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Today, let’s give birthday wishes to the king of the twang guitar, Duane Eddy. Eddy hooked up with Lee Hazlewood on a series of classic instrumentals in the late ‘50s. In order to get the proper echo for Eddy’s records, Hazlewood purchased a 2000 gallon water tank for Duane to record in. This only added to robust instrumental classics like “Rebel Rouser”, his version of the Peter Gunn theme and “Cannonball”. Eddy amassed 15 Top 40 hits in all, and is one of the most influential guitarists of the pre-Beatles era. He is still active today, and just last year, released an album produced by one of his disciples, Richard Hawley. In honor of Mr. Eddy, please grab your iPod or MP3 player, hit shuffle and share the first 10 songs that come up.
The Ribbons – Ain’t Gonna Kiss Ya (Girl Group Sounds Lost & Found): A low budget girl group tune with a definite grounding in R & B and gospel. There is a little echo on both the lead and backing vocals, which gives this song a cool feel.
Run-D.M.C. – 30 Days (Run-D.M.C.): While the drum machines and keyboards are dated beyond belief, the spare approach on Run-D.M.C. classic debut album still holds up so well. The spare backing puts so much emphasis on the rappers, and both stars command attention. Which is good, since their lyrics are just okay and saved by their flow and cadence.
Funkadelic – Get Off Your Ass And Jam (Let’s Take It To The Stage): The first time I heard this chant was when folks were cheering for an encore at a Big Twist and the Mellow Fellows show in Carbondale. This little ditty is really just an excuse for Eddie Hazel to let his fingers fly across the fretboard.
Doleful Lions – Airline Histories (The Rats Are Coming! The Werewolves Are Here!): Well before Doleful Lions’ album 7, Jonathan Scott was incorporating electronics. This song has a chilly post-punk sound, and his voice is a bit more in the middle of the mix until he builds to the chorus, which he builds up to very well.
Al Green – How Can You Mend A Broken Heart (More Greatest Hits): The Reverend takes this Bee Gees classic and slows it down and lets it simmer, to wring out every bit of rhythm and blues goodness out of this Brothers Gibb composition.
Tahiti 80 – Separate Ways (Wallpaper For The Soul): As wonderful as the last Phoenix album was, and they are a good band, this is my favorite breezy French band that mixes ‘60s pop with touches of classic R & B and contemporary dance music. Singer Xavier Boyer is very appealing and the band lays down a good rhythm and fills the tracks with lots of embellishments for texture.
The Impressions – Finally Got Myself Together (I’m a Changed Man)(Can You Dig It?: The ‘70s Soul Experience): Some post Curtis Mayfield style Impressions. This was their biggest hit sans their departed leader, and it is true to their classic ‘60s vocal group sound, but it’s just a bit greasier, a bit funkier, a bit more...’70s.
Jerry Lee Lewis – Sometimes A Memory Ain’t Enough (A Whole Lotta...Jerry Lee Lewis): A weepy country ballad from the Killer. The strings swell and the steel guitar whines and weeps and Jerry Lee shows that even with his larger than life persona, he can convincingly portray vulnerability. This does not stop him from showing off on the piano.
Small Faces – Up The Wooden Hills To Bedfordshire (Small Faces): One of the mod gods transitional songs, as they were, by their second album, expanding from R & B and pop into more psychedelic sounds. Ian McLagen shines on the organ.
Randy Newman – God’s Song (That’s Why I Love Mankind) (Sail Away): It’s possible that this song is an even more cynical take on religion than XTC’s “Dear God”. A chilling track, with Randy and his piano speaking volumes.
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