If you're a fan of rockabilly - the blues-country-swing music that birthed rock-and-roll in the 1950s - you enjoy a lot of cultural options, locally and nationally. And a big local blowout is right around the corner.

Rockabilly is a frequent roots-music choice of AAA radio stations such as WXPN-FM. It thrives at local venues that include Glenside's Blue Comet and Wilmington's Oddity Bar. Aficionados have the Saturday-morning Rockabilly Roadhouse podcast (rockabillyroadhouse.com), hosted by DJ Big Dave from Americana station KRSH in Santa Rosa, Calif. There are yearly summits such as the Rockabilly Shindig in Millville, N.J., which hits this year on Sept. 20.

But why wait that long? On Aug. 17, World Cafe Live at the Queen in Wilmington presents Rockabilly Rumble, a daylong extravaganza with at least 14 local rockabilly bands. There's also a barbecue, a flea market, and, of course, a beer garden.

Headliner for Rockabilly Rumble is gifted Philly guitarist Tommy Conwell. And on his lips is praise for the man who put rockabilly back on the world cultural map, Brian Setzer of Stray Cats fame.

"Setzer did for rockabilly what the Stones did for blues," Conwell says. "Setzer shined the light on it for a new generation and took it to the next level. It's hard to say how many people would've known about rockabilly without him."

While Setzer himself won't be at Rockabilly Rumble, there is a new Setzer album out this month. With Rockabilly Riot: All Original, the virtuoso guitarist, singer, and composer known for big-band swing returns to the blues-country sound that made him famous with the Stray Cats in 1980.

"Rockabilly Riot sounds like the Stray Cats," Setzer says.

He first developed his sound while bouncing between Massapequa, N.Y., and Philly. He spent time in the art-punk Bloodless Pharaohs before turning to rockabilly. "I was in the Pharaohs 1977, '78," Setzer says, "playing CBGBs in NYC and the Hot Club on South Street."

At Philly's Hot Club - where Pharaohs were the de facto house band - owner and Pharaohs manager David Carroll and co-booker Bobby Startup were good Setzer buds. "We had a solid following," Setzer says, "but on days off from Pharaohs gigs, I'd plug in at J.C. Dobbs with my little rockabilly band, the Tomcats. The rockabilly went over better than the Pharaohs!"

Setzer wasn't the first or last guy in Philly to play rockabilly. Local cool cat Charlie Gracie, the South Philadelphian who had a 1957 smash, "Butterfly," and follow-ups like "Fabulous," is still hot on the rockabilly circuit. Dibbs Preston of the famed Levi & the Rockats lives in nearby Glenside.

("There's always been tribes of rockabilly fans and rockabilly-themed events in Philly," says Young Werewolves guitarist Nick Falcon, whose band is part of Rockabilly Rumble. "You just had to dig.")

By 1979, Setzer had refocused his energies with a new ensemble, the '50s-styled Stray Cats. "Robert Gordon was playing, he was great," he says, "but you couldn't see rockabilly with regularity. You had to find it. When you did, people loved and dressed up for it."

The real scene for rockabilly was in Great Britain, where audiences had never forgotten about America's raw-rocking, rural sound. "Americans forget, throw things away," Setzer says. "Not the Brits." In 1980, he took his Stray Cats and manager pals Startup and Tony Bidgood (a Dobbs bartender) to England, where the Cats recorded with rockabilly enthusiast Dave Edmunds and jump-started the retro-revolution across the globe.

"Before punk, the only alternative to progressive and Jethro Tull was '50s rock-and-roll," says Setzer. His love for rockabilly derived from the record collection his father started during his time abroad in the armed services. "I fell in love with Eddie Cochran," Setzer says. "I saw his picture. Looked cool. I heard 'Something Else.' Rocking. I even remember Cochran's albums hanging on the walls of record stores."

Setzer relives that memory during the track "Vinyl Records" on Rockabilly Riot. "One day, I pulled out my stereo and a bunch of old albums, and from then on my daughter fell in love with vinyl," he says proudly.

One of the keys to Rockabilly Riot was making certain it wasn't just souped-up blues. "Rockabilly was once only that, a one-four-five chord progression ramped up by fast rhythms," Setzer says, "but it goes beyond the blues in the hands of the band." He plays a few licks on his guitar while chatting. "If the song needs a tight snare, a stand-up bass, a honky-tonk piano alongside me, and nothing else, we're off. It's rockabilly."

Falcon says "the revival that Stray Cats led was an inspiration for me and the Werewolves. They showed that rockabilly was a legitimate subculture."

Like Setzer and Conwell, Falcon is passionate about rockabilly's first heroes - early Elvis Presley Sun recordings where you can hear "the slap-back echo on Big E's voice being used like Auto-Tune is in dance music today." Conwell extols the virtues of Gene Vincent and Johnny Burnette: "Burnette didn't give a damn that he was screaming into the mike - totally wild and overdriven. And Vincent's Blue Caps, with guitarist Cliff Gallup? They're absolutely virtuoso . . . swinging and sophisticated."

"There's much heavy breathing going on in rockabilly," says Nick Falcon. "Listen close. You'll hear the echoes."