King of Rockabilly, Brian Setzer, releases his third solo album and MetalTalk asked Robert Adams to get out his drainpipes and suede shoes to give you the lowdown.
Brian Setzer – Gotta Have The Rumble (Surfdog / Mascot)
Release Date: 27 August 2021
Words: Robert Adams
Known mainly as the frontman of ’80s rockabilly titans The Stray Cats, Brian Setzer has absolutely NOTHING to prove when it comes to good time rock ‘n’ roll guitar playing.
The guy is in a league of his own. Imagine my surprise when I played the album, and it turned out to be a technical Death Metal album!!
Yeah, as if!! Actually, Gotta Have The Rumble is EXACTLY what you would expect it to be – ten prime slices of rockabilly joy with one slight deviation to that remit, which we’ll get to later.
Genre mixing isn’t as insane as you might imagine when it comes to Mr Setzer. On his first solo album, 1986’s The Knife Feels Like Justice, Setzer strayed away from the rockabilly sound that made his name and created a marvellous Americana inspired album. Thereafter though, his releases have been rockabilly or swing infused.
I had the privilege of witnessing the man at Shepherd’s Bush Empire when he was leading The Brian Setzer Orchestra, complete with insanely talented horns and a quite glorious journey back in time to the big band swing era.
That was then. What about Gotta Have The Rumble?
Album opener and first single Checkered Flag leaves us in no doubt of what’s in store for us. That instantly recognisable reverb dripped guitar sound with a pulsing backbeat and slapped upright bass put us firmly back in time.
It’s a glorious slice of rockabilly, and there’s a wonderful animated video that accompanies this track. Stack My Money tells a tale as old as time. Working a low paid job where saving is impossible, and it’s set to a glorious tune that is very reminiscent of The Stray Cats, but that is no bad thing.
The one track markedly different from the rest of the album is the album closer, Rockabilly Hillbilly. This is Brian Setzer having fun with a stomping country song. Think country mixed with rockabilly, and you get… I’ll leave that genre classification up to you.
You may be wondering why MetalTalk are reviewing a rockabilly album? It’s really simple – if rock’n’roll didn’t exist, Metal wouldn’t exist. Brian Setzer is the undisputed king of rockabilly, and with Gotta Have The Rumble, he’s cemented his position at the very top of his craft.
Gotta Have The Rumble
Smash Up On Highway One
Stack My Money
The Wrong Side Of The Tracks
The Cat With 9 Wives
Turn You On, Turn Me On
Off Your Rocker
One Bad Habit