The Stray Cats self-titled album was originally issued in the U.S. in 1982 and in the U.K. in 1980. 12 tunes of punk rock-inspired rockabilly/roots rock on Arista Records. Lead singer/guitarist Brian Setzer has had a great amount of success after Stray Cats as a solo vocalist/guitarist for his own swing-styled orchestra.
Personnel: Gary Barnacle (saxophone).
Recording information: Eden, London, England; Jam Studio, London, England; Jam Studios, London, England.
Editors: Hein Hoven; Aldo Bocca.
Photographers: Toshi Yajima; Chalkie Davies; Gavin Cochrane; Chris Gabrin.
Unknown Contributor Roles: Lee Rocker; Slim Jim Phantom.
Stray Cats debut album came hot on the heels of the two hit singles "Runaway Boys" and "Rock This Town," both energy filled rockabilly songs that hearkened back to the 1950s era of pure rock & roll with an updated, clean '80s sound highlighted by the prominent double bass playing of Lee Rocker and drumming of Slim Jim Phantom. The Stray Cats had more depth than pure rockabilly, as shown on the out and out rock & roll tracks "Fishnet Stockings," "Double Talkin Baby," and "Jeanie, Jeanie, Jeanie" (a facsimile of "Summertime Blues"), and the sleazy third single "Stray Cat Strut," perfectly evocative of a night out on the tiles. "Storm the Embassy," a song about the Iranian hostage situation than ran throughout 1980, would not have sounded out of place performed by the Clash, and "Ubangi Stomp" bore more than a passing resemblance to another musical craze of the early '80s: ska as performed by Madness or any of the 2 Tone stable of acts. This album was by far their most successful, hitting number six in the charts and their only entry into the Top 40. It was never released in the U.S., but five tracks, the three singles, plus "Rumble in Brighton" and "Jeanie Jeanie Jeanie" were amalgamated with tracks from the follow-up, Gonna Ball and appeared on the U.S. compilation Built for Speed. ~ Sharon Mawer