Brian Setzer

REVIEW: Brian Setzer “The Devil Always Collects”


Brian Setzer – The Devil Always Collects

When listening to Brian Setzer’s music I am always struck by two things – his overabiding love for early rock and roll and that he is a virtuoso when it comes to playing his guitar. The longtime guitarist of the legendary retro rockers The Stray Cats has steadily improved since he and his bandmates bassist Lee Rocker and drummer Slim Jim Phantom formed the band in the late 1970s to the point where he should be duly celebrated as one of the best guitar players of his generation. The precision and clarity with which Setzer plays now is a pure aural feast to behold. Setzer’s playing has always been good as the early Stray Cat records first attested to, but he has steadily improved over the years throughout all of his musical iterations to the point that his playing now has achieved greatness status and should be recognized as such. To not do so is a crime of musical ignorance.

On his latest release, The Devil Always Collects Stetzer sounds like a 21st-century Gene Vincent – Eddie Cochrane hybrid with guitar chops speeding down the highway at 100 miles an hour while singing about the two main themes of rockabilly music – girls and good times with a playful sense of defiance and rebellion. His guitar playing sizzles and pops throughout with breathtaking dives and runs that boggle the mind.

Highlights from this raucous collection include the foreboding titular track “The Devil Always Collect,”  the Chuck Berry-influenced and dazzling “Girl On The Billboard,” the scorching “Black Leather Jacket,” the fiery Little Richard influenced “She’s Got A Lotta…Soul!” and the hilarious “A Dude’ll Do (What A Dude’ll Do).”

This is a record to listen to just for Setzer’s instrumentation alone. The fact that the songs are fun to listen to as well is a bonus much like a lot of early rock and roll was and still is fun to sonically experience. Brian Setzer is a keeper of the flame of the music that we all know and love and for that, we should all be grateful.

The Devil Always Collects by Brian Setzer was co-produced by Setzer and Julian Raymond and is now available everywhere including his website at 


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