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Release Info: Deke Dickerson & the Ecco-Fonics: More Million Sellers (1999)
In this modern age filled with Nashvegas music, a unheard album from Deke Dickerson is a welcome spin in the CD player, indeed. Dickerson is nothing short of the reincarnation of Joe Maphis, right down to the double-necked Mosrite guitar and buck-toothed grin. Few modern guitar-slingers of the Stevie Ray Vaughan-abee variety would attempt the intricate minor-key picking of Maphis' "Rockin' Gypsy." But there's also a musical agenda and versatility at Dickerson's command that allows his music to embrace honky tonk country, Merle Travis, Link Wray, surf, rockabilly, Western swing, early-'60s pop, and doo-wop -- all of it tweaked with an enthusiasm and sense of warped humor that's positively contagious. Only Dickerson would have Billy Barty introduce his album and have Jerry Scoggins, the guy who sang the theme from the Beverly Hillbillies TV show, close it out. Once the novelty wears off, you realize that he's pulled it off, that somehow Dickerson makes it all work -- the nuttiness bookended in between rockers, torchy twangers, honky-tonk stompers, and guitar workouts of all stripes. Even Nervous Norvus' "The Fang" gets a new groove and paint job as Dickerson reinterprets it for the modern age as "My Name Is Deke." In addition to Dickerson's top-notch guitar work and infectious singing (the guy sounds like he has a perpetual smile on his lips), kudos go to the guest piano work Carl Sonny Leyland, quite possibly the best boogie-woogie flame-thrower out there. His jackhammer style enlivens many a track on this disc and he duets with the star on "I Think You Gotta Pay for That." Another audio bonus is the mix on this disc; the excitement leaps out of the speakers and pulls you right into this rockin' little cauldron of tape echo and snappy picking. Albums like this are the reason that roots music will survive -- and maybe even thrive well into the 21st century.
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