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Lee Rocker

Lee Rocker Livel – 1999 (J-Bird)

Reviewed by Jon Johnson

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CDs by Lee Rocker

Whereas last year's "No Cats" found ex-Stray Cats bassist Lee Rocker trying a lot of different directions, some with more success than others, "Live" is far more consistent. Rocker fronts a tight quartet and focuses on a mixed bag of rockabilly and blues numbers plus live versions of several of the better numbers from "No Cats," including "Miracle In Memphis," "Love Me Good" and Leon Russell's "Little Piece of Your Love."

The focus here, however, is on Rocker and band just playing a bunch of songs they like. Hank Williams' "Mind Your Own Business, a couple of Sun-era Elvis covers, Jerry Reed's "Eastbound and Down," two Carl Perkins songs, and a fine version of "Please Don't Touch" (made famous by early British rocker Johnny Kidd) all turn up, with the only real clunker being "Redneck Mama," an embarassingly dated-sounding number that would have been more appropriate in the hands of a southern rock band trying to go pop circa 1982.

Still, that's what the skip button on the CD player is for, and it's a minor quibble. Rocker and his band sound swell, and Rocker's upright bass playing still sounds as good as ever. Given the "where-are-they-now" status of most other vets of the notoriously disposable early '80's pop music era, Rocker's continuing career is heartening.