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Stray Cats Live At Montreux 1981
Stray Cats
Studio: Eagle Rock Entertainment
Released: November 6, 2012
Reviewed: November 18, 2012

In February, 1981, the Stray Cats released their self-titled debut album.  Six months later, the band arrived at the Montreux Jazz Festival for what would be their only appearance.  They were coming off no less than three hit singles (Rock This Town, Stray Cat Strut, and Runaway Boys), a UK Top 10 album, and a string of headlining concerts. Relocating from New York City to London in 1980, just a year after their formation, with a tantalizing combination of covers and originals, performed with punk enthusiasm yet true to the genre’s roots, they were an instant smash, garnering such high profile fans as Jeff Beck, Robert Plant, and members of the Rolling Stones. The crowd in Montreux reacted with near-hysterical excitement (inciting three encores); something rarely seen in what is usually a polite and reserved audience.

Eagle Rock Entertainment is ready to rock your town on DVD and Digital Video with the release of Live At Montreux 1981 by the Stray Cats.  Newly restored with DTS Surround Sound, Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital Stereo, this concert is comprised of 15 songs, almost equally divided between original compositions and vintage rockabilly classics from 1956 to 1961. Of the 15, nine were on the Stray Cats’ first album, and some of the others were released as B-sides and EP tracks.  A couple performed here have never appeared on official releases.

Live at Montreux 1981 displays how this trio of vocalist/guitarist Brian Setzer, upright bassist Lee Rocker and drummer Slim Jim Phantom single-handedly revived and restored the time-honored purity of real raucous rockabilly and brought it back into the forefront of modern pop. The band did more to get a generation back into slapback bass and hiccupped vocals than any other band.

For our youngest brothers and sisters of the baby boomer generation, the Stray Cats were their first taste of not only rockabilly music, but also the subculture around it: the cars, the dances, the fashion, and the style of original teenage rebellion.  Owning your own copy of Stray Cats Live At Montreux is an excellent visual and sonically explosive way to relive those days and fond memories . . . and just in time for your Christmas shopping!