DIRTYBGI.jpg (44263 bytes)"The Dirty Boogie" (Nothing/Interscope; 1998)

Reviewed by James DeRuvo

Disneyland has a new ride this year called ROCKET RODS: an "E-ticket" ride that blasts you around the newly refurbished Tomorrow Land. You hold on for dear life, lovin' every second, and when you're through, you wonder, "What the hell was that?! I've gotta do it again!" This is essence of "The Dirty Boogie" by the Brian Setzer Orchestra. Making worlds collide by combining the 50s style Rockabilly sound the former Stray Cat is famous for with the massive horn heavy swing of big band, Setzer has created what some may see as the definitive cool croon of the year.

"Jump Jive and Wail" launches the disk into orbit right off the bat. The tune is a classic sock-hop romp fresh out of a 40's time warp and it cooks. If there was ever a classic driving tune for a quirky car chase, this is it.

Other tunes include a solid instrumental cover of Richie Valens' "Sleepwalk," which can only be seen as a tribute to the cool guitar songs of the era. Changing pace for a cover of the Platter's "Since I Don't Have You" which brings to mind a smokey Vegas lounge show made famous by the likes of Sinatra and Martin with a fabulous big band backdrop. The title track is a fun loving romp which makes you wish you were watching Setzer live. "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" speaks directly to his Stray Cat roots, while the sexy "Hollywood Nocturne" brings to mind dozens of old black-and-white classics which are the essence of film noir. "This Old House," "Let's Live it Up," "Nosey Joe" and "As Long as I'm Singing" (which would be a great opener for the band's concert tour) round out the disc and are just plain fun to listen to.

Setzer even covers his own "Rock This Town" so well that one has to replay the old Stray Cats disk "BUILT FOR SPEED" to remember what it originally sounded like.

Setzer has done much since he parted from the Stray Cats (he did reunite with them recently at the House of Blues), such as performing solo works and working on several motion picture soundtracks, but the "Dirty Boogie" is Setzer at his best and delivering what fans old, and new, have come to love.

Although this isn't hard rock/heavy metal material, the hard driving effort by Brian Setzer will clean the palette and even make you a fan. And, hey, the guitars are still loud.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Revised: 17 May 2021 21:46:23 -0400 .