Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Duane Eddy - Volume 4 [Twang A Country Song / Water Skiing]dotdot
artworkDuane Eddy has had the knack and approach of a studio musician from the start. Like other country pickers that focused on the electric guitar, like Roy Clark, Duane played an ultra twang style of single note melody lines. This CD couples his 1962 "Twang A Country Song" album with his thematic "Water Skiing" album. Most of the country material is very commercial and MOR. Some is quite nice, but are pretty tame. Many are just boring polished studio stuff. If the Walter Brennan "Dutchman's Gold" choruses would just go down the street and leave these tracks alone, they'd be way better off. The "Water Skiing" album (1964) is composed of all Duane Eddy originals, except for two Al Casey tunes, and two collaborations with Casey... If you thought there's be any relationship to surf because the theme is aquatic sport targeted, you'd be sadly mistaken. Mostly like post "Forty Miles Of Bad Road" tamed down low-E throbbing twang.
Picks: Sugar Foot Rag, Weary Blues, Fireball Mail, Please Help Me I'm Falling, Wildwood Flower, Precious Memories, Crazy Arms, Have You Ever Been Lonely (Have You Ever Been Blue), The Window Up Above, Satisfied Mind, Making Believe, Peace In The Valley, Water Skiing, Slalom, Rooster Tail, The Backward Swan, Whip Off, Jetterboard, Deep-Water Start, The Wake Ballet, Toe-Hold Side Slide, Banana Peels, In Gear, Jumping The Wake

Track by Track Review


Sugar Foot Rag dotdotdot
Country Pop (Instrumental)

This is a bouncy and appropriate vehicle for Duane Eddy country side. The chorus sucks, but the guitar is cool, especially when the lap steel comes in.

Weary Blues dot
Country Pop (Instrumental)

Slushy chorus and reverby hall sound, with Floyd Cramer-ish piano tinkle and too-slow guitar.

Fireball Mail dotdotdot
Country Pop (Instrumental)

"Fireball Mail" is not too far from Duane Eddy's Jamie material. It's just a jam, and in the middle, some moron countrified yakkin' messed with the vibe. Nice lap steel work.

Please Help Me I'm Falling dotdot
Country Pop (Instrumental)

Wasn't this a hit for Ferlin Husky? It's too slow and the strings and chorus drive it straight to the Nashville music machine wood shed.

Wildwood Flower dotdotdot
Twang (Instrumental)

This classic country instro was even covered by Dave Myers and the Surftones and Steppenwolf. This is much less spirited than that, and even calmer than Buck Owens or Chet Atkins. The Floyd Cramer style piano and stereotype fiddles under Duane's pristine, if uninspired guitar are quite a pleasant listen. Mid tempo and fun.

Precious Memories dot
Twang (Instrumental)

Very slow and elevator perfect. Not particularly noteworthy. Deep vibrato slowness drives a squishy mood to the country store.

Crazy Arms dot
Country Pop (Instrumental)

Fiddle whine and vibrato throb deliver a restrained "Crazy Arms." Pleasant.

Have You Ever Been Lonely (Have You Ever Been Blue) dot
Twang (Instrumental)

From the chorus to the rich people's country style, this lacks any semblance of emotion of genuine country honesty. Session music for the elevator ride to the 13th floor.

The Window Up Above dotdot
Twang (Instrumental)

George Jones' romantic tune, fluidly vibratoed out with sappy chorus and shimmer.

Satisfied Mind dot
Twang (Instrumental)

Many an artist has done this tune, some with less feeling, but not many. I hate the crappy chorus.

Making Believe dot
Twang (Instrumental)

Another slow country whine for the old folks home.

Peace In The Valley dot
Twang (Instrumental)

Country... OK, maybe, but why do this? It's a nice track sans the chorus.

Water Skiing dotdotdot
Twang (Instrumental)

Stylistically like post "Forty Miles Of Bad Road" tamed down low-E throbbing twang with motor sounds overdubbed. The damped guitar chops are kinda cool.

Slalom dotdotdot
Twang (Instrumental)

More interesting than many of the others here, this at least approaches the flair of his early work, though it certainly is more polished and countrified and less urgent. Motor sports sounds and water splashes (reverb kicks slowed down?) don't make the grade, but it is fun.

Rooster Tail dotdotdot
Twang (Instrumental)

This sports a melody like "I Wonder Who?" It is a tame commercial rock number, with studio noodling and twang.

The Backward Swan dotdotdot
Twang (Instrumental)

This is an Al Casey tune, with his typical melody structure, and a cleaner sound. I have to wonder if Al is playing instead of Duane, as he did on "Ramrod." Slow-mid tempo, twangy low-E, and somewhat pompous, like a minor spaghetti western theme. Cool.

Whip Off dotdotdot
Twang (Instrumental)

Playful countrified riff-rockin' twang. A nice track, though pretty sterile.

Jetterboard dotdotdot
Twang (Instrumental)

This collaboration between Duane Eddy and Al Casey merges the two writers ideas in a playful tune that begs images of sitting on stools in the spotlight on the Merv Griffith show. Light weight guitar fluff, pickin' for the sake of pickin' and jammin', without the magic of a Roy Clark pick-fest. The break guitar line from Al is very much like the kind of line you'd have heard a few years later at the Fillmore, but with effects and a lot of volume.

Deep-Water Start dotdotdot
Twang (Instrumental)

Constant motor sounds over country twang may yield images of cowboys in boats, but certainly not the surf. This is a fun and rapid fire country ditty. major twang, and playful rhythms.

The Wake Ballet dotdotdot
Twang (Instrumental)

Kettle drums a la the Piltdown Men and Jackie DeShannon are further associated with familiar hits by the melodic similarities to "When You Walk In the Room" and "Needles And Pins," and the DeShannon structure. Fun, but a bit too seriously pompous.

Toe-Hold Side Slide dotdotdot
Twang (Instrumental)

Al Casey and Duane Eddy team up here on the writing, and the playing of course. The tune is a basic playful thing with a very clean sound. The sax lines sound like Steve Douglas, who did most of the sax work on Duane's hits. Slight, but fun.

Banana Peels dotdotdot
Twang (Instrumental)

Another Al Casey-Duane Eddy collaboration. This uses a choked line to add interest, like a sliders dream. Fun, but gimmicky. Fine sax work.

In Gear dotdotdot
Twang (Instrumental)

Mid Tempo, with motor sounds and a lot of vibrato shimmer. Duane lays off of the low-E thing for a thinner sound. This has a curiously magnetic sound, slightly ominous, but mostly natural and marching, with mean motor sounds.

Jumping The Wake dotdotdot
Twang (Instrumental)

Al Casey and Kenny Gist wrote this. It's pure Casey melody lines and fine studio construction. Pompous but not phony, with a cool shimmer and subdued sax meanness, plus whammy sting.