27th June 2011 10:00:00
Duane Eddy - Road Trip
For an artist that has been making records since Elvis changed the world with 'Heartbreak Hotel', Duane Eddy has left remarkably little trace upon the pockmarked face of popular culture. Try and unpick that hidden legacy by picking up an album on spec and you are almost certain to end up with some godforsaken re-recording, packed full of grotesque backing vocals and horns which only serve to tarnish his legacy and leave the listener with the impression that the great man sits somewhere between James Last and Benny Hill in the grand scheme of things. Forget Peter Gunn and face facts, if you don't have a mono dansette and a few select 7" singles such as Rebel Rouser, The Lonely One and the peerless Shazam! then you've never heard Duane Eddy. Until now that is, for his legacy has been saved by fifties throwback Richard Hawley who has collared Duane and taken him into the studio for a fortnight to make an lush, widescreen album which finally does his talent justice and slots him back into the timeline of rock n roll. Sure, instrumental guitar died with the emergence of The Beatles but that doesn't render it irrelevant; just sit back and let the gorgeous rich tremolo timbre of Eddy's baritone guitar lines coax you back to an era when melody wasn't a pejorative term. There's no fret board fireworks to disturb this Road Trip but there's few people out there with the confidence and ability to coax such shimmering simplicity from a handful of notes. 'Twango' is a jaunty approximation of the style of Django, but Duane is at his best when he's mining his own rich vein of gold and, whether it is the textbook 1950's bassy twang of 'Curveball' or the more languid melodic sweep of 'Kindness Ain't Made Out Of Sand', these are as essential as anything from his pomp. It may have been 25 years in the making but it's been worth the wait. So, that's Duane rescued from muzak hell, now let's just hope that Hawley has Hank Marvin's number.