Hear And Now: Lee Rocker

Author: Jim Carnes

In the late 1970s and early ’80s, Lee Rocker, left, and fellow Stray Cats band members Brian Setzer and Jimmy McDonnell (a.k.a. Slim Jim Phantom) single-handedly revived rockabilly music in the United States. By 1984, the Cats were no more, but stand-up bass player Rocker continues to … uh, rock on. His latest album, “Racin’ the Devil,” is pure Americana music, which, Rocker said in a recent telephone interview, is “everything that doesn’t fit in some other category.”

“Racin’ the Devil” includes seven Rocker originals plus a remake of the Stray Cats’ “Rock This Town” and a cover of “Running From the Hounds,” which he recorded with Phantom, Rocker & Slick.

Rocker will perform at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday on the Americana Ramble series at Marilyn’s, 908 K St. Tickets: $15; information: (916) 446-4361.

Knowing what we’ll likely hear from him, we asked what he’s listening to. Here are five albums – “in no particular order,” he insisted – on his iPod:

1. “Modern Times” by Bob Dylan. “I’m a huge Dylan fan.

Always have been,” Rocker said. “I was waiting for this album to come out, and it’s a real rockabilly album in a way, which I was surprised to hear.”

2. “Sex, Love and Rock ‘n’ Roll” by Social Distortion. “I like their intensity and their passion. I think they really nail it.”

3. “All the Roadrunning” by Mark Knopfler and Emmylou Harris. “I started out in London in the ’80s and I’m a fan of Mark Knopfler’s guitar playing. It’s a bit of a mellower album than I expected, but I play it a lot.”

4. “Modern Artilleryā€¯ by the Living End. “This is a young band that in a way is coming from the same place the Stray Cats did, blending different elements of what’s goin on and assimilating them. And I always have to support a band with an upright bass.”

5. “The Complete Sun Recordings” by Johnny Cash. “No explanation needed. It’s obvious where I’m coming from here.”