Twangy Guitar, Silky Strings
Release Date: September 10th, 1962
Words by: Jason A. Wendleton 4.5
September 19th, 2012
Guitarist Duane Eddy's twangy-guitar sound is unmistakable. In the late 1950's, Eddy had a string of major instrumental hits such as 'rebel-rouser' and 'peter gunn.' But by the early 1960's Eddy's days as a rebel-rouser were over, and though he'd moved to a major label, the hits were starting to dry up.
The album Twangy Guitar, Silky Strings is exactly what it sounds like—Eddy's signature guitar married with the silky sounds of an orchestra. Of the album's twelve tracks, only one was written by Eddy, the rest are covers of older pop hits. Released in the twilight of Eddy's mainstream success, there's more than whiff of desperation on Twangy Guitar, Silky Strings. With covers of 'moon river,' 'unchained melody,' and'love me tender' it's obvious that Eddy was desperately searching for a hit.
The idea of pairing Eddy's high-plains guitar and an orchestra is a good one, but the song choices bring Twangy Guitar, Silky Strings down. Rather than pick songs that would show off Eddy's skill as a guitarist, the safer-song choices are too sedate and end up sounding a bit too sleepy. The album isn't helped by the fact that a choir of female singers accompanies Eddy's guitar playing. As a whole, this album is just too safe, especially when compared to Eddy's earlier work which framed him as somewhat of a rock 'n roll icon.
And yet, if one listens hard enough there are a few moments of greatness on Twangy Guitar, Silky Strings. One can't help but admire the dream-like quality of Eddy's signature guitar tone. On 'memories of madrid,' the lone track on the record he wrote, Eddy's guitar and the steady drumbeat evoke the hot, mysterious streets of Spain. It's a shame he didn't skip the sappy covers and just put out an album of originals.