Various Artists

The Twang Gang

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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger

In the late '50s and early '60s, the same circle of musicians who worked on Duane Eddy's records with Lee Hazlewood also worked on numerous other rock and pop discs with Hazlewood in Phoenix. The Twang Gang collects 18 of these (although a couple of Sanford Clark tracks actually date from 1973). This is more for collectors looking to fill in the blanks of early rock & roll history than it is for the general fan. But it's pleasant, unremarkable rock with a country-pop flavor, sometimes edging into mild rockabilly, at other times getting into teen idol territory. The Hazlewood cult will have their alarms tweaked by a couple of rare 1960 cuts billed to him and Duane Eddy, including the characteristically gloomy (for Hazlewood) "Girl on Death Row," with some great low twangs by Eddy. There are also both sides of a 1958 single Hazlewood did under the pseudonym Mark Robinson, including an atypical pass at rockabilly, "Pretty Jane." The Two Dons' "Funny Honey" is one of the closest facsimiles of the Everly Brothers you'll hear, its guitar rhythms pinched from the Everlys' "Claudette." There are too many teen idol tunes from Donnie Owens here (eight in all), but that's probably because he was the only artist on the set to get a big hit during the time; his "Need You" peaked at number 25 in 1958.

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