Lee Rocker, with Back Porch Mary and Romeo Dogs

Though best known as the bassist for the Stray Cats -- whose pompadours and time-warp MTV videos often overshadowed their real musical talent and ability -- Lee Rocker has continued to be a roots-rock standard-bearer after going solo. His new CD, Racin' with the Devil, is a borderline spectacular exploration of more than just rave-up rockabilly. Sprinkled with doses of mellower country, the album features high-energy tunes such as "Race Track Blues" and "Rockin' Harder," which work a bit better than forays into balladry and Rev. Horton Heat-style psychobilly ("The Girl from Hell"). Guitarist Brophy Dale really stands out with his sinewy playing and solos, and Rocker's vocals -- while not as versatile as top Cat Brian Setzer -- work within the context of the material, sounding almost Rodney Crowell-like on 'Runnin' from the Hounds." A remake of the Cats' "Rock This Town" is unnecessary, but the lively instrumental "Swing This" shows Rocker and his stand-up (and often stood-on) slap bass won't be pigeonholed into one genre.
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Bob Ruggiero has been writing about music, books, visual arts and entertainment for the Houston Press since 1997, with an emphasis on classic rock. He used to have an incredible and luxurious mullet in college as well. He is the author of the band biography Slippin’ Out of Darkness: The Story of WAR.
Contact: Bob Ruggiero