It was so simple in the '50s. The head of a record label loaded up the trunk of his office, usually a Cadillac, with boxes of 45s and hit the road with his star attraction seated next to him. As they traveled from sock hop to sock hop, playing records and performing for the kids, they scratched out a living. It was a hard, uncomfortable existence, trying in a very personal way, to create a buzz. No mass media. No ads in the trades. Along the way persuading, with a few dollars on the side, the local radio DJs to play your record.
Harry Finfer had started Jamie Records, named after his daughter. One of his signings was Arizona guitarist Duane Eddy. Playing his Grestch guitar through an echo box Eddy had created a unique sound. So Finfer and Eddy hit the road to promote Eddy's first single "Movin' 'n' Groovin'." It didn't do much but lay the groundwork for his smash, "Rebel Rouser." He got on American Bandstand where his good looks translated well.
Having paid his dues Eddy eventually left Jamie Records for a better deal. More singles hit the charts with "Because They're Young," the title theme from a movie starring James Darren and Tuesday Weld and featuring Bandstand host Dick Clark as a high school teacher, was a worldwide hit.
"Rebel Rouser" was one of Duane Eddy's several instrumental hits. His gut-rumbling guitar had a force and power to it. And unlike the guitarists a decade later he even played the lower "E," "A" and "D" strings. Even so, his trademark sound came from tuning the treble up and the bass down. He had several hits including "40 Miles of Bad Road." Eddy's pop career ended when his style of instrumental wore out. But he kept playing and recording. That's why "Twang Thing: The Duane Anthology" is the best bet. It has a lot more variety to it than a single Eddy album and also displays his intense creativity.