I spent the week leading up to New Year’s in the charming city of Hudson, N.Y. Hudson lies adjacent to the east bank of the Hudson River along the west border of Columbia County, and as you stroll along Warren Street past the numerous stores set up within historical Federal, Italianate, and Queen Anne buildings you begin to feel that you stepped onto the Main Street set of “The Wonder Years;” albeit a much more racially diverse Wonder Years than the one Kevin Arnold inhabited. While walking with a friend, he stated, “It feels like I’m walking in America.” And with its warm community and aesthetics it certainly does feel like “America.”
Well, while there I heard two songs that immediately clicked with me. The first, I heard while drinking my third deliciously dark Crossroads Black Rock Stout at the cozy bookstore, Spotty Dog Books & Ale, which is situated within the C.H. Evans firehouse, built in 1889.
The song “Stalkin‘” is from Rock ‘n’ Roll guitarist Duane Eddy’s 1958 debut album, Have ‘Twangy’ Guitar Will Travel. As the title alludes, Duane made a name for himself on the signature “twang” technique of his guitar playing, which was cooked-up by Duane and his producer/writing partner, the brilliantly idiosyncratic Lee Hazelwood (who perhaps is most famous for his duets with Nancy Sinatra, which produced hits like “These Boots Are Made For Walking” and “Some Velvet Morning”). “Eddy obtained his trademark sound by picking on the low strings of a Chet Atkins-model Gretsch 6120 hollowbody guitar, turning up the tremolo and running the signal through an echo chamber” (Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, 2010). This album features numerous talent, such as saxophonist Steve Douglas, who would go on to work as part of Phil Spector’s Wrecking Crew, as well as play on The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds, and Bob Dylan’s Street Legal.
Duane Eddy’s music was all about attitude and atmosphere; it’s reminiscent to me of director David Lynch’s attempts to reveal the horror and lust that lurks behind a hot-rods and Hardy Boys façade. The song “Stalkin” in particular perfectly encompasses my juvenile beliefs of what it would be like to encounter a mysterious woman…and I guess in a way I still believe it would sound exactly like this.
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Like it? Buy it.
The second song that just hooked me I heard a few days later while a bunch of us were eating thick and juicy burgers at the local, farm-fresh diner, Grazin’. I ordered “The Cowboy”: grass-fed burger topped with an over easy pastured egg, cheddar cheese, and country ham—yes please! While finishing it all off with a shake a familiar melody played so sweet we all could not help but sing along. Off of the Chicago-based soul quartet The Chi-Lites’ 1971 album (For God’s Sake) Give More Power to the People, single “Have You Seen Her” is one of those perfect songs that, although it conveys such a wistful sentiment, just feels so damn good to sing along to. Co-written by lead vocalist Eugene Record along with Brunswick Records’ artist Barbara Acklin, here’s the 70s doo-wop soul classic:
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Like it? Buy it.
So if you have a little time, give these a spin and take a trip up to Hudson—it feels good.
Hazelwood, L. (1958). Stalkin’ [Recorded by Duane Eddy] On Have ‘Twangy’ Guitar Will Travel [CD] Jamie Records. (1958). Jamie/Guyden. (1999)
Record, E. & Acklin, B. (1971). Have You Seen Her [Recorded by The Chi-Lites] On (For God’s Sake) Give More Power to the People [CD]. Brunswick Records (1971). Edsel Records UK. (2004)
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. (2010). Duane Eddy Biography. The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Retrieved February 1st, 2012 from http://rockhall.com/inductees/duane-eddy/bio/