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 I Like Instru-MENTAL!

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Twenty Flight Rick

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PostSubject: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Tue Apr 26, 2011 4:51 pm

I wanted to start a new thread for those who like the album and/or want to share their reviews. I got mine in the mail today. I had to order from Amazon as a couldn't find one around here. Anyway, man I will never listen to music again through my damn computer! You really have to experience the tracks through quality audio. I love Intermission and Far Noir East the most so far. As always, Brian's musicianship is top notch throughout. This is indeed a guitar player/guitar fan's album.
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Setzerado

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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:05 pm

Thanks for this really good idea Rick.
I like the album more & more. It's played 4 or 5 times each day !!
The sound, the mood and, of course, Brian's guitar play are soooo high !
I am lucky girl : the two last albums (SFLA & SGI-M) are among my favourites.
I am with you for Intermission with the "xylophone" (sorry, it's the french word, I don't know how to tell it in english). Far Noir East is fantastic. The kind of track you could find in Songs from Lonely Avenue or, in my opinion, a kind of "Jade Idol" 'part two...
Hot Love, Lonesome Road and Pickpocket are among my favourites too.
I am flying, really flying. Thank you Monsieur Brian !
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Brett

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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Tue Apr 26, 2011 11:19 pm

Yep, this is a better place to talk about the new album.
I listen to it with headphones first. That was awesome
You can hear the spring jumping in the reverb tank.

My favorites so far "Far noir east", "Hot love", "Intermission" and "Blue Moon of Kentucky"!
This is a alltime favorite anyway.
I tried to figure out how to play the riff the whole Saturday night.

Yes, i like the album too.
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donpepe



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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Wed Apr 27, 2011 1:49 am

Good record! It's getting heavy "airplay" here at my work. It keeps on good mood!
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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Wed Apr 27, 2011 4:27 am

Wow, amazing record, just got mine and I can't stop listening! Well done Brian, I don't know how u do it! U out do yourself every time! Thanks for the great stuff u put out for us champ!
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Twenty Flight Rick

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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:18 am

Pickpocket is really growing on me as well!
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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:31 am

Twenty Flight Rick wrote:
Pickpocket is really growing on me as well!
Sure is, I've got it on repeat at the moment, keep humming it to myself lol.
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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:46 am

Got mine today, and not being a guitar player like nearly everyone else on this site, I really like it. Pickpocket and Blue Moon have been played a lot. The xylophone (I call it that as well) is a pleasant surprise in Intermission. I feel really relieved, because listening to all the earlier critisism I thought I'd ordered a duff record. Got it on vinyl too, but haven't had a chance to listen to it yet. I like. 8/10 Very Happy
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Twenty Flight Rick

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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Wed Apr 27, 2011 12:36 pm

Pickpocket is now my official favorite! Actually, I think I like too many to have just one. I too dig the zylophone on Intermission. There's a lot to like about this cd!
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Setzerado

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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Wed Apr 27, 2011 11:21 pm

Instru-Mental is the record !!

Blue Moon Of Kentucky : 8.5 / 10
Cherokee : 9 / 10
Be-Bop-A-Lula : 8.5 / 10
Earl's Breakdown : 9 / 10
Far Noir East : 10 / 10
Intermission : 9.5 / 10
Go Go Godzilla : 8 / 10
Lonesome Road : 10 / 10
Jazz Hillbilly Meltdown : 10 / 10
Hot Love : 10 / 10
Pickpocket : 10 / 10

This is a record at 9.5 !! (in my opinion)
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mjcodina

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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Thu Apr 28, 2011 12:28 am

Man Im so glad you started this thread. All Ive heard is negative stuff on this site about the album so Ive layed low for a bit. But man I love that album.

Ive noodling with some of the songs, especially Blue Moon, and am thinking of putting some of the songs on the tube. What do you guys think? Would you even wanna see that?

Anyways, what a good album!!!
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Brett

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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:00 am

mjcodina wrote:
Ive noodling with some of the songs, especially Blue Moon, and am thinking of putting some of the songs on the tube. What do you guys think? Would you even wanna see that?

Anyways, what a good album!!!

Sure, but i want to see your fingers and your fretboard, please... Cool
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mjcodina

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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Thu Apr 28, 2011 1:01 am

oh yeah for sure man. I learned my lesson with not showin em the first time haha. Didnt show my picking hand
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Rickabilly

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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Thu Apr 28, 2011 5:26 am

I started this review a few days ago, a couple of hours before my compadre, the Other White Rick, stepped forward with the same feel-good idea.

