Brian Setzer - Rockabilly Riot! Volume One: A Tribute to Sun Records (Cover Artwork)

Brian Setzer

Brian Setzer: Rockabilly Riot! Volume One: A Tribute to Sun RecordsRockabilly Riot! Volume One: A Tribute to Sun Records (2005)

Reviewer Rating: 3.5
User Rating:

Contributed by: JesseJesse
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Everyone remembers "Jump, Jive 'n Wail" and "Rock This Town," right? Yeah, that was Brian Setzer, who single-handedly brought rockabilly and swing into the Top 40 in the `80s and `90s, respectively. He was treated as a novelty act, and most people thought he was just a fleeting fad. And they were r.

Everyone remembers "Jump, Jive 'n Wail" and "Rock This Town," right? Yeah, that was Brian Setzer, who single-handedly brought rockabilly and swing into the Top 40 in the `80s and `90s, respectively. He was treated as a novelty act, and most people thought he was just a fleeting fad. And they were right. Swing music dropped faster from the radio than third-wave ska. And that's saying a lot. But the blonde, pompadoured rocker has been hanging out in Nashville apparently, and has put out an album of twenty-three rockabilly songs from Sun Records. You've got Carl Perkins songs originally performed by Carl Perkins and covered by Brian Setzer, you've got Johnny Cash songs originally performed by Warren Smith and covered by Brian Setzer, you've got Johnny Cash songs originally performed by Johnny Cash and covered by Brian Setzer and you've also got names like Roy Orbison, Billy Lee Rilet, Jack Earls, Elvis Presley, Clara V. Wills, and Gene Simmons (no, not that Gene Simmons) mixed around either in the list of performers or songwriters.

And Brian Setzer plays every one of them.

And that's not always a bad thing.

One thing I hate about cover albums is that I feel it destroys the integrity of the albums that were originally released. Who's to say what song goes with what songs except for the artist? And even then, I don't like Greatest Hits records. But this situation is different. Almost all of these songs were designated as 45 singles. Back in the `50s and early `60s, people wanted to hear that one song from the radio in their own home, and couldn't care less about full albums. And even then, most full-length albums were just a collection of 45 singles. So Brian Setzer re-recording these all doesn't pose a big problem to me.

Simply put, if you dig early rockabilly / early rock'n'roll, you'll totally dig on this.

If you don't dig early rockabilly / early rock'n'roll, you'll get bored of this quickly.

What I most appreciate about this album is the production values. Sure, Brian Setzer has access to the best recording equipment money can buy, but instead he recorded most of it through an old cistern they found out back from the 1800s and used only vintage microphones and amps. Not only did he record the songs with the right equipment, but his drummer actually charted out all the original drum parts, and only used one cymbal, which was the way all the original songs were played. He also made sure that his piano player was "a rockabilly piano playerâ?¦not a blues or honky-tonk manâ?¦but a rockabilly piano player."

I truly appreciate the work and effort that went into this album. This could have been such a horrid mess, but instead Brian Setzer really made this worth hearing. The most famous songs on it would have to be "Blue Suede Shoes," the Carl Perkins version, and, well, I haven't heard of any of the other songs. Oh well. This is a solid release. Go listen to it and see what you think.


People who liked this also liked:
Blackstrap - Steal My Horses and RunAloha - Light WorksVampire Weekend - Vampire WeekendCat Power - JukeboxHex Machine - Run to Earth [12 inch]Akimbo - Navigating the BronzeTin Armor - A Better Place Than I Have BeenThe Makai - The End of All You KnowWarren Ellis - Crooked Little Vein [book]Pretty Boy Thorson & the Falling Angels - Ain't It Funny

Please login or register to post comments.What are the benefits of having a Punknews.org account?
  • Share your opinion by posting comments on the stories that interest you
  • Rate music and bands and help shape the weekly top ten
  • Let Punknews.org use your ratings to help you find bands and albums you might like
  • Customize features on the site to get the news the way you want.
Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (December 24, 2005)

I love this CD because Brian Setzer really gives a shit about this style of music. Vocally, he nailed some of the songs, but trying to "cover" these tunes is almost impossible. There isn't a human on this planet that can capture the raw intensity of a song like "Slow Down" today. Jack Earls and Johnny Cash are 2 artists whose voices drive the music, as opposed to thei other way around. But I give Brian a lot of credit for recognizing the greatness and originality of this short window in music history. Brian nailed 'Red Hot", and overall, I really enjoyed this collection.

Oh yeah, whoever the morons are who mention whatever political convention Brian performed at as a mean to degrade him, are simply idiots and have no credibility. I have never voted Republican in my life, but I could care less if Brian Setzer has. He is one of the few remaining American "originals", and I for one have nothing but respect for him.

lushj (December 2, 2005)

That's rad he does "Flyin Saucers Rock n Roll"- this looks like a pretty decent collection- I'll keep an eye out for a cheap copy.

