The Second Disc

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Reissue Theory Three-Peat: The Stray Cats

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Musical inspiration can come from anyone, anywhere – even if you’re not a musician.

Consider the notion of talking with friends about evolving musical tastes. The conversation shifts to music enjoyed during early adolescence – when suddenly, you discover a revelation: a friend secretly spent their early middle school years enamored of the swingin’ sounds of The Brian Setzer Orchestra.

You laugh and joke about it – because what pre-teen in the past decade could possibly jazzed by Setzer’s swing revival? – but then you start thinking. And researching. You remember Setzer was excellent in his previous band, the rockabilly revivalists The Stray Cats. An hour later, you’re scratching your head, because for all their popularity in America, the band’s discography is incredibly spotty on compact disc.

You see, Setzer, Lee Rocker and Slim Jim Phantom wisely predicted their throwback style – down to the leather jackets and greaser haircuts – would play much stronger in England. With producer Dave Edmunds, they cut a pair of relatively successful albums, Stray Cats and Gonna Ball, both released in 1981. Just as the novelty started to wear off, EMI America released Built for Speed, an album cobbled from those two records, in 1982. It was a smash hit, as was the follow-up, 1983’s Rant N’ Rave with The Stray Cats.

For such considerable hit records – “Rock This Town,” “Stray Cat Strut” and “(She’s) Sexy + 17,” it was a surprise to find out that not only are Built for Speed and Rant N’ Rave next to nonexistent on CD, but no label has ever treated those original U.K. LPs to a Stateside release. That may not seem as odd to you, but at The Second Disc we like to celebrate any musical movement, no matter how small.

So, shoring up the resolve to research (and inspire), The Second Disc’s continuing Reissue Theory series proudly presents you with a look at three hypothetical reissues of The Stray Cats’ early rockabilly recordings. Rock ’til you pop and/or drop after the jump.

Stray Cats – Stray Cats (Arista STRAY 1 (U.K.), 1981)

  1. Runaway Boys
  2. Fishnet Stockings
  3. Ubangi Stomp
  4. Jeanie, Jeanie, Jeanie
  5. Storm the Embassy
  6. Rock This Town
  7. Rumble in Brighton
  8. Stray Cat Strut
  9. Crawl Up and Die
  10. Double Talkin’ Baby
  11. My One Desire
  12. Wild Saxaphone
  13. You Can’t Hurry Love (B-side to “Rock This Town” – Arista SCAT 2, 1981)
  14. Built for Speed (12” B-side to “Stray Cat Strut” – Arista SCAT 123, 1981 – later released on Built for Speed U.S. LP EMI America ST-17070, 1982)
  15. Sweet Love on My Mind (12” B-side to “Stray Cat Strut” – Arista SCAT 123, 1981)
  16. Drink That Bottle Down (Live) (B-side to “Stray Cat Strut” – Arista SCAT 3, 1981)

Stray Cats – Gonna Ball (Arista STRAY 2 (U.K.), 1981)

  1.  Baby Blue Eyes
  2. Little Miss Prissy
  3. Wasn’t That Good
  4. Cryin’ Shame
  5. (She’ll Stay Just) One More Day
  6. You Don’t Believe Me
  7. Gonna Ball
  8. Wicked Whisky
  9. Rev It Up & Go
  10. Lonely Summer Nights
  11. Crazy Mixed-Up Kid
  12. Cross That Bridge (B-side to “You Don’t Believe Me” – Arista SCAT 4, 1981)
  13. Sweet Love on My Mind (Live) (B-side to “Little Miss Prissy” – Arista SCAT 5, 1981)
  14. Something Else (Live) (B-side to “Little Miss Prissy” – Arista SCAT 5, 1981)

Stray Cats – Rant N’ Rave with The Stray Cats (Arista STRAY 3 (U.K.)/EMI America SO-17102 (U.S.), 1983)

  1.  Rebels Rule
  2. Too Hip, Gotta Go
  3. Look at That Cadillac
  4. Something’s Wrong with My Radio
  5. 18 Miles to Memphis
  6. (She’s) Sexy + 17
  7. Dig Dirty Doggie
  8. I Won’t Stand in Your Way
  9. Hotrod Gang
  10. How Long You Wanna Live, Anyway?
  11. Lookin’ Better Every Beer (B-side to “(She’s) Sexy + 17” – Arista SCAT 6, 1983)
  12. Cruisin’ (12” B-side to “(She’s) Sexy + 17” – Arista SCAT 126, 1983)
  13. Lucky Charm (Ooh Wee Suzy) (12” B-side to “(She’s) Sexy + 17” – Arista SCAT 126, 1983)
  14. Lookin’ Out My Back Door (B-side to “Rebels Rule” – Arista SCAT 7, 1983)
  15. Sixteen Candles (from Sixteen Candles: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack – MCA 36012, 1983)
  16. I Won’t Stand in Your Way (A Cappella) (U.S. B-side to “I Won’t Stand in Your Way” – EMI America B-8185, 1983)

Written by Mike Duquette

April 16, 2010 at 13:40

2 Responses

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  1. Three lovely ideas !!
    Of all re-issue “issues”, the most frustrating to me is the non-appearance of a “proper” version of the 1st Stray Cats album. The German edition from some years ago “jumps” on one track and the start of another missing !!
    All three of your suggested re-issues with those odd b-sides etc sound like music to my ears – please excuse the pun !! Here’s hoping……………….wishing……………………..praying………………….


    March 27, 2013 at 11:20

  2. I was just assembling expanded versions of the first 3 albums when I ran across this column! Great job!

    I have one correction and two potential additions:

    – Sweet Love on My Mind on Arista SCAT 123 is the same as Sweet Love on My Mind (Live) on Arista SCAT 5. In fact, both Sweet Love on My Mind (live) and Drink That Bottle Down were recorded at Newcastle, UK on 12/3/1981. i verified it today from an auction currently on eBay which has a photo from the actual SCAT 123 single confirming that it is a live recording. As such, may I suggest removing Sweet Love on My Mind (live) from the “Gonna Ball” bonus tracks and appending “(Live)” to Sweet Love on My Mind under the the “Stray Cats” lp?

    – Most versions of “Rebels Rule” on “Rant N’ Rave with The Stray Cats” are censored with an horrid censor bleep, however certain releases in some countries featured and “uncensored” version. Unfortunately, I don’t have catalog numbers and countries for these uncensored versions. But it’s out there, so maybe it should be considered as a bonus track…

    – These an official Stray Cats compilation called Back In The Alley” which contains “C’mon Everybody (Live)”. This is a compilation of the Arista era Stray Cats recordings, so this may be an unreleased track from that time. I have a copy on order so once I receive it, hopefully it will contain some detailed track information…


    March 3, 2014 at 19:24

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