The Devil Always Collects by Brian Setzer
Released on 15/09/2023 by Surfdog Records Reviewed on 24/09/2023 Reviewed by Holger E @radioteddyboys1983
I don’t think anybody here needs to know more than: This is Brian Setzer. The one and only who awakened the Rockabilly Scene with The Stray Cats back in the 80’s and captured lots and lots of teenage hearts and souls with his music.
Track by Track: 1.: Rock Boys Rock: Dance, Swing and Jive. Nice up-beat track with the finger picking goodness we all know from Brian Setzer. Cool rollin’ Drums that move like an old Train (solid, steady and powerful). The Slap-Bass is kept in the background, so as not to overpower the track. Using female vocals as backing vocals work just a treat. That is one way to talk or sing about your girl.
2.: The Devil Always Collects: This twangy and reverb loaded Guitar is on the attack mode. Right from the start the fretboard is burning like hell. Punchy hammering Drums to drive this track fast forward, like a car chase. The Slap-Bass is playing right into Brian's Guitar riffs, which gives it a fatter sound. Using the female backing vocals to underline the fact that there always is a devil.
3.: Girl On The Billboard: Using more rock and roots influence on a fast tempo track. The E-Bass is dancing like mad just slightly behind Brian’s Guitar. The Drum’s are fast and sounding a bit like Country. Nice blend of reverb and twangy Guitar that rocks the riffs from the 50’s. To me the overall feel is 50’s caught up with the 70’s.
4.: The Living Dead: Slow heavy Blues stricken song. This could turn into a BSO track. Full harmonic and melodic backing Vocals. Rocking but jazzy Drums pushing through and there is no stopping it. The sad and slow sound Bass is filling out the song like the fog on a misty day. Taking a break half way with an awesome Setzer solo brings you back to the full blown melodic backing vocals. He definitely knows how to tell a story.
5.: What’ll It Be Baby Doll: Here it comes: Rockabilly nice solid and up-tempo. Twangy reverb riffs and solos on his 1959 Gretsch that we all love. Drums that just want to go back to the Sun-Record sessions. Here you can’t miss the Slap-Bass that is dancing up and down the Fretboard like the flames on his Ford Hot Rod.
6.: Black Leather Jacket: "Black Leather Jacket" is indeed a standout track from Brian Setzer. The mention of a catchy uptempo banger with a great chord progression and an impressive guitar solo suggests that Setzer continues to showcase his musical prowess and creativity in this song. His ability to blend melodic elements with intricate guitar work has been a hallmark of his style, and it's clear that "Black Leather Jacket" is no exception.
7.: She’s Got A Lotta...Soul: This has to be the most Soul, Blues and Rock influenced track on the album. Soft sounding Brass section tying into the BSO concept. Grooved together with a rumbling Bass and clear full controlled Drums with the occasional Guitar solo. Beautiful backing vocals full of soul finishing the track nicely. This is a new take of Soul/Rockabilly.
8.: Play The Fast Thing (One More Time):Diggin’ a bit more into the Country Boogie Woogie style with a great piano that lingers around throughout the track. Drums that turn from a soft shuffle to Cymbal smashing whirlwind. Easy going Bass that gives the track nice volume. And not to forget Brian’s genius guitar ability in mixing different styles in just one riff.
9.: A Dude’ll Do (What A Dude’ll Do): This Dude’ll Do some awesome solo as a track intro. Going back to a slower Rockabilly style. Slapping its way into the track, the Slap-Bass is pushing and dancing forward. It ‘ll do. Jazzy Drums that just have fun and are nice to listen to. Last but not least is the famous man that’ll do more than fine on his Guitar. Will it do?
10.: Psycho Suzie: Picking up the pace. This is a fast-tempo track that is showing Brian’s Guitar skills, ability and genius idea’s (maybe with Suzie). Lots and lots from wonderful Snare Drum and TomTom’s with a Kick Drum to match with an awesome beat. The rhythm is infectious and will move your hip’s. Hammering Slap-Bass to complete this track with it’s low down and fast slapping. Modern Rockabilly that reminds me of a different Band.
11.: One Particular Chick: "One Particular Chick" is a song with a musical style reminiscent of "Stray Cat Strut" and serves as the closing track on an album. The description of a smooth and steady conclusion with finger-clicks evokes a sense of sophistication and perhaps a jazzy or cool atmosphere. This kind of decision by the artist is taken to leave a lasting impression and create a cohesive, satisfying end to the album. This track is tying together all elements of various musical styles from the album.
Summary: Brian Setzer aims to provide a fun and upbeat musical experience without necessarily focusing on a specific dramatic concept. The album seems to be designed to make people dance and escape from the challenges or stresses in their lives by embracing the rhythm and energy of the music. Brian Setzer's exceptional guitar skills and vocals are highlighted in this album, and it appears to evoke a sense of nostalgia for a bygone era when hot rods and rockabilly music were at their peak. The mention of Black Leather Jacket, Girls and that the Devil is not only collecting but in the fine detail suggests that the album has a vintage or retro feel, drawing inspiration from the 1950s and 1960s.
The description also praises Setzer's ability to capture the essence of rockabilly and suggests that he plays a significant role in keeping the genre alive with his unique style and swagger.
It's important to recognize that music, like any form of art, can reflect the cultural norms and values of the time in which it was created. Rockabilly, which emerged in the 1950s, often featured lyrics and themes that might be considered politically incorrect or offensive by today's standards. Songs like "Psycho Suzie," "One Particular Chick," and "A Dude'll Do (What A Dude'll Do)" contain lyrics that may be seen as problematic today, but they were representative of the vernacular and attitudes of the era. It's essential to view historical art forms within their context and understand that societal norms and sensibilities have evolved over time. What might have been acceptable or even popular in the past may not align with contemporary values. This doesn't mean we have to endorse or embrace offense.
Brian Setzer is a well-known artist in the rockabilly and swing revival genres. He has contributed significantly to keeping these musical styles alive and reintroducing them to new generations. His music, like many artists from various eras, can be appreciated for its musical and historical significance while also acknowledging the evolution of societal values.