Duane Eddy, Royal Festival Hall, London
Thursday 07 October 2010
His 1959 debut might have been called Have 'Twangy' Guitar Will Travel, but the legendary Duane Eddy hadn't graced a British stage since a tour with the Everly Brothers in 1991. All dressed in black, including an immovable Stetson, and playing his beautiful Gretsch signature guitar, Eddy rolled back the years from the off with "Detour" and his debut hit, "Moovin'N'Groovin". Backed by Richard Hawley's excellent band and a very adept saxophone player, he re-created his run of instrumental hits that are so evocative of the late Fifties and early Sixties. Eddy and his co-writer and producer, the late Lee Hazlewood, had a way with a title – cue "Cannonball" and the even snappier "Yep!" and "Shazam!" – and moved the guitar on from Les Paul's clean sound to a meaner, leaner rock'n'roll style.
"3.30 Blues" and support act Pete Molinari singing the country standard "Tennessee Waltz" provided just the right change of mood and tempo, though they were soon eclipsed by two female vocalists who added a bit of oomph! and ooh la la! to "Dance with the Guitar Man" and "Play Me Like You Play Your Guitar". Most endearing was the obvious bond between Eddy and Hawley as the Sheffield indie crooner guested on sepulchral versions of Hazlewood's "The Girl on Death Row" and "Still As the Night". It all ended with the humungous riff of "Peter Gunn", the irresistible track Eddy re-recorded with the Art of Noise in the mid-Eighties, and an appropriately riotous "Rebel Rouser".
The guitarist's guitarist is now 72 and dropped two songs from the set but, as they shuffled along to "Hard Times", the sole encore, his devoted fans, some of whom had travelled from as far afield as Italy, didn't seem to mind. Five decades on, Eddy is still twangin' up a storm.
Duane Eddy, Richard Hawley, Jarvis Cocker and Ellie Goulding play Tennessee Comes to Town at the Clapham Grand, London SW11 (020 7223 6523) tonight
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