Deke Dickerson & the Eccofonics
Listen to Deke Dickerson & the Eccofonics on "Top of the Line"
Hailing from the wilds of Missouri, double-neck guitar wizard and rock 'n' roll snake charmer Deke Dickerson is that ultra rare example of a true blue rock 'n' roller whose not only mastered every important element of the genre, but made a huge contribution to the music's evolving tradition by keeping it simple and doing it right.
As a teenager, Dickerson took his cues from local heroes like Herbie Duncan, the Krazy Kats and the Rebel Rousers, all the while paving the way for the surf craze of the '90s with his seminal frat rock band the Untamed Youth. After distilling some of the best music that the genre has seen since the Trashmen and the Rivieras were in the top ten on four albums for Norton Records, the Youth cut out for California-Beverly Hillbillies style. Once on the coast, Deke hooked up with fellow Midwesterner Dave Stuckey and formed the Dave and Deke Combo, an outfit whose mountain harmonies, rural twang and dead-on lyricism immediately cast them as the natural successors to the cream of the West Coast country scene that had been established during the forties and fifties. It made perfect sense, as artists like Merrill Moore, Skeets McDonald, the Collins Kids and Hank Penny had all made the familiar trek from the South and Midwest to the West Coast in the path of their dust bowl predecessors, recording a harder-edged style of country music than Nashville's Grand Ole Opry would ever have approved of, informing and even welcoming rock 'n' roll's arrival in the mid fifties. If the Untamed Youth had been the band that Jethro Bodine would have dreamed of leading during his Sophisticated International Playboy phase, there can be no doubt that Dave & Deke -- whose sound was described singularly as "Hillbilly Power" -- were the group from which he'd have drawn his musical inspiration in the first place.
After the heart-breaking demise of the Combo, Deke struck musical black gold yet again with the Ecco-Fonics, a band that, if nothing else, employed all aspects of his previous doings with many newer ones as well. The double-neck Mosrite guitar that had been his trademark with Dave & Deke was still ever present, but it now dispensed licks worthy of Dick Dale and Link Wray as well as Joe Maphis and Jimmy Bryant. Their songs followed suit as the band proved their mastery of every important sub-genre of rock 'n' roll from New Orleans R&B to Western Swing. The genre-jumping present in Deke's latest aggregation truly boggles the mind, but let us remember friends, this is what made the music so great in the first place. Perhaps the most attractive element of Dickerson's rock 'n' roll crusade is that he doesn't feel the need to "justify" that which is already great to begin with by dressing it up with overproduction, "relevant" lyrics" or unnecessary "guest" artists. Instead, an unwavering dedication to his craft finds him blazing trails with the most straightforward of recording concepts, timeless song writing and the occasionally fitting contribution by guest artists whose real contributions to the founding of rock 'n' roll out weigh their name recognition. Joey D'Ambrosio, Claude Trenier and Hadda Brooks have all contributed to past Ecco-Fonics albums, while Earl Palmer lays down his inimitable beat on their latest Deke Dickerson In 3-Dimensions.