I’m tired of seeing the “disappointed” thread getting bumped to the top of the list every day. So thank you, Rick, for a new thread with a more positive title to get more fan feedback on the album.

I find it difficult to have any illusion of knowing what’s next for Brian Setzer. In at least 24 studio albums (not counting the hugely successful Built for Speed – an album largely cobbled together from the first two UK releases) I’ve never heard the same album twice. Even on the BSO releases, Guitar Slinger is vastly different from the first BSO album, while Vavoom has a different vibe from Dirty Boogie. The classic Boogie Woogie Christmas (in its original incarnation) is probably a more cohesive holiday release than its successor, Dig That Crazy Christmas (who expected anything like Hey Santa or Angels We Have Heard on High?) And after the triumph of Rockabilly Riot, did anyone see 13 coming?

So when Brian Setzer announced he was doing a “guitars only” instrumental album, I was surprised, and yet, I thought, “that sounds about right.” Expect the unexpected. That’s precisely what you get with his latest album, Setzer Goes Instru-Mental.

Blue Moon of Kentucky – This Bill Monroe classic is the perfect opening to the album. The twang and percussive shuffle that opens the tune reminds me of Jerry Reed’s/Elvis’ ” Guitar Man.” That seems fitting, seeing as how Elvis, Scotty, and Bill recorded THE definitive version of this song. The rich chording compliments the melody line perfectly as the second guitar track simmers just below the surface, rising up for a bit of Travis picking just before the 2-minute mark. The lower register quotation of the melody has a bit of a surf vibe to it, foreshadowing some of the twangy beach fun found later in the album. The drums are very subdued as Spazz’s bass provides the rhythmic anchor for the track, though there are some playful handclaps during a particularly jumpin’ section.


Cherokee – This jazz standard, most famously recorded by Charlie Barnet, features some of Brian’s finest jazz work on record. It may not be as rocking as Caravan, but technically, it’s every bit as impressive. There’s at least three guitars on this track, and the interplay reminds me of my old “Chester and Lester” album featuring Chet Atkins and Les Paul. Of course, the tight interplay here can only be accomplished by someone with Setzer’s skill. Best man for the job of trading licks with Brian Setzer? How about Brian Setzer?

Brian has had a variety of collaborators on bass over the years, but none are better suited for the jazz vocabulary and virtuosity required here than John Hatton. I feel it’s some of his finest work ever with Setzer. You can have your triple-slapping and flapping and other rockabilly gimmicks – for jazz, Spazz is the Real Deal. Brian’s lucky to have him.


Be Bop a Lula – Perhaps the most impressive thing about this track is how laid-back it is. Noah Levy’s brushwork caresses the song like a cool breeze on a stifling summer day. (It’s either brushes or an incredibly loose snare – either way, I love how the percussion breathes throughout the tune). Noah, Spazz, and Brian’s rhythm guitar give the track just enough edge to keep things moving while allowing the tune to keep its cool. I’m blown away by the clarity of the sound. You can hear fingertips gliding across the strings and feel the vibrations of each bass note. It’s as if you’re in the studio with Brian, Spazz, and Noah. Whereas Gene Vincent’s vocals on the original (along with Dickie Harrell’s scream) convey a sense of urgency, Setzer’s version goes down smooth, as if to ask Gene, “What’s your hurry, son?” This easy-rollin’ version allows the listener to savor every note.


Earl’s Breakdown – Brian breaks out the banjo for a tribute to legendary picker Earl Scruggs. More than just bluegrass, this hillbilly jazz number features several guitar tracks as well. The picking is extraordinary, even though Brian makes it sound effortless. In 1983, Brian sent me scrambling for Eddie Cochran and Gene Vincent records. In 1998, he jump-started my interest in all things Bobby Darin. I fully expect to delve into the music of Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs based on the strength of this tune alone.


Far East Noir – The ethereal quality of this song (I suppose I can use the word “song” since there are “la-la-las” present) plays like the soundtrack to a scene from a Mickey Spillane novel. It would have been a perfect instrumental for “Songs From Lonely Avenue.” Considering there isn’t a true lyric, the imagery is incredibly vivid. You can almost see the fog and feel the steam rising up from the streets of a Chinatown alley at 3am. The brief female vocal interlude reminds me of Julie London materializing out of thin air to sing “Cry Me a River” to Tom Ewell in the movie “The Girl Can’t Help It.” The vocals evaporate into the reverb as mysteriously as they appeared, playing the bit part of a mystery girl passing through this little piece of pulp fiction, as the guitars return to the role of storyteller, which is how it should be on this album.


