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Long-Lost Honkers & Twangers
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  • Liner Note Authors: Dave Burke ; Alan Taylor.
  • Too often, rock & roll instrumentals are considered filler when they were often a pivotal part of the pre-Beatles rock & roll experience. Ace's 2013 collection Long-Lost Honkers & Twangers doesn't collect the best of that forgotten era -- the title itself is a tip-off that the compilation concentrates on oddities, not known quantities -- but by balancing 13 rare singles with 13 previously unreleased sides, the compilation re-creates an era when echoed guitars could be a groovy thing in and of itself. Certainly, there are times when the surging rhythms recall surf rock -- many of these bands are Californian and even if they weren't, the rush of cascading waves was an irresistible temptation to mimic -- but some groups have a CinemaScope bent to their sonic vistas while other bands get down and dirty, concentrating not on the melody but the rhythm. Others gussy up familiar melodies -- the Champs, famed for "Tequila," give "South of the Border" a bit of a cinematic swing, Johnny & the Hurricanes rock "Red River Rock '67" pretty hard, while elsewhere they turn "Glo Worm" inside-out as "The Psychedelic Worm" -- but this should never be thought of as progressive music: these are working bands, from the garage to the studio, cranking out music designed to keep the dancefloor hopping; trends be considered but ultimately damned. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
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