Although a rather old-fashioned genre of music, Rockabilly has had many decent moments in its history as a subgenre of guitar-based Rock music. The Stray Cats spearheaded a retro Rockabilly revival that caught the attention of many listeners looking for something new that was on an older music basis. Let’s hear a slice of history with this compilation, which should be a very interesting listening experience.
We begin with Rock This Town which begins with clear, jangly guitars that sound great. It is an excellent sounding piece that definitely sounds inspired by the music of the 1950s. It is an excellent song that still sounds as good today as it would have decades ago. It is inspired, awesome and lively listening, with an energetic and passionate Pop/Rock performance that is quite mindblowing in terms of its appeal. The guitar playing throughout is very frenetic and sounds awesomely brilliant. It is very singalong as well, a very good example of music from an era long gone. Excellent.
Next along is Baby Blue Eyes which is a slower piece with strummed acoustics, clear and clean electric guitar riffing and a retro feel that sounds like the song could have been played in many bars and taverns in older times. A really cool piece of music, this is awe inspiring and great. This is a great compilation to inspire young men and women to pick up the guitar eternally. A fun and fresh sounding piece, even today, that is very good to dance to with your partner. Really cool music, this sounds really top and is singalong in nature. Short at less than three minutes long, but definitely worth it.
Runaway Boys has a booming bassline, a great rhythm section and some awesome electric guitars with some whammy bar work here. This is about young people’s dramas and running away from home. It is a really catchy and crazily good listen. Who needs 10 minute long guitar solos when you have short songs such as these? This is a really excellent piece of music that is short, descriptive and interesting listen, with a killer guitar solo. Really fine listening, with a great lyrical journey throughout. Interesting listening from start to finish.
Jeannie, Jeannie, Jeannie is a slower and more passionately delivered song, especially vocally. It is an awesome and cool piece of short music that is good for young couples to swing to. It sounds really cool, clever and different to this day, and is very uplifting. A great guitar solo emerges in the middle, and this definitely keeps a strong and melodic pace throughout. Catchy, and very brilliantly innocent and wonderful. Good tune.
Next along is Stray Cat Strut which is a slower piece that sounds super 1950s and groovy. It has some wonderful harmonies, a slow melody and a grooving bassline. It is a simple piece that is a signature tune for the group, and it sounds lyrically interesting and musically top. Some quirky guitar parts are really infectious on this song, and this is a really awesome and appealing listen. There is a pseudo-Jazz feel to this Pop/Rock excellence, which is superbly delivered. Great and cool piece, you’ll need real dark Rayban sunglasses for this one. Excellent.
Following is Built For Speed which is joyous and upbeat, with strummed acoustic guitars and clean guitar work. This, obviously is about a very nice car that one owns. Very old fashioned, once again, but such an undeniably cool song and this song just sounds irresistably fun and great to listen to. The guitar solo here is very cool, and old fashioned sounding. Interesting listen here, it just sounds top and fun. A very unique and fun listen these days, the Stray Cats do impress. Great track.
Wasn’t That Good has some awesome saxophone over the top of another classic song by the Stray Cats that sounds really cool. It’s a song of young lust and just sounds really awesome. It has some rather dirty lyrics and some further impressive guitar work, plus a gorgeous saxophone solo. A very golden oldie, this is exactly what one needs from time to time as a retro listening experience. Short and sweet, a very nice piece of music.
Rumble In Brighton begins with a racing pace, basic guitar melodies and a sense that chaos is about to ensue musically. It is another classy and great piece by the Stray Cats that really does sound amazing. It is mostly an instrumental effort, but the lyrics here paint a picture of a night out in a chaotic environment. The guitar work here is very good, with plenty of more whammy bar work that is cool. A strange tune, but a lively one, this is really top. Interesting tale of nighttime events, good to hear.
After that is Double Talkin’ Baby which begins with some interesting guitar parts, a super fast tune and a powerful statement that doesn’t sound overly heavy or crushing, it’s just nicely delivered and sounds very much like a collection of old tunes that are still worth hearing today, for sure. A really top listen, this sounds incredibly good. Refreshingly different, the guitar solo is fast, frenetic and wild. This is proof you don’t need to be a Thrash Metal player to impress a crowd, the Stray Cats do very nicely at guitar work. Very much a musically accomplished tune, this is impressive. Good job.
Following is I Won’t Stand In Your Way which begins with a ridiculously good vocal that sounds really excellent. It is a sort of 1950s take on a male Soul band sort of thing. It is an interesting lone vocal piece that sounds really gold, something that has been largely forgotten over time. A really awesome and well delivered piece of different music that is still worth hearing today, if you dig a solo vocal performance that sounds really killer. Very different, but welcome on this compilation. Very cool, worth a listen for history’s sake.
Little Miss Prissy goes back to Rock territory, with some rather crunchy guitar parts that sound different. It’s a short and not-so-good tune that just doesn’t sound as well constructed to one’s ears, especially as it has some slide guitar here as well, which is a bit weird sounding. An okay tune, but could have been bettered. In any case, it is okay, but not the best tune from this compilation. A good listen, but not a great one.
