Duane Eddy – review

Grand Opera House, York

Duane Eddy is explaining how Richard Hawley revived the career of one of rock'n'roll's founding fathers after years of silence. "We had no songs and no budget. We said 'Let's just do it!'"

A year on from Road Trip, the twanging guitar man is thoroughly rejuvenated. Backed by Hawley's band, the chemistry and camaraderie is a joy. "Ah've worked with the best musicians in the world and these guys are the best," urges Eddy, between instrumental guitar duels with "Shez" Sheridan, while the band gaze at him with awe.

Few genuine legends of 1950s rock'n'roll are touring, never mind with such endearing humility and humour. In black embroidered suit and Stetson, the dapper 74-year-old quips about everything from the Tennessee-style local weather to his memory. When the hardly young backing vocalists Tina and Louise join in for 1975's Play Me Like You Play Your Guitar and signature twanging hit (Dance with the) Guitar Man, he deadpans, Fonz-style: "Kids are so cute at that age."

This magical gig is like an aural picture book of rock'n'roll adventures, with reminiscences about Radio Caroline's "rusty ship" and a touching dedication to John Peel. Rebel-Rouser and Ramrod evoke rock's wild youth so quintessentially you half expect the crowd to tear the seats up. Road Trip's Bleaklow Air and Mexborough Ferry Boat Halt beautifully relocate the Tennesee twang to contemporary South Yorkshire.

The mightily twanging Peter Gunn inspired everyone from the Cramps to Art of Noise, and has the audience on their feet and the guitar man running out of prepared tunes. Someone in the audience shouts a rapturously received solution: "Play 'em all again!"


Dave Simpson

The GuardianTramp

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