Intermission – This track is perfectly titled, providing a break from the more serious guitar work on the album. I can almost see concessions dancing across the screen of the theatre with Steve Yeager’s bouncing vibraphone. (I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess it’s not the former LA Dodger catcher.) Once again, the importance of the rhythm section cannot be overstated. The bass, drums, and rhythm guitar provide the character of the piece as well as rock solid time-keeping so that the lead guitars and vibraphone can come out to play. I notice on the vinyl it begins Side 2. I like that. It puts an appropriate distance between “Far East Noir” and “Go-Go Godzilla,” two pieces of music that couldn’t be more different.


Go-Go Godzilla – Surf’s up, dude! The 60’s surf vibe also has that menacing feel of an early 1960’s monster movie. Thus, the tune is titled perfectly. I’m just not sure I need to hear it squealed at the end of each section. Noah Levy’s fat tom sound captures the badass feel of an old Sandy Nelson record. Brian resists the temptation to overplay or go über-Dick-Dale-shredder-god on “Go-Go Godzilla.” Instead, he makes every note matter, creating a memorable melody and killer tone. More than just a patchwork of licks, “Go-Go Godzilla” has a nice structure as a fully-formed instrumental without disintegrating into a guitar etude. The mood it creates reminds me of Hotei’s “Battle Without Honor or Humanity,” featured in Tarantino’s “Kill Bill, Vol. 1.” I could totally see this tune re-scored with horns for a powerful opening to the next BSO tour.


Lonesome Road – This is another track to be studied with the headphones on. There’s so much going on with the three guitars, bass, and percussion (bongos!). The mix is so good, it sounds as though all the instruments are in the same room, despite the fact that nearly all of them are overdubbed. I really enjoy how both the right and left channels exchange lead lines. Brian appears to be channeling Jimmy Bryant, with a bit of Charlie Christian thrown in for good measure. It’s a perfect marriage of good ol’ country picking and jazz. I’m sure many Setzer fans will be clamoring for more of Setzer’s rock side, but it’s the country roots of rockabilly and Brian’s jazz skills that have made him a cut above most rock guitar legends over the years. You can’t turn your back on Brian when he delves into the jazzier parts of his vocabulary. It’s part of his musical DNA, and whether or not you realize it, that’s what makes him unique among his peers.


Hillbilly Jazz Meltdown – Here we have no overdubs. Just Brian Setzer and his Gretsch. That’s right. All of this is happening on one guitar. It’s as if Brian was in Tavo Vega’s living room, and Tavo handed him a guitar and said, “play something.” Seriously, the intimacy created by the incredible mastering on this record gives this album a feel unlike any other Setzer project. Guitar history buffs can probably name-check all the legendary guitarists to which Brian is paying tribute on this song, while non-guitarists like myself will fake their way through the history lesson by name-checking Chet Atkins, Merle Travis, and… who’s that one guy? Oh yeah, Brian Setzer. In any case, Setzer puts on a master class with “Hillbilly Jazz Meltdown.”


Hot Love – Brian goes back to the beach for this one. Again, Brian could revisit his over-the-top “try and top this” all-out guitar assault from his Blast Off days, but that would go completely against the genre represented here. The overdubs let Brian pretend he’s The Ventures, weaving a sonic tapestry, er, beach blanket with all the different layers.

Speaking of overdubs, the percussion work is equally brilliant here. Brian used to rely on the superhuman abilities of Bernie Dresel to produce every sound he required from behind one drum kit. Certainly, that helped when it came time to perform the tracks live. However, the sticks, maracas, surf toms, and handclaps all contribute to a fantastic recording. This is, after all, a studio album. It should be able to stand on its own merits, and not necessarily be something which can be reproduced live. One of my favorite Setzer tracks of the past 5 years is 13’s “Don’t Say You Love Me.” The layers upon layers of guitars and overdubbed percussion made it a studio masterpiece, but not something that could be reproduced live successfully. Unless… you have two drummers and an extra bass player or pianist who could grab a guitar. Here’s hoping the Rockabilly Riot band will bring some of these tracks to life this Summer.


Pickpocket – The picking, of course, is guitar picking, and in the pocket is exactly where Brian lives on this closing track of Setzer Goes Instru-Mental. This decidedly rockabilly rave is like a Sun session on steroids. Scotty Moore couldn’t reproduce this kind of picking if he had 4 arms and 10 fingers on each hand! As it’s the final statement of the album, I was kind of hoping for a stronger ending to the tune. However, the more I think about it, it’s perfect. The other instruments drop out, as if they’ve marched out of the studio, leaving our guitar hero alone scratching out the last notes, somewhat parallel to the rhythmic scratching that opened “Blue Moon of Kentucky” at the start of the album. The record started with a Sun-influenced rockabilly standard, and the “Sun” sets on the album with a ‘billy offering of Setzer’s own creation.


