In 1981 they released two albums, the brilliant debut Stray Cats (February) and the not so successful Gonna Ball (October). The debut album made it to #6 in the UK and the second one only #48.
The band's beginnings were in Long Island, New York, but they uprooted themselves to London when word of a rockabilly revival came to their attention. After raising a following through live shows they got the attention of a number of major labels and Arista won the day to secure them. Bringing Dave Edmunds on board to produce the debut album was a stroke of genius (and maybe if he had been at the controls the second album might have stood more of a chance of success).
Built For Speed, their third album, was actually their first album release in their homeland and basically it is a combination of tracks mined from the first two albums (6 tracks from the debut, 5 from Gonna Ball and the title track which hadn't been released in the UK). It would reach #2 in the Billboard Pop Charts and #156 on The Billboard 200.
Although it's a compilation to us here in the UK I include it here mainly for my American friends and readers as it was the first vinyl to be released by the band on their home shore and it's always good to be reminded of classy music from the 1980s.
Built For Speed - Stray Cats
Produced by Dave Edmunds, Stray Cats and Hein Hoven
Released 7th June 1982
US Album Chart #2
Brian Setzer – "Strummin' & Croonin'" guitars, lap steel guitar, vocals
Slim Jim Phantom – "Bangin' & Yellin'" drums, vocals
Lee Rocker – "Slappin' & Howlin'" bass, electric bass, vocals
Let The Day Begin...Let The Day Start!