Okay, I confess. Somehow this one slid in under the radar. Released in late summer, it features Setzer back in a trio setting, basically just cutting loose, guitar-wise and vocally. And let’s face it, any album that has him playing this much guitar should be brought to the attention of players everywhere.
The band (named after Elvis’ television special) has the same setup that catapulted Setzer to stardom in the ’80s; guitar, bass, and drums. You’d assume that mean rockabilly, and you’d be right. Cuts like “Blue Café,” “Hot Rod Girl,” and “(The Legend of) Johnny Kool (Part 2)” give Setzer ample room to show off his chops. In fact, the chord workout in “Hot Rod Girl” is a jaw-dropper.
And there’s lots more here. A streak of country runs through some cuts. “5 Years, 4 Months, 3 Days” is basically a re-write of the Dave Dudley classic “Six Days On the Road.” Setzer’s baritone guitar solo and cutting fills propel this one. “8-Track” is a monster of a truckers song that features an unbelievable chord solo, a killer single-line solo, and… yodeling. No, really. And, it cooks. “59” harkens back to his Knife Feels Like Justice days with a rockin’ beat and imaginative solo. The ballad “Dreamsville” lets Brian show off some chops and sounds that are… well, dreamy. Wrapping up the album is a take on “Malaguena.” About all I can say is, “Yikes!” It’s a tour de force.
I’ve always thought Setzer was one of the truly great guitar players of his generation. And after hearing this one, I don’t doubt that a bit. Grow those sideburns, grab your leathers, and pick up this one. Excellent album, brilliant player.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s March ’02 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.