Rockin' by Hisself

I’ve been in the mood lately to listen to rockabilly, and in addition to the classic stuff, I’ve also been listening a lot to my generation’s premier practitioner, Brian Setzer.

A disk I’ve had on the shelf a long time and never gave a proper listen to is Setzer’s 1998 solo album, Rockin’ By Myself. I think the disk was recorded in 1993 during a show in Japan. I do know it was a Japan-only release, although the copy I have is lettered in Russian.

Setzer recorded this performance a couple of years after he started the Brian Setzer Orchestra, but this is a stripped down show: Just Brian on guitar, accompanied on a couple of songs by his brother, Gary. No band, no garnish. Setzer’s underrated talent as a rock guitarist is really on display here. Not the flash typical of some early-90s rock guitarists, but a technical skill that rarely surfaces on his studio recordings. Just listen to him tear it up on “Mystery Train” and “Be-bop-a-lula.”

Since this was technically an official release, I’ll just sample a few things and leave it to you to track down and listen to the whole disk. The tracks I picked are pretty representative of the album; there were a lot of oldies and a couple of Stray Cat songs.

Runaway Boys.mp3
Summertime Blues.mp3
Mystery Train.mp3

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