Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Please Give Me Something - Roots Of The Stray Cats

Please Give Me Something - Roots Of The Stray Cats
Bullseye/El Toro

Track Listing:
Icky Poo : The Nomands
Tear It Up : Johnny Burnette Trio
Lonely Travelin' : Lonesome Lee
Sweet Love On My Mind : Jimmy & Johnny
Somethin' Else : Eddie Cochran
Bop Bop Ba Doo Bop : Lew Williams
Ubangi Stomp : Warren Smith
Jeannie Jeannie Jeannie : Eddie Cochran
Please Give Me Something : Bill Allen
Double Talkin' Baby : Gene Vincent
My One Desire : Ricky Nelson
That Mellow Saxophone : Roy Montrell
Your Baby Blue Eyes : Johnny Burnette Trio
Wasn't That Good? : Wynonie Harris
Let's Have A Ball : The Wheels
Rock Therapy : Johnny Burnette Trio
Race With The Devil : Gene Vincent
I'm Looking For Someone To Love : The Crickets
Beautiful Delilah : Chuck Berry
One Hand Loose : Charlie Feathers
Everybody's Movin' : Glen Glenn
Slip Slip Slippin' In : Eddie Bond
Your True Love : Carl Perkins
Stood Up : Ricky Nelson
Let It Rock : Chuck Berry
Mystery Train : Elvis Presley
Sleep Walk : Santo & Johnny
Hidden Charms : Chet Atkins

I’ve just had the good fortune of receiving a tasty package from Dave Penny on behalf of El Toro records. Amongst the delights was the new CD, Roots of the Stray Cats which looks at the original songs that they covered or in some cases, borrowed from. To top it all, the set also comes in vinyl format with the much missed gatefold sleeve. It’s easy to forget how much easier it is to read the sleeve notes on this format than the handy, but tiny CD sleeve.

The track list is phenomenal, and in fairness to the Cats, their versions of them all are top quality. In common with thousands of others my age, I became aware of a lot of these songs courtesy of Massapequa’s finest. I heard Ubangi Stomp for the first time on their debut, before I ever heard Warren Smith’s original. I know this’ll bring tutts and moans from one and all, but that’s the way it was. The Stray Cats brought some of this music to a new audience, who like me dug deeper in a quest to discover just where it came from. In the days before the internet that wasn’t easy, and a school kid couldn’t afford to but the wealth of reissues coming out at the time.

Amongst the Stray Cats catalogue there’s some straight covers, such as Tear It Up, Your True Love and Rock Therapy together with a couple of naughtier moments. Changing the odd words, didn’t make the song your own. Crawl Up And Die was Bill Allen’s Please Give Me Something, Wild Saxophone was definitely Roy Montrell’s Mellow Saxophone. Not quite as blatant, but pretty close was their adaptation of Lew Williams’ Bop Bop Ba Doo Bop into Fishnet Stockings and the Wheel’s Let’s Hall A Ball became Gonna Ball.

As well as being a great CD in it’s own right, there’s a couple of numbers that a lot of fans may not be familiar with. What’s amazing is the way that two of them, The Nomands’ Icky Poo and Lonesome Lee’s Lonely Travelin' were both used for the beat to Stray Cat Strut. I find it fascinating to hear them both, as they both provided elements of the Strut, but the contribution that Brian Setzer made to reinvent the number is mind blowing. The two originals are really good, but SCS is brilliant.

A great collection that pays equal homage to the Stray Cats and the guys that inspired them.

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