Given the never-ending flood of Brian Setzer albums, it comes as a mild shock that 2011’s Setzer Goes Instru-MENTAL! is his first-ever instrumental record. And a good one it is, too. Concentrating on the pre-Beatles classics that are his lifeblood, he tears it up on “Blue Moon of Kentucky” and “Be-Bop-A-Lula,” crosses the ocean for “Cherokee,” then throws a slight curve ball by dipping his toe into bluegrass with “Earl’s Breakdown” and “Hillbilly Jazz Meltdown.” It’s enough to distinguish the album from the innumerable collections of swinging rockabilly and rocking jazz that Setzer has released since his ‘90s big-band makeover, but the best thing about the album is how it focuses squarely on Setzer’s quick picking, confirming how he is a consummate roots guitarist.
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AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine