The Lost Art Of Liner Notes: Duane Eddy – The Biggest Twang Of Them All (1966, Reprise Records)

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While the liner notes for Duane Eddy`s Lee Hazlewood-produced album The Biggest Twang of Them All manage to compare Eddy and his sound to both Willy Mays and a car fender, it’s hard not to notice the apparent innuendo barely hidden in the title’s reference to Eddy’s “big twang.” Was this all just a coincidence? It’s hard to think it could have been, especially when you take into consideration the other references in the liner notes to “early labor pains” and to twang just being “an impotent label for the life inside his virile sound.” Are … are they suggesting that Duane Eddy’s music can make you pregnant with its definitely-not-impotent “virile sound?” Was his guitar some sort of magical conduit for his superhuman virility? Read the notes and decide for yourself:

It’s a sound that’s bigger than that of the Columbia Calliope Co. in flagrant assembly. It’s the sound of Duane Eddy, the handsome, soft-spoken young gentleman from around Phoenix way. Duane hit the big league of music a few years back with a thing called Twang. The word sounds like a cross between a late stage of motor knock and early labor pains. But the word’s just an impotent label for the life inside his virile sound. An elemental, raw, unrefined musical sound. One electronically built into Duane’s guitar. One that comes out with a walk-into-a-solid-wall impact.

It’s a sound that’s as American as a ’40 Ford fender.

It’s a sound that’s sold nearly 12,000,000 records, and spread the excitingness of Eddy around the world. Imitators have come, but went. For some reason, the Twang is 100% Eddy’s. Like Willy Mays, nobody does it half as well.

It`s a sound that makes this album a muscular monster in its field. Backed by two drummers, four more guitars, organ, piano, bass, saxes, and that`s just the beginning, Duane goes unafraid at the kind of tunes that normally are one person songs. Like “Ballad of the Green Berets,” which becomes a twang-bang march under Duane`s banner. Like “Monday, Monday,” which was “The Mamas and Papas,” and now has the wild newness of Duane Eddy.  And on and on.

It’s a sound that’s alive and kicky. It’s today. Ask any 12,000,000, they’ll tell you. Duane Eddy’s the biggest twang of them all.

Song Of The Day: Chris Hillman – Wildflowers

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During his time in The Byrds, the Flying Burrito Brothers and several other bands, Chris Hillman pretty much invented the folk rock and country rock sounds, thus cementing his place in music history.

That history continues with his latest release Bidin’ My Time, out on Rounder Records. Produced by the late Tom Petty, the album finds Hillman revisiting some old Byrds tracks (“Bells Of Rhymney” and “She Don’t Care About Time”) as well as contributing his own version of Petty’s “Wildflowers” which naturally adds a touch of bluegrass to the arrangement. Check it out below:

Concert Review: Dream Theater, November 12, Sony Centre

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You know you’re at a bona fide prog show when the singer disappears from the stage for extended periods of time while the band does its thing. This is not to say that Dream Theater vocalist James LaBrie is any less vital than any other member of the band, just that he knows when to get out of the way and let the band rip out some extended solos and show off their instrumental prowess. And the band did just that over the course of pretty much three hours, much to the delight of their dedicated fanbase.

Dream Theater are currently on the Images, Words & Beyond Tour, celebrating 25 years since the release of probably their best known album, Images and Words. Along with playing that album in its entirety, the band also played a few selections that were written around the same time as the songs off that album and closed the show off with an encore of “A Change Of Seasons,” which was recorded at the same time as Images and Words.

Following the first part of their set, the band took a short break and returned to the stage to showcase the album they were touring behind, with the opening trifecta of tunes from that album – “Pull Me Under,” “Another Day” and “Take The Time” – standing out as the highlights. But before they took to the stage, a short medley of hits from 1992 played over the speakers and it really highlighted how Dream Theater stood out from the music of that era. Sir Mix-a-Lot, Billy Ray Cyrus, Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, Nirvana, En Vogue – some of the biggest hit makers of the day and none of them really had much in common with Dream Theater. Sure, “Pull Me Under” did manage to make it into the Top 10 on the rock charts back then so I guess it was also a bit of a hit, but you couldn’t exactly say that Dream Theater were peers with any of these other artists and they certainly weren’t among the most popular acts at the time. Then again, the kind of progressive metal that Dream Theater trades in has never really been considered all that cool, which is probably why it still holds up today.

Concert Review: Bully, Aye Nako, November 9, Lee’s Palace

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Before offering up any sort of greeting to the crowd, the first thing spoken into the mic at Bully’s Thursday night show was a request from Alicia Bognanno for the stage lights to be turned down if possible. This could have been because the lights were a bit too bright for her comfort (likely) or it could have been a sign that the band didn’t really want to be seen. Luckily this wasn’t the case and soon enough the band was sufficiently amped up and rocking out for a fairly packed house at Lee’s Palace. Crisis averted.

Bognanno, who proved herself to be an engaging frontwoman, also shared with the crowd that she’d been to Tim Horton’s earlier and gave a shout out to Tim’s pretzel bagels. There’s loads of better places she could have eaten before the show, but hey, when in Canada, I guess you’ve gotta go for some Timmies.

Aye Nako opened the show with a set focusing on numbers from their latest Silver Haze. The band has described their music as “Sad punk songs about being queer, trans and black” and definitely seems to mine its songwriters’ pasts for subject material, with Jade Payne offering up that one song was about growing up as a Jehovah’s Witness, while Mars Dixon introduced another as “a sad song about my childhood” before adding, “I’m happy now.” The band’s personal lyrics and ’90s-referencing guitar riffs made for a potent mix and an impressive live show, despite the fact that they played to a significantly smaller crowd than the headliners.