Nope. Had I fallen for the record before I saw the Rock This Town video? Yep.

So I was half cool.

Stray Cat Strut was what did it for me. The guitar tone was just too much. I was a kid still, but I was a good kid. I knew who Cliff Gallup was. But he was might as well have been a broken hero in a Louis L’Amour novel, he was that unreal. But here was Brian Setzer, a skinny white kid from Long Island of all places, soundin’ like THAT. I was hooked.

I loved Stray Cat Strut. I loved Rumble In Brighton Tonight. Runaway Boys too, even Lonely Summer Nights. I was raised on the American Graffiti soundtrack. I understood this music.

I understand now that there were and are better modern rockabilly bands. And I understand that The Stray Cats were ultimately trapped in a musical riddle that can’t be answered. But for a brief and beautiful time, this was the soundtrack to my American life.


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