If you haven't started to dig into rock's early days, here's some more good starting places (in addition to the obvious ones like Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Duane Eddy, Eddie Cochran): Collins Kids, Charlie Feathers, "The Best of Sun Rockabilly" series...

Bonus obscure band: The Treniers, a pre-rock, all-black band who were a missing link between jump blues and early rock and roll- they've got a discography cd out that's gold. Deke Dickerson covered their classic "Poontang" on a recent record, and they have a track "Hey Willie" that features Willie Mays on co-vocals!

P.S.- Saw the Brian Setzer Orchestra multiple times in the early-mid 90s, always a top notch show. Ditto Rev Horton Heat and other rockabilly/swing revivalists. Shame it didn't last- although the once-massive Frisco vintage scene is still going- on life support. Thankfully Deke Dickerson, Big Sandy, and locals like the Barbary Coasters still bring 'em out.

Anonymous (December 2, 2005)

Wow, some people just don't seem to get the point.

Like it or not things that happen in "mainstream" culture affect what goes on in the punk/hardcore/indie/what ever scene. Just because a record doesn't fit your narrow definition of what is "punk", does that mean it should be ignored?

If you really can't open your mind to this, try thinking of it this way; what you're getting here is a "punk's" perspective on a piece of "mainstream" culture (Sorry if you take offence to that term reviewer, but I don't feel like coming up with some blanket term to describe people who tastes/knowledge of music lies outside of what's on the radio/tv, and since you work for punknews....).

Not to say they should start reviewing Toby Keith or G-Unit, but you can't keep pretending that punk rock exists in a vaccuum. And besides, it's not like this is so far removed from punk either. I'm sure a lot of this artists that Setzer covered on this album influenenced bands that most people could lump in with "punk" (IE. Tiger Army).

Anonymous (December 1, 2005)

Because the Hill Bros were busy and the Folger's were using up the last drop

givemeamuseumandillfillit (December 1, 2005)

Yeah, the guy is a republican, you know, there are ACTUAL people who voted for george bush, that's why he won and stuff.

But still, i can't forgive his cameo appearence in nanny. Well, actually i'm just saying that to be cool, since i used to watch the show alot. It was a pisspoor cameo though, that's why i'm pissed.

Why the hell would mr setzer shoot a video in the maxwell house?

Anonymous (December 1, 2005)

Billy Zoom will clean this guy's clock any day and then have time to fix up a scooter. Billy Zoom is born again freak, but 1000x the street cred. Billy was on Rollin' Rock while brian was sucking cock.

bloodbrothersburnpiano (December 1, 2005)

score is for "jump, jive 'n wail"

inagreendase (November 30, 2005)

New Mad Sin?

Coming soon.

Anonymous (November 30, 2005)

So he's a republican. Who gives a shit? Johnny Ramone was a republican. Should we start bashing the Ramones?

Anonymous (November 30, 2005)

A: You're an idiot. B: If someone didn't say that he played at a Republican National Convention, you'd prob be saying how much you love the Stray Cats. Get a fucking life.

Anonymous (November 30, 2005)

Brian Setzer did it all for the free Republican Penis that he gobs on, the penis ran out(Skinhead Rob and Fred Durst stole it from him) so he's doing the album

Anonymous (November 30, 2005)

Psychobilly is the only bastion of punk that has not (yet) been molested by the mainstream.

Anonymous (November 30, 2005)

Fush Yu Mang was a good ska-punk cd and you all know it...

Anonymous (November 30, 2005)

Hillary Duff, Avril Lavigne, whatever. Those cunts are interchangable...

Eat a dick

Jesse (November 30, 2005)

Hillary Duff is the one that's boning Joel Madden. Get your celebrity gossip straight, Jesus Christ.

Anonymous (November 30, 2005)

Excellent review. Setzer is also infamous for writing and singing Stray Cat Blues (based on many earlier rockabilly tunes). I hope Jack Earls is playing on the CD. I saw him at the Vegas Rockabilly convention years ago and he was fantastic.

Anonymous (November 30, 2005)

I think you guys should review Boots Randolph's "Yakety Sax." Billy Joel made a "new wave" album called "Glass Houses" in 1979. How about covering that one. Surely Billy and Boots were big influences on today's punk.

Pink was "down with Tim from Rancid." How about reviewing Pink? Ashley Simpson's involved with that fuck from Good Charlotte, so she should be reviewed on this punk site.

Anonymous (November 30, 2005)

PS--If he did it just for the money, then I'd understand.

Anonymous (November 30, 2005)

Brian Setzer rocked the Republican National Convention?

