From the Vault...


The Brian Setzer Orchestra

© Interscope Records
< Year of Release: 2000

track listing
  • Pennsylvania 6-5000
  • Jumpin' East Of Java
  • Americano
  • If You Can't Rock Me
  • Gettin' In The Mood
  • Drive Like Lightning
    (Crash Like
  • Mack The Knife
  • Caravan
  • The Footloose Doll
  • From Here To Eternity
  • That's The Kind Of
    Sugar Papa Likes
  • '49 Mercury Blues
  • Jukebox
  • Gloria

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    The Brian Setzer Orchestra

    Brian Setzer reclaimed big-band music with full frenzy with his classic release, The Dirty Boogie in 1998. His follow up was 2000's Vavoom!, as it continues the classic and traditional big-band sound with an early rock and roll style, similar to the band he was previously in, The Stray Cats.

    Starting off this release is Setzer's version of the Glenn Miller classic "Pennsylvania 6-5000". Having an old scratchy 45s (or in Miller's case, 78) sound at the beginning of this song gives it a great nostalgia touch. As usual, this version has the jumpin' jive sound as heard from his previous album. Likewise, a hot jumpin' jiving original, "Jumpin' East Side Of Java" (written by Setzer himself) combines the Stray Cats Sound with the "Jump Jive 'n Wail" sound. It also showcases his orchestra soloing with a mean sax and guitar alternating between each other.

    "Americano" (co-written by Setzer) once again continues the jumpin' jive sound, and for those who are familar with Reverend Horton Heat's music, you could easily say that both Setzer and Heat could be twin brothers in music and sound. Setzer wrote "If You Can't Rock Me", and it strongly resembles the Stray Cats' early rock 'n roll sound. "Gettin' In The Mood" was co-written by Setzer, yet it has the musical melody of Glenn Miller's classic "In The Mood," with different lyrics. Reverend Horton Heat comes to mind on "Ride Like Lightning (Crash Like Thunder)"; this one is a rocker!

    Setzer's version of Bobby Darin's "Mack The Knife" shows itself as a true big-band/jazz classic. Duke Ellington's "Caravan" showcases Setzer as a true twangy guitar instrumentalist. Another Setzer original, "The Footloose Doll" is another great jumpin' jive tune, with his "big-band meets rock n roll" sound. The traditional big-band sound mixed with rockabilly best describes "From Here To Eternity" (co-written by Setzer). The harmonies/background vocals standout on "That's The Kind Of Sugar Papa Likes," another jumpin' jive Setzer original.

    Stray Cats bass-plucking rockabilly best describes "'49 Mercury Blues" and "Jukebox," both songs written by Setzer. The album's closing tune "Gloria" was written by Esther Navarroo, as it has a very distinct 1950s doo-wop sound.

    Imagine we are back in the early 1950s... Big-band jazz music was somewhat slipping, and of course, by 1955 a new sound called rock and roll was born. But let's just imagine that it's 1950 again, and a young man by the name of Brian Setzer comes along, and introduces a new sound, mixing big-band/jazz/swing music with rockabilly. I think this sound could have easily been accepted by the younger crowd, as it did with Rock n Roll in 1955, and it could have started a new craze in music.

    But thanks to Brian Setzer, he brought back a sound that was ignored for many years.. Big-band music has always been entertaining, compared to the new music heard today. Some artists such as Diana Krall and Harry Connick Jr. have taken the traditional sounds of big-band jazz and refreshed that sound as how it sounded originally. Yet Setzer mixed his experience with The Stray Cats' rockabilly sound, and merged it by putting together a big-band sound to easily match the visuals of the 1940s. Some said it wouldn't be popular... His orchestra released two albums before it hit big with the Dirty Boogie, and their performance at one of the Woodstock concerts was truly incredible. Vavoom! is a very entertaining album... The Dirty Boogie was truly exceptional, and Vavoom! may not have been as captivating as it's predecessor, yet this release is truly enjoyable, and is a great musical adventure in how music sounded like back in the 1940s, and the early years of Rock n Roll.

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    Jewel Akens--The Birds And The Bees: The Best Of Jewel Akens
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    Joe Cocker--The Best Of Joe Cocker