Twangin' From Phoenix To L.A. (5-CD)
Classic Cuts June 2012
Duane Eddy was immensely influential as a musi- cian. His electric guitar instrumentals forged an entire rock guitar cul- ture.As an artist in his own right, he was immensely success- ful totalling fifteen hits in five years from 1958 to 1963 while his Peter Gunn single continues to express an iconic sound that was much covered by many of the early beat groups in the early sixties, as well as more contemporary outfits such as The Art Of Noise (with Eddy guesting on guitar, no-less) and Emerson Lake and Palmer.
Eddy – obviously a frustrated audiophile – talked about the origination of that ‘twang’,“When
I first went into the studio in the fifties, I learned that the bass strings recorded better than the high strings. They were more powerful and more gutsy. So that’s how I came up with the sound. I had to be careful not to overplay. [If you do] It runs together and takes away a lot of the feeling and direction. I had this amp that was more powerful than any on the market at the time. It didn’t actually make it louder but it made the sounds clearer.” This new release from German- based Bear Family (www.bear-family. de) includes all of the tracks recorded for the Jamie label, by Eddy, including Peter Gunn, but also others such as Rebel Rouser, Cannonball and Yep.
The box set itself is a typical Bear Family production.That is, it’s a work or art and a digital audiophile’s dream. Present in a sturdy pizza-style box is a total of five, individually packaged CDs, all in jewel cases with "the great thing about this suite of CDs is that they will move with your system" their own individual cover art and a track listing totalling 148 songs. Look out for disc five which provides a ‘Session In Progress’ featuring session takes, overdubs, and edits to give a real ‘in the studio’ feel.
Arguably, the jewel in the crown is not the CDs or even the music but the magnificent hardback book that accompanies the set.This 12” square production packs in eighty-four pages including rare colour and B&W photographs of Eddy: studio-based and more natural.There’s flyers, posters and even handwritten letters in there including images of Eddy and his backing band live on stage in full colour – a magnificent addition. Other notable additions include interviews with Eddy’s producer, Lee Hazlewood, other colleagues that helped and aided Eddy during his career, plus words from the man himself and additional primary source material from the time. For the dedicated fan the discography of the period covered in the box set will delight, as will the scans of the original vinyl 7” singles and LPs, including covers and chart appearance details.
Sometimes, just because a CD or vinyl issue says that it has been derived from the original master tapes, one has to enquire about
the quality of the master itself. In terms of that essential sound quality, Bear Family has avoided the typical sonic trap, within the Eddy reissue fraternity, of relying on master copies which have always been rather patchy in terms of sound quality. For true audiophiles, you will be pleased to hear that the company has managed to acquire the rights to the original catalogue which means that it has been able to examine and utilise the first generation masters in the vault. This means that Bear Family has been able to examine mono masters that were notable for their degree of clarity. In addition, however, the company has also been able to access and utilise very rare stereo mixes.
The great thing about this suite of CDs is that they will move with your system, rewarding those who have better hi-fi chains, whilst providing excellent sound quality on the most basic of set-ups. For those lucky enough to have a top quality digital system, the music provides an epic soundstage with a sweeping sound that is notable for its sense of clarity and instrumental separation while each instrument is easily discerned and sonically described.
If you are a Duane Eddy fan then you need this box set in the same way that your body needs air. If you are a fan of rock guitar then see this box set as the source. His direct influence can be heard within the material of the Shadows and George Harrison but he also spawned the likes of Hendrix, Clapton and Page. This is who those rock heroes were listening to, this is their hero. Check out this box set and he will probably become your hero too. PR