EWWWWWWWWW... I really wish I didn't know that... that's disgusting.

GreenVandal (November 29, 2005)

I also like how i cant spell. Either way, the people talking shit about this dont know anything about music.

GreenVandal (November 29, 2005)

I like how some children just dont unerstand things. It really amuses me.

Anonymous (November 29, 2005)

Smashmouth might get a review because the the singer was down with Rancid Lars

Anonymous (November 29, 2005)

This tool played the Republican Convention a few years back in San Diego. While I don't agree with Democrats on alot of things, it puts you in a new high of lame to support George Bush Sr and THAT ASS MUNCH DAN QUAYLE.

Anonymous (November 29, 2005)

I am glad to see someone review a Rockabilly record on this site. This is one solid release by Brian Setzer. I absolutley love Rockabilly music and what Brian did was awesome. Exposing people to some of the best Rockabilly music that Sam Phillips recorded and released on his legendary Sun Records label. All in all I think Brian did an excellent job with these songs. To me Punk and Rockabilly is music at it's rawest and they are both in the same wave lenght. If you want to check out some cool Rockabilly artists from the 50s I highly suggest:

1. Wanda Jackson- She's got a lot of attitude and was one of the first female artists to play Rockabilly.

2. Eddie Cochran- Let's put it this way Elvis was once scared that Eddie would steal his spot light. Eddie had style and was Punk Rock way before there was Punk. Check out his song "Jeanie, Jeanie, Jeanie" fucking incredible.

3. Billy Lee Riley- Man did he rock. One of the finest on Sun Records. Wild Rock N Roll straight out.

4.Janis Martin- Lets just say that she was called "The Femal Elvis" enough said.

5. The Sparkletons- Everyone in this band were all under the age of 20 and they rocked just the like older guys did only better.

Anonymous (November 29, 2005)

The New Mad Sin album is really good.

GreenVandal (November 29, 2005)

"WHY THE FUCK IS THIS UTTER SHIT REVIEWED ON HERE? What's next, Smashmouth? Journey?


There is a special place in hell reserved for stupid fucks like you.

Just sayin.

Anonymous (November 29, 2005)

This site needs more Psychobilly reviews. Besides the Hellcat Trio. (Tiger Army, Nekromantix, Horrorpops) New Mad Sin? New Demented Are Go?

givemeamuseumandillfillit (November 29, 2005)

I lost the respect i had for him when he did a cameo on that nanny show, you know, with that jewish franny fine chick with that totally annoying voice.

Jesse (November 29, 2005)

This is reviewed on here because it was sent in to Brian to be reviewed, then he sent it out to me to review it.

Anonymous (November 29, 2005)



Anonymous (November 29, 2005)

Score is for the Christmas albums. Keep 'em comin'

Anonymous (November 29, 2005)

"and Gene Simmons (no, not that Gene Simmons)"

Did you mean Gene Vincent?

tylerdurden8136 (November 29, 2005)

this is actually really, really good.

Anonymous (November 29, 2005)

Don't really like this one. It's pretty redundant, even though most of these tracks are awesome. If you get one of his "solo" albums be sure to get "Ignition". It's a lot more diverse.

I'd like to thank Brian Setzer for raising my interest in Gene Vincent and Eddie Cochran. Do yourself a favour and get yourself a budget compilation of both of them.

And I hope they're going to do another Stray Cats reunion tour. It rocked hard.

superdude (November 29, 2005)

This review was pretty good, but here's how I would make it better:

1. Excuse me, the Gap invented swing. Thanks.

2. Doesn't that guy know that rockabilly is only cool on Halloween?

3. There's this rockabilly guy I knows who always brings his on beer to the bar.

Anonymous (November 29, 2005)

Considering everybody ripped off the Stray Cats *cough* Green Day * cough* give this man a little respect.

joeg (November 29, 2005)

haha, i remember swing skyrocketing in 98 than crash and burn in the same year as limp bizkit and korn took over.

Godfather (November 29, 2005)

score is for Jump, Jive 'n Wail

gladimnotemo (November 29, 2005)

I went through a long couple months where I listened to the Stray Cats exclusively. It's good stuff, but his swing stuff was really agitating in hindsight. I would trust Setzer to do something like this really well, though.

Exclusive Streams

Newest Reviews

Punknews.org Team

Managing Editor

Adam White

Contributing Editors

Kira Wisniewski Brittany Strummer Armando Olivas John Flynn Chris Moran John Gentile Mark Little

Copy Editor

Adam Eisenberg Britt Reiser

Podcast Producer

Greg Simpson


Aubin Paul

ISSN 1710-5366

© Copyright 1999-2013 Punknews.org

Terms of Use Privacy Policy Contact Us About Punknews.org

Other Places to Go