Monday, May 2, 2011

ALBUM REVIEW-- "Have Twangy Guitar, Will Travel" by DUANE EDDY, 1958

Okay, so maybe, as a proud native of the Grand Canyon State, I'm hopelessly biased, but this first album from Coolidge, AZ's favorite son is among my handful of all time top picks!

First, there is a quality to Duane Eddy's early music (recorded entirely at Lee Hazelwood's Pheonix studio) that can only be fully- FULLY- appreciated by other desert-dwellers. Duane's sound is wide-open spaces, echoing canyons, and dry, clean air! It is a jeep ride through the creosote flats of the great Mojave and Sonoran wildernesses! Absolutely inimitable.

Lee's production here was incredible... something that can now be appreciated fully on the remastered CD [available, of course at Amazon-- God love those folks!]  It really makes you see why a young Phil Spector reportedly stopped in Phoenix on a cross-country road trip in '59 just to see what these boys were up to!

Having said all this, I would also like to praise the remarkable eclecticism of this first and greatest All-Instrumental Rock and Roll album. 

I have heard this album- at least in sections- for about 30 years now (my older brother Steve is quite possibly the world's biggest Duane fan!) and I have only recently come to respect the range of styles represented here. Hazelwood and Eddy pulled every possible trick out of their bags in late, great '58: there is real rockabilly ("Cannonball" w/ Al Casey- Duane's truest rockabilly outside of his later "Theme From Dixie"); standard Rock and Roll ("Rebel Rouser"); proto-surf (the legendary "Movin' and Groovin'"); country-rock ("Detour"); standard country ("Anytime"); REAL- (no foolin')- BLUES (B.B. King's "Three-30-Blues" is ably covered here); Rhythm and Blues ("I Almost Lost My Mind"); just a hint of jazz stylin' ("The Lonely One"); and even a stab at what would later be called Folk Rock ("Lonesome Road"). 

Absolutely incredible! 

So here's my recommendation: buy it, pop it in the Pioneer, put the top down, and roll on on out! 


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