The main criticism I have of the album is shared among other fans: At 11 tracks and less than 35 minutes in length, it seems too short. 2-3 additional tracks, perhaps more in a rock-n-roll style, might have provided a chance for Brian to display an even greater variety of styles. I suppose you could tack on the 3 instrumentals from “Songs From Lonely Avenue.” In this digital age, it would be quite easy to throw together a playlist for the ol’ iPod. But somehow, I just don’t hear those tracks on this album.

Still, “Setzer Goes Instru-Mental” is a remarkable display of Brian’s talents. And it’s like nothing anyone could have predicted, even with the 3 instrumentals on the “Lonely Avenue” album. Best of luck trying to guess what’s next.


Sorry about the length of my review. In the time it took you to read this, you probably could have listened to “Setzer Goes Instru-Mental” 3 or 4 times.

So go do it!


Instru-Mental-fra-gi-listic-expi-ali-docious-a-billy




Last edited by Rickabilly on Thu Apr 28, 2011 6:27 am; edited 1 time in total
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Twenty Flight Rick

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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Thu Apr 28, 2011 5:45 am

Helluva review Rick! Thanks for posting that!
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Andi

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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Thu Apr 28, 2011 6:42 am

In the past I've enjoyed reading detailed reviews before listening to Setzer albums (with this one I checked out the first few seconds of some of the Shorefire mp3s but that doesn't really count) and this is no exception. It will be a pleasure to listen for the first time with everyone's thoughts in mind and form my own opinions, be influenced, disagree, or come up with something completely different. With a whole bunch going on lately I haven't felt moved to make buying Instru-MENTAL a priority, so thank you everyone in this thread for making me want to hear it for myself. I shall place my order today.

Setzerado, it's great to see you here. Thanks.
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Brett

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PostSubject: What a review by Rickabilly   Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:27 am

Man, where is the "like it" button when you need one.

Rickabilly, this an awesome review.
Are you a professional critic?
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Rickabilly

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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Thu Apr 28, 2011 7:44 am

Brett, that's very kind of you to say. Thank you. I'm just a Setzer fan. There are others around here who can write circles around me, but it's just a matter of finding the time. Take Andi, for example. Her review of Songs From Lonely Avenue is a work of art. I look forward to reading her impressions of Instrumental.

The hardest thing about writing this review? I have a broken "U" key that sticks on my keyboard! I had to stop and backspace about a dozen times every time I typed that letter. Alas, I can't spell "album," "guitar," or "Instru-Mental" without it. scratch

Uuuuuuuuuuu-billy
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Setzerado

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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Thu Apr 28, 2011 8:59 am

Rickabilly, what a review !!
(it takes times to translate the whole too Wink )

Andi, it's great to be there and read that kind of nice things. Thank you.
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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Thu Apr 28, 2011 9:07 am

Ricki-pedia Rides Again!

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Madman

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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Thu Apr 28, 2011 10:44 am

Rickabilly - nice to see someone has the time to put it all in words. Great review.
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Andi

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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Thu Apr 28, 2011 10:45 am

Okay, CD and vinyl slated to arrive from Amazon May 3. Didn't bother with picture disc vinyl... there's no photo of Brian so there's no point Laughing

Looking forward to checking out the performances, the treatments of the songs, the quality of the recording and production, the audible differences between the CD and vinyl...I listen to music so differently now!

Not sure I'll take the time to flesh out a big review of the record given how much has already been written, it'd be superfluous... but thanks for the kind words Rickabilly.
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Rickabilly

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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Thu Apr 28, 2011 12:45 pm

Andi wrote:

Looking forward to checking out the performances, the treatments of the songs, the quality of the recording and production, the audible differences between the CD and vinyl...I listen to music so differently now!

Not sure I'll take the time to flesh out a big review of the record given how much has already been written, it'd be superfluous... but thanks for the kind words Rickabilly.

That's how I felt about "Songs From Lonely Avenue" after reading your review on Amazon.

I hope you'll still consider writing a bit about the new album if you have time. I would love to know how the vinyl sounds and read what keen insights your revamped listening skills uncover.

Ear Waxing Poetic-a-billy

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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Thu Apr 28, 2011 9:28 pm

You two need a get a room. Is this thread about the new album or the mutual admiration society?
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PostSubject: Re: I Like Instru-MENTAL!   Fri Apr 29, 2011 3:06 am

LMAO!!
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