Stray Cats - Rocked This Town: From LA to London

by Kevin Wierzbicki

The Stray Cats have always put on a fantastic live show and they've released numerous live albums in the past; now here's another surefire fan-pleaser that was recorded in 2019 during the trio's 40th anniversary tour. As the album title indicates, the generous 23-track set presented here was recorded at various stops along the tour route.

The riotous rockabilly fantasy of "Cat Fight (Over a Dog like Me)" gets things started and more street action comes with the playing of the twang-fest hit "Runaway Boys." Big hit "Stray Cat Strut," performed with a slightly different cadence from the studio version, includes an urging to Lee Rocker from singer Brian Setzer to "slap that bass!" There's a minimum of crowd noise left in the mix throughout the album but the audience can clearly be heard going nuts as "Stray Cat Strut" rocks out.

Lesser-famous cut "Mean Pickin' Mama," where Setzer hiccups a few vocals, "Gene & Eddie," the Cats' tribute to early rockers Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent, and instrumental "Cannonball Rag," with Setzer doing a little chicken pickin' on the country cut, fill out the middle of the set. Setzer dedicates another instrumental, the surf rockin' "Misirlou," to the song's most popular interpreter, Dick Dale. Rocker takes vocals on "When Nothing's Going Right" and the show finishes up with a strong second half that includes "(She's) Sexy + 17," the manic "Blast Off," "Fishnet Stockings" and signature tune "Rock This Town."

"Rumble in Brighton" closes this very satisfying set that's a nice live look at Stray Cats 40-years on, the next best thing to being there. CD fans note, cut "My One Desire" is only included on the vinyl and digital versions.

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