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Twangin’ ‘N’ A-Traddin’ Revisited

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Ashley Hutchings’ Big Beat Combo’s instrumental album Twangin’ ‘n’ a-Traddin’, originally released in July 1994. It is now ‘Revisited’ with the addition of three songs that expressively recall the pre-Beatles’ era and the sentiments of the teenage Hutchings simultaneously discovering rock ‘n’ roll and girls.

In simple terms, Twangin’ ‘n’ a-Traddin’ paid homage to a long-gone age of pop music during the late 50s and early 60s when the Top Twenty of the day would always feature a number of instrumental hits. “When I started to learn my instrument all those years ago,” said Hutchings in the original liner notes, “it was the sound of Johnny and the Hurricanes and Bill Black’s Combo which I longed to emulate, not the Spinners or the Kingston Trio.” Twangin’ ‘n’ a-Traddin’ accordingly presented rock ‘n’ pop instrumentals with traditional playing alongside folk tunes and a handful of Hutchings’ originals which were given rock ‘n’ roll arrangements and sensibilities.

The approach was also evident in the choice of musicians who played on the album. Some of Hutchings’ regular sidekicks including Richard Thompson, Simon Nicol, Phil Beer and Simon Care were joined by genuinely legendary session men of the 60s, notably guitarist Colin Green, best known as a member of Georgie Fame’s Blue Flames and drummer Clem Cattini who played on so many of Joe Meek’s classic productions. These included the Tornadoes ‘Telstar’ which even topped the American pop charts, the first British single to do so some three years before the British Invasion. Hutchings’ Big Beat Combo, with the great Clem Cattini on drums and the completely unexpected penny whistle of Richard Thompson, radically but eloquently rearranged ‘Telstar’ along with other classic hits – the Shadows’ ‘F.B.I’, the Ventures’ ‘Walk Don’t Run’ and a rebel rousing Duane Eddy medley.

A series of coincidences followed that put Hutchings in contact with The Velveteens ? three teenage Yorkshire lasses who, out of school, dressed, sang and performed just like the vocal groups of the late 50s/early 60s. The girls recorded two newly written songs – ‘The Boy With The Red Guitar’ and ‘(As I) Walked Out One Morning’. These two recordings, and Hutchings’ moving and evocative ‘Welcome To The World’, a song about ‘first attractions, first fumblings and first love’, now make up the newly re-titled Twangin’ ‘n’ a-Traddin’ Revisited.

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1. F.B.I.
2. The Sherwood Hand-Jive
3. Riff Raff
4. Twistin’ Till Monday Comes Around/Twistin’ Welsh Girls
5. Telstar
6. The Boy With The Red Guitar
7. Walk Don’t Run
8. Duane Eddy Medley (Moving And A Grooving/Rebel Rouser/Detour Clackety Melodeon)
9. (As I) Walked Out One Morning
10. Horsin’ Around
11. Spyder Walk
12. Spinnin’ Jenny/Soldiers’ Spree
13. Twang Me Down Me Old Mohair Space-Suit
14. Welcome To The World