Storm the Embassy is no doubt a political song, referring to the Iran hostage situation at the dawn of the 1980s. It begins with some Dead Kennedys pseudo-Punk guitar parts, before going into a very serious sounding piece. It is not a happy listen, and although it is a political song, it is a good listen and a reminder of the fragility of being taken hostage by a foreign power. Sadly, political atrocities occur frequently around the world today, and this a clear reminder of what political abuse can do. Evil people and evil minds frequently become involved in power globally, only to kill innocent people. This song is a reminder of that, and it is a very sobering listen. Good song on the matter.
Next along is Fishnet Stockings is about the sexually indicative women’s wear, worn by a lover. It’s an interesting listen and just sounds really fun and fresh to hear. Great stuff throughout, it is a rather humourous piece that isn’t overly explicit, it’s just silly sounding. The guitar solo here is very awesome, and just sounds really cool. The chops on guitar work is excellent throughout all these songs. Quite a funny listen, too.
Following is Wild Saxophone which begins with a cool drumbeat, double bass and some very minimal and catchy saxophone, followed by electric guitars. A really cool listen, and a very memorable listening experience. The piece does rely a lot on the saxophone itself, but is an old time boogie piece that sounds really terrific. It has a mid guitar position solo which battles it out with the saxophone, and it is another good tune nonetheless. Very different, and another solid piece of music to listen to. Classy and elegant.
18 Miles To Memphis begins with some semi-Country guitars, although this is the Stray Cats, not a Country group playing. It has a simple and humourous set of lyrics that are definitely worth hearing. A really cool and energetic piece of music that just sounds lively, with a “rocket in my pocket” sung about on this song. It is a definitely quirky and parody styled number about travelling throughout the USA and looking for some fun. Funny and different.
My One Desire is a different sounding piece that sounds a lot like the Stray Cats version of Green Onions which is really unusual. It’s more tales of young love/lust that sounds old school and classy. For those who have experienced young romance, this is for you, if you prefer older styled music. A really good listen, once again, this sounds really nice listening for being with a lover. A very well played guitar solo is here, and lyrics about making up for lost time are here. Nice, slower sounding tune.
Following is Wicked Whisky which is a faster tune, with some rather naff guitar sounds that don’t sound as good as they could. It’s an instrumental that really probably could have been dropped from this compilation as it is a bit of an odd moment. Still, it is okay, just not phenomenal. The double bass here in the second half of this piece is good, but otherwise, this is not really necessary. It ends quickly with a touch of guitar feedback.
Next up is You Don’t Believe Me which has some more slide guitar, this time a lot better sounding though. It launches into a song about young man’s problems with a lover. Very good and classic Pop/Rock music for those who never listen to anything after the dawn of the time of The Beatles, this is suitable for you. A quirky and fairly Country/Rockabilly listen with a slide guitar solo, this is definitely different. Good to listen to, it is very different to hear this rather leftfield piece by the group. It fades out at the end, with the singing refrain repeating
Cryin’ Shame which begins with an interesting intro that is syncopated, launching into a very Blues style number with harmonica and great playing by the group. It is a really cool piece about the regrettable idea of ditching a lover. It sounds very decent and clever, and this is a good piece of music that many broken relationships can remind one of such an instance. The guitar playing and particularly the guitar solo here is really hot on fire. A good piece of music that still sounds fresh and with purpose today, great to hear.
Gonna Ball is a more straightforward piece that sounds really cool. It is a more typical number from the Stray Cats with some excellent and passionate singing. It sounds really cool and very well performed by the group, just sounding really extraordinarily cool. A good piece of music, even if it does like a fairly standard Stray Cats tune at times. Quick and quirky, this is another fun listen regardless. Good and passionate performance all the same, especially vocally.
Next along is Ubangi Stomp begins with some weird drums, chanting and goes into a semi-Reggae sounding piece. It is definitely an oddity in the back catalogue of the Stray Cats, and is a little too weird for the Stray Cats, to be honest. It does retain that sense of youthfulness and innonence about their work, but it is difficult to know what to think about this particular piece. It’s just odd. Very strange indeed.
Following is Crazy Mixed Up Kid which begins with some percussion, double bass playing and some guitar parts that leave a rather ordinary impression on the listener. It is quite fast and furious, however, which is good. Another mainly instrumental piece on this compilation, this is more a work in guitar soloing than anything else, although singing eventually emerges, however briefly. This could have been dropped, no need for this one on this compilation. The outro is awful.
Rev It Up And Go is the last song on this compilation. It sounds a bit more like classic Stray Cats, rather than some of the more experimental pieces of music on this compilation. It has a good piano part in the background, and key changes throughout. A decent listen, this is a nice point to finish this compilation. It has some good guitar work, once again. Very interesting and refreshing, it sounds like a good piece about one’s first car or something similar. Nice work.
This is a decent retrospective compilation by the Stray Cats. As with many compilations, there are some pieces of the band’s history which honestly are fairly regrettable. Despite that, this is an overall enjoyable and historic listen. For fans of very old fashioned music that is updated to some extent, this should be a natural fit for you. It is decent music before the digital age, so seek it out if you wish to do so.
If you liked the article and would like to support the author in his musical review quest, please donate to show your support. Thank you for your consideration. Chris Airey