Lee Rocker

Racin' the Devil
(Alligator Records)

Its title an obvious tip of the blue cap to the great Gene Vincent, Racin' the Devil finds Lee Rocker stepping out from the shadow of Brian Setzer's pompadour, planting his upright bass at center stage, and tearin' it up on vocals. And the way he sings, you'd almost swear the man was born to front his own band, from the Cramps-like swagger of "The Girl From Hell" to a rocker called "Funny Car Graveyard" that throws in a quote from The Munsters theme. There's plenty here to please the Brylcreem demographic, from the haunting country balladry of "Ramblin'" to the Sun-kissed twang of "Race Track Blues" and Rocker's take on Carl Perkins' rockabilly classic "Say When." If there is a downside, it's the minor-key revival of the Stray Cats' own "Rock This Town," which only serves to reinforce how great the Cats truly were. Rocker might outrace the devil, but he can't outrun his past, and messing up his old band's breakthrough hit is clearly not the way to go about it.

 
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