Archive for the ‘Duane Eddy’ Category

Duane Eddy

Monday, November 30th, 2009

DuaneEddyRebelUKA, Duane Eddy, Lee Hazelwood, Jamie, American London, Reprise, RCA

Listen: Rebel-Rouser / Duane Eddy & His Twangy Guitar DuaneEddyRebel.mp3

Did you know that Duane Eddy combined single-note melodies by bending the low strings and adding echo, a vibrato bar (Bigsby), and tremolo – thereby producing a signature sound unlike anything that had been heard prior – the sound that would be featured on an unprecedented string of thirty four chart singles, fifteen of which made the Top 40 and sales of over 100 million worldwide? Me neither. I read it on Wikipedia.

He was not alone in the creation. Then disc jockey Lee Hazelwood became his partner in 1954, taking on role of producer and co-writer. ‘Rebel-Rouser’ is one of those songs that probably every last human being has heard, but didn’t know it. Well I hope so at least. Peaking at #6, it was also his biggest chart success.

DuaneEddyStalkin, Duane Eddy, Lee Hazelwood, Jamie, American London, Reprise, RCA

Listen: Stalkin’ / Duane Eddy & His Twangy Guitar DuaneEddyStalkin.mp3

It’s B side, ‘Stalkin” is a whole other story. Now this is more the dark side sound that helped invent one of the most potent threads in music, a line followed by The Gun Club, Tav Falco’s Panther Burns, The White Stripes and most importantly, The Cramps. And of those bands alone, there were endless unsuccessful imitators.

It just oozes of girls in tight sparkly capri pants and spiked heels, slowly grooving their hips to the the record as it spun in the jukebox at a local malt shop.

DuaneEddySurfinPS, Duane Eddy, Lee Hazelwood, Jamie, American London, Reprise, RCA

Listen: Your Baby’s Gone Surfiin’ / Duane Eddy DuaneEddySurfin.mp3

Everyone jumped on the surf craze in the early 60′s. For Duane Eddy, it actually was a perfect fit. He kind of invented the sound, a seamless musical transition from rockabilly to the white kid, carefree, silver spoon lifestyles of surfers. Despite ‘Your Baby’s Gone Surfin” hardly denting the Billboard Hot 100 (#93), I remember it vividly. Even bought the single, or had someone buy it for me more likely. Little did I know, his band, The Rebels, had become Phil Spector’s regular studio outfit. Makes perfect sense then that The Blossoms, also vocal backup regulars on Spector sessions, provided all the singing here. Yes, that’s Darlene Love you’re hearing, just as you might be suspecting.

DuaneEddyShuckin, Duane Eddy, Lee Hazelwood, Jamie, American London, Reprise, RCA

Listen: Shuckin’ / Duane Eddy DuaneEddyShuckin.mp3

B side ‘Shuckin”, you gotta love the song titles, sounds like a routine jam with the sole purpose of churning out a flip to ‘Your Baby’s Gone Surfin”. Even so, the natural groove makes it a keeper. How many of these would they knock out in a day? I’m scared to reckon. Somewhere there are tape vaults….

DuaneEddyGuitarWasMadeUSB, Duane Eddy, Lee Hazelwood, Reprise

Listen: This Guitar Was Made For Twangin’ / Duane Eddy DuaneEddyRepriseUSB.mp3

Once the Nancy Sinatra success train was powering full steam ahead, on her Dad’s Reprise label, with Lee Hazelwood ably handling all production and songwriting, my guess is he suggested Duane Eddy be added to the roster. A seemingly under thought covers album of then current day hits, THE BIGGEST TWANG OF THEM ALL, allowed for one original ‘This Guitar Was Made For Twangin”. Despite a basic instrumental re-write of ‘These Boots Are Made For Walking’, he retains full writer credit, well at least as far as the label copy reads. I have to believe behind the curtain, there was a handshake share with Lee Hazelwood, writer of ‘Boots’ – or maybe not. He was the producer, it didn’t sell, and who cares anyways. Luckily the track was issued as a single.

Rita Pavone

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

ritapavoneps, Rita Pavone, RCA

Listen: Remember Me / Rita Pavone RitaPavone.mp3

Remember Rita Pavone? Something to the effect of a sixteen year old Italian teen sensation. She was on Ed Sullivan many times, or seemingly. How her tomboy, hobo image slotted in so nicely with the English Invasion’s mini skirted and Yardley’s Slickered lipped Twiggy types in hindsight doesn’t make much sense. It didn’t last long anyways.

She did make a decent album, and a couple of good singles. ‘Remember Me’ got some radio traction here, despite the accent, which I found very exotic. The lure of a picture sleeve was too much for me to resist. In a very, very, very small way, I suppose it helped the record’s climb to #26 on the Billboard charts.

You have to hand it to RCA, they were pretty good at handing out full color sleeves: Duane Eddy, The Youngbloods, The Small Faces, Jefferson Airplane, Little Peggy March.

Lonnie Mack

Friday, September 11th, 2009

lonniemackwhamuka, Lonnie Mack, The Move, Fillmore East, Crosby Stills & Nash, Fraternity, Stateside

Listen: Wham / Lonnie Mack LonnieMackWham.mp3

lonniemacksuzieukb,  Creedence Clearwater Revivial, Lonnie Mack, The Move, Fillmore East, Crosby Stills & Nash, Fraternity, Stateside

Listen: Suzie Q / Lonnie Mack LonnieMackSuzie.mp3

Often lumped with Duane Eddy and Link Wray, contemporaries of the day, Lonnie Mack’s musical distinction is the blues as opposed to a rockabilly instrumental slant. Not surprisingly, he’s widely regarded as a ground-breaking rock guitarist, whose artistic impact far outreaches his commercial accomplishments, although he had a few massive records. His first, ‘Memphis’ hit Top 5 in early ’63 on both Billboard’s Pop and RnB charts.

Things were clearly different in those days. It’s not the first time that a record, recorded quickly during some down time, post a proper session, somehow got released without the artist knowing, and ended up a hit – again to said artist’s surprise. Such was apparently the case with ‘Memphis’

‘Wham’, a followup, has significance for (a) being another unlikely instrumental success and (b) for actually describing a sound both unique and original at the time in it’s title. The culprit, a whammy bar, in reality a Bigsby tremelo arm. To further enhance the vibrato on his tunes, Lonnie Mack employed a variant of Robert Ward’s distortion technique, using a 1950s-era tube-fired Magnatone amplifier to produce a ‘rotating, fluttery sound’. Hence, the blues guitar revolution began, at least according to some.

Either way, this is a great double sider. Adults and children alike should own a handful of his 7′s for when the appropriate party moment occurs at one’s home.

I was quite excited back in September ’69 when Lonnie Mack was on the bill at The Fillmore East as main support to headliners Crosby, Stills & Nash. Opening that weekend: The Move. I just sent away for two tickets and announced to my Dad that he was either taking me or I was hitch hiking. Mind you, we lived in Syracuse and NYC was a good 300 miles away. To be honest, this was all about seeing The Move, but planning to stay long enough to gawk at Lonnie Mack and his wire-fire fingers.

Sadly, The Move never did play New York, so I exchanged my seats for another weekend’s triple header: Spirit / The Kinks / The Bonzo Dog Band. A life changing tradeoff, I can assure you.