When you hear twang, you probably think of Duane Eddy, whose name has been attached to that word so often he ought to copyright it for himself. Or, if you think slightly sleazy twang, you might think of Link Wray, the only man to have an instrumental banned from radio for being obscene. This, by way of introduction to this anthology, is giving props to the obvious influences you will find therein. An Outbreak of Twangin’: Phantom Guitars Vol. 1 is not only a rocking slab of rare British guitar instrumentals from the early ’60s, it is also a blatant tribute to those two twangers who made it all possible.
The Blackjacks’ “The Red Dragon” oozes long, Eddy-esque notes, complete with the brooding posturing that is essential for a good rockin’. Likewise, with its surf touches, “Neb’s Tune” by Ahab & the Wailers struts across a simple melody, giving it more menace than it might have had.
As for Wray’s influence, check out the fuzz fiesta that is the Ramblers’ “Just for Kicks,” or “Husky Team” by the Saints. Other gems to dig include Alan Caddy’s “Workout,” the country–tinged “Ghost Train” by Bert Weedon, and the semi-live, fully sloppy tastiness of the Saxons’ “Saxon Warcry,” which for my money is the jewel of the set.
You have to give the Brits props for being such big fans early on of Link Wray, Duane Eddy, Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent; as they did with Chicago blues, young Brits with guitars ate up the harder stuff while learning their instruments. An Outbreak of Twangin’: Phantom Guitars Vol. 1 offers 26 tracks of evidence of the early fruits of that admiration. This is a fun, occasionally wild ride.