Liner Note Authors: Dave Burke ; Alan Taylor.
Illustrators: Dave Burke ; Alan Taylor; Mick Patrick.
Photographers: Eric Charge; John P. Dixon.
One of the many hats worn by Lee Hazlewood is that of rock & roll instrumental pioneer. Working with guitarist Duane Eddy, he created a moving, grooving sound suited for wide screens and wide-open deserts, and soon their hits reverberated out from the pair's home base of Phoenix, Arizona, causing surf rock waves in Southern California and hot rod ravers elsewhere. Ace's 2016 compilation Shazam! collects 24 of these instrumentals, all written by Hazlewood and many produced by the pop maverick, too. Hazlewood had a cinematic ear rivaled only by arranger Jack Nitzsche and, unsurprisingly, they're responsible for the best moments here: singles that play as if all the splendor of a B movie were condensed into a 7" single. Compared to that, the cheerful, generic surfers can't help but pale, but even knockoffs of Eddy hits by the Rhythm Rockers and the Lively Ones showcase Hazlewood's knack for melodramatic melodies. Still, Shazam! is the most fun when it's overheated: when the studio orchestras swing with a smirk and the brass smears the tune, knowing that the feel itself is the hook. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine