Surfin' Lungs "Cowabunga" 1985
5 hours ago
Review by Thom Jurek AMG
Say what you want about Brian Setzer and his cool retro-swing, but the man can not only play the hell out of a guitar, he can lead a big band like a pro, singing and playing sure, but he can write charts too. This set is rather ingenious. It contains two discs chock-full of the tunes that the Brian Setzer Orchestra has become (in)famous for.
Disc one is a show from the band's first tour, and disc two is live in Japan after all the hoopla and success in 2003. There are no overdubs or edits of any kind on either set. One gets both the raw and refined here, popping through the years. The first disc includes 15 goners, including "James Bond Theme," "Brand New Cadillac," "Good Rockin' Daddy," "That Mellow Saxophone," "Ghost Radio," "Route 66," "Rumble in Brighton," and "Rock This Town."
The way Setzer's guitar screams here is the sound fans were dying to hear on the studio records. Disc two has swaggering background vocalists and slicker arrangements, but there's no dearth of pure finger-poppin' rock here either. There's "Mystery Rain," "Hawaii Five-O," "Jump, Jive an' Wail," "Stray Cat Strut," "Caravan," "Gene & Eddie," "Sleepwalk," and a slew more. In all, this is a deeply satisfying collection capable of covering the "best-of" needs and giving punters who haven't experienced Setzer an opportunity to hear the excitement jumping out of the grooves his band cuts.