Sixteen Candles (Crusin’ Records CR2008-01)
Disc 1: Sixteen Candles, Be-Bop-A-Lula, Sweet Love On My Mind, Pretty Pretty Baby, Something Else, Rip It Up, Baby What You Want Me To Do, Summertime Blues, Race With The Devil, Race Around With Ollie Vee, Peggy Sue, Oh Boy, Two Of A Kind, Rockabilly, Important Words. Bonus tracks, Montreux Festival 1981: Drink That Bottle Down, Rock This Town, Runaway Boys, Be-Bop-A-Lula
Disc 2: The Race Is On, Cross That Bridge, Lucky Charm (Ooh Wee Suzy), Lookin’ Out My Back Door, Drink That Bottle Down, Tear It Up, Crusin’, Can’t Hurry Love, Something’s Wrong With My Radio, Lookin’ Better Every Beer. Bonus tracks: Double Talkin’ Baby, Rumble In Brighton, Blast Off, Runaway Boys, Rockabilly Rules OK, Nine Lives, Gina, Sexy And 17, Built For Speed
Releases for the Stray Cats are hard to find and anything pressed on silver is welcome. It is interesting listening to this release since is makes one reminisce not only for the rockabilly of the fifties but for the time when the Stray Cats were popular on MTV in the early eighties. Their popularity comes out of a short lived wave of nostalgia for the music of the fifties. Dave Edmunds and Rockpile, Robert Gordon and even Neil Young recorded rockabilly albums. The movement was strongest in England but it was Long Island’s The Stray Cats who truly pushed the boundaries by not only appropriating the music but also the look of the greaser culture.
Sixteen Candles gathers together rare tracks from both studio and live recordings all in very good to excellent quality with no heavy handed remastering applied to the source tapes. Most of the songs weren’t released officially. It is interesting to listen to the live tracks. “Rock This Town” from Montreux in 1981 lasts more than eight minutes in duration stretching the original track beyond recognition. Another interesting track is their rockabilly cover of CCR’s “Lookin’ Out My Back Door.” The Stray Cats do reunite occasionally to tour and play some shows and are worth checking out and this release on Crusin’ Records is an excellent compilation of essential rarities.