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The KING of TWANG

AFTER A 20-YEAR GAP, DUANE EDDY IS BACK WITH A VENGEANCE WITH A NEW ALBUM PRODUCED BY RICHARD HAWLEY. HE TELLS JULIAN PIPER ALL ABOUT IT… AND WHY HE LOVES SHEFFIELD

© RB/Redferns/Getty

For most artists, to pull off one comeback in a career is remarkable enough. But two? All too often, such a double return can only be the result of dark record company machinations… or a new jeans advertisement. So it’s easy to understand the broad smile visible on Duane Eddy’s face when he took to the stage of London’s 100 Club in June, hammering out the riff to Moovin’ And Groovin’. This man – who once described his greatest contribution to rock’n’roll being the fact that he never sang – can’t believe his good luck. ‘By rights,’ he drawls, ‘I should be at home sitting by the fireplace, watching television and burning old records.’

Duane first burst out of Phoenix, Arizona over five decades ago with the biggest, twangiest, toughest guitar sound on the planet, and his career has shot up and down with the about the same alacrity as the Greek currency. But this time – thanks to an unexpected production offer from Sheffield songsmith and massive ’50s music fan Richard Hawley – it feels as though the unassuming guitarist could be in our sights for a while. Far from merely paying lip service to past glories, it’s a vibrant slice of musical anarchy that sees Duane Eddy handling everything from crazed surf instrumentals to a lilting folk air.

Duane’s praise of Richard Hawley is unstinting, and he begins by explaining the unlikely coincidences that led to the two meeting. ‘I was driving around Nashville with the car radio on, and I heard some of Richard’s stuff; I really liked what he was doing, this big sound he had but with lots of spaces in the arrangements, and I thought “I really would like to jump in there with a guitar solo!”

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About Vintage Rock

Vintage Rock: Winter issue 2011 features: 50 Greatest Rockabilly tracks - Prepare yourself for the greatest party tape in history with our essential cuts. The Roots of Rock’n’Roll - The definitive lowdown on how it all began The stars - Fantastic features on Elvis, Hank Marvin, Jet Harris, Carl Perkins, Ike Turner and many more Rockabilly Hair - Tope stylist Mr Ducktail tells all, ably assisted by Levi and Bernie Dexter All Mama’s Children - News, reviews and events for the incorrigibly beat-minded