Huelyn Duvall

The Best of Huelyn Duvall

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To listen to The Best of Huelyn Duvall is to wonder what might have been. These 13 songs as they stand are prime late '50s rockabilly given a bit of a Nashville/Hollywood sheen (country uberproducer Owen Bradley produced most of these sessions, recorded for Gene Autry's L.A.-based Challenge label) somewhere between Ricky Nelson's earliest singles and the early Elvis Presley sessions for RCA Victor. Yet it's clear that the Texas-born Duvall has a hint of the wildman in him. He might not be just plain nuts in the Hazel Adkins style, but he's certainly at least on the level of folks like Billy Lee Riley or Ronnie Dawson, as evinced by songs like the frankly lascivious "Pucker Paint" (the way he leers "Is you is or is you ain't gonna gimme some?" suggests that as far as he's concerned, there's only one right answer) and the party-hearty summertime anthem "Three Months To Kill." But Bradley's production and Challenge's mainstream aspirations rein him in too much. Songs like the pure country "Friday Night On A Dollar Bill" and "Hum-m-m-m-dinger" are catchy enough, but they promise much more than they deliver. Pity Huelyn Duvall hadn't shown up on Sam Phillips' doorstep sometime in late '56...

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