Stray Cats “Live at Rockpalast” 1981 & 1983 www.Mig-Music.de DVD/2-CD set
Two live concerts by the Stray Cats recorded in 1981 from Cologne, Germany and 83’s Loreley Open Air, also from Deutschland. These are available as a single-disc DVD, and as a triple-disc DVD/2CD combo box-set. The DVD has the entire 1983 video concert and that audio can also be found on CD 1, the second CD hails from the Cologne, Germany set from ‘81.
Hearing these Cats back to back is interesting especially with the 1983 addition of Mel Collins’ sax who adds some sophistication to the power trio, yet the 1981 show is bolder, brasher and rawer. It’s curious (but without any personal objection) that the record label choose to have the ’83 show on the first CD and the ’81 set on disc two, but nonetheless: Highlights from the later day set are the raucous “Rumble in Brighton,” the Bluesy “Drink that Bottle Down,” Setzer’s “Built for Speed,” the hi-speed “Runaway Boys,” the Blues vamped “Stray Cat Strut,” and the politically incorrect “She’s Sexy and 17.” I didn’t expect Earl Scruggs’ “Banjo Time (Foggy Mountain Breakdown,)” but it works smartly by breaking up the fifties-sixties rockabilly theme of the show especially when they segue with George Jones’ “The Race is On.” Their set concludes with Setzer’s hi-powered “Rock this Town” that has the crowd calling out for more.
1981’s CD 2 best are: Danny Wolfe’s “Double Talkin’ Baby” that’s sharper than disc one’s version, Charles Underwood’s “Ubangi Stomp,” Setzer’s “Fishnet Stockings,” Gene Vincent’s ballad “Important Words,” and the set closing Stray Cats authored “Gonna Ball.” All in all there are six songs repeated between the two performances, “Double Talkin’ Baby,” “Rumble in Brighton,” “Drink that Bottle Down,” “Runaway Boys,” “Stray Cat Strut,” and “Rock this Town.” It’s a hard call (other than “Double Talkin’ Baby”) as which versions are stronger.
Kudos to Mig Music for giving Stray Cats fans the best imaginable price choices by offering both a single DVD and/or the DVD/2-CD versions. Either edition will be a welcome addition to any Stray Cats fan’s collection, though the price difference between a single DVD set and the three disc DVD/2CD box is negligible, especially considering how much more music and video one gets from the expanded edition. Furthermore; even though the 1983 show is thirty-two years old, and the ’81 set is thirty-four, both exhibit dynamic audio sound quality, and the DVD video capture is as good as anything that’s currently produced and available today. Credit the impressive German technological skills of their advanced recording processes from three decades back. * Note: The same can be said and appreciated on almost each and every one of these Rockpalast/MIG series releases for their always high-quality audio and video recordings. Last but not least: This Stray Cats set will have rock and roll and rockabilly enthusiasts absorbing and enjoying the solid performances on this 2015 released recording(s) for many years forward. Turn it up and enjoy.
For 16 years Bob Putignano has been pivotal at WFDU with his Sounds of Blue radio show (Wed. & Fri. 9am-1pm) www.SoundsofBlue.com – 2015’s most pledged to ($21,000+) radio program at http://wfdu.fm Previously a contributing editor at Blues Revue, Blueswax, and Goldmine magazines, currently the Music Editor for the Yonkers Tribune www.YonkersTribune.com – www.MakingAScene.org & www.wfdu.fm/Whats-Happening/Bob’s Music Reviews/bobs music reviews/ Bob was the 2003 recipient of the “Keeping the Blues Alive” award (given by the Blues Foundation in Memphis) for his achievements in radio broadcasting. Putignano can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org