Mojo (Publisher) (p.98) - 3 stars out of 5 - "[A] fruitful trawl of Sun's rockabilly vaults....[The] pickings are rich indeed..."
Since his days leading rockabilly revivalists the Stray Cats in the 1980s, Brian Setzer has been the unofficial, modern-day ambassador of '50s rock & roll. With 2005's ROCKABILLY RIOT!: VOLUME ONE, Setzer pays homage to Sun Records, the label that helped define the genre. Focusing on the years 1954 to 1957, Setzer replicates the rockabilly sound of Sun's golden era by using vintage instruments, and arrangements that include urgent acoustic guitar rhythms and rocking roadhouse piano.
RIOT covers well-known songs originally cut by Johnny Cash ("Get Rhythm") and Carl Perkins ("Blue Suede Shoes"), alongside tunes by more obscure artists like Billy Lee Riley ("Flyin' Saucer Rock and Roll") and Kenny Parchman ("Tennessee Zip"). Setzer also wrangled musical help from artists who were part of the early rock & roll scene. Famed vocalists The Jordanaires were brought aboard to lend their trademark harmonies to the toe-tapping shuffle "Lonely Weekends," the honky-tonk "Stairway to Nowhere" and twang-soaked "Flatfoot Sam." Setzer also recruited Jumpin' Gene Simmons (not to be confused with the Kiss bassist) to help recreate the former's boogie-woogie "Peroxide Blonde in a Hopped Up Model Ford." A musical time machine, RIOT is a treat for fans of Setzer's Stray Cats and solo work, and for devotees of the Sun Records catalogue.