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Don’t ask. I have no idea what the hell the title means either and frankly I don’t really want to know.

I’m sure it’s got a reasonable explanation, maybe it’s a foreign word that means something exotic, or maybe it’s just the name of a stripper, or perhaps it’s some senseless chant that one of the musician’s three year old kid was singing at home that stuck in their head and so they used it here.

It doesn’t matter. Whatever language it is, wherever it came from, whatever it means is irrelevant. It might just as well be some nonsensical jumble of letters decided upon because of the phonetic qualities of it.

Let’s face it, musicians aren’t always the most level headed of people to begin with, especially those coming from a jazz background. Surely more than one of them in the studio that day was quite familiar with the effects of some potent herb and so whatever comes out of their mouths in that condition makes as much sense as the gurglings of an infant, so you can’t be expected to understand it just because you’ve chosen to listen to the record.

Maybe it’s best that you don’t know what the title means anyway because over the course of a two-sided record in which it gets repeated far more often than any word, logical or not, has any business being sung, spoken or chanted, you’re going to be sick to death of it so the less said about it here, the better.


If One Is Good, Two Must Be Better
Never a honker, but a willing accomplice in the rock ascension of others, Eddie Chamblee was now poised to pursue stardom of his own.

That is if he even wanted it.

Though it’s fairly clear that Miracle Records were hoping for a repeat of Long Gone, the two-part Sonny Thompson record from last year that Chamblee’s sax work had helped to make the biggest rock hit of the year, the fact remains that other than this being a two-sided single as well, there’s not much in common with it as this tries to encompass every style imaginable from bop to rock and mostly misses.

Like the acclaimed hit that came from those Thompson collaborations, Dureop also attempts to establish a repetitive mid-tempo groove that will allow for the individual band members – almost certainly the Sharps & The Flats, who had backed Thompson in the studio for those late 1947 sessions, who appear on this – to take turns “improvising” over the basic arrangement.

The difference is none of the parts – from the underlying groove to the various solos – are the equal of what was on the Thompson smash. Oh, and on that one Sonny wasn’t chanting a stupid word for no explicable reason other than to drive you mad so he could abscond with your keys, you wallet and your girlfriend while you banged your head on the bar in frustration.

Designed To Drive You Crazy
But let’s not focus on that unfortunate recurring attribute quite yet and instead let start by concentrating on what does work fairly well if you can see your way to pick it out from the vocal dross that quickly obscures it.

Chamblee’s sax kicks off Dureop with an eleven note refrain that forms the basis of the entire song. In of itself it sounds okay, a little seductive even, like it’s working hard to put you in a trance. His tone is good, it’s got a lilting quality to it that’s fairly alluring and overall you like where it seems to be heading.

Then the vocals come in.

They’re repeating the same line as the sax, except they’re using the three syllable word “dureop” to replicate it. Same cadence, three notes followed by a pause then three more note and another pause before concluding with a stuttering “duh-duh dureop” to close it out… before starting all over again. And over again.

And over again.

Ad nauseum.

The effect this has might’ve been okay had they just injected it sporadically, letting the musicians carry the same hook on their instruments while the voices only stepped in when Chamblee took a break before or after soloing. Instead they keep it up for the entire first side. Aside from being as aggravating as anything they could possibly come up with, their so-called vocals conspire to completely obscure what Chamblee is doing, which is actually quite good.

His sax playing sort of mirrors the voices at times then ramps it up and comes up with a flourish that closes out each refrain. These are perfectly appropriate for rock ‘n’ roll in every way. Their tone is full and rich, a little sultry (and a little smutty even), and for the most part there’s no sign of loftier musical aspirations.

Chamblee may not be performing an aural striptease like so many sax players in rock, nor clubbing you over the head with his horn as others specialize in and there’s no raunchy displays of honks and squeals to shock you either. But what he’s doing is giving you something solid to grab hold of and then pulling you along with him as grinds away… provided you can focus on him rather than the inane vocal injections.

Strip those from the record and Part One may have had enough appeal to become a modest hit but since they insisted on including it you turn the record over with some trepidation to see what torture possibly awaits you on the other half.

Losing Your Way
Imagine your surprise – and delight – when you find there aren’t any voices to be found, at least not anywhere close to what tainted Side One.


Right?… Well, not exactly, because while their absence is entirely welcome what’s also missing is Chamblee for the most part, who just softly blows that same riff in the background while the pianist James Craig along with Arvin Garrett on guitar take the leads instead.

This actually starts out okay, although that might just be relief cascading over your for not hearing any voices, and just past the forty second mark Garrett gets his solo which has you hoping he’ll contribute something worthwhile. Sad to say that’s not the case, for although what he plays is deftly executed it falls well short of being captivating, which for a song like this is mandatory if they want to pull you in.

For starters it’s light as a feather in tone, sort of a gentle caressing of your cheek rather than anything more tangible to ensure a visceral response, but while it sounds okay it doesn’t have any sense of direction. There’s no riff he drills into your head, no rhythm he locks in on to transfix you, there’s not even a firm beginning, middle and end to it all, it just sort of wanders around unobtrusively, not really bothering anyone but lost in a world of its own.

When Craig follows with his solo it too starts off fairly well, pounding the keys as if to announce his presence and boogieing with some assertiveness that is entirely welcome, but then he too gets led astray by unfocused aims. It’s not helped that the disembodied voices return briefly here, but even they soon get bored with these misguided ideas and head out for lunch while Craig inexplicably starts to play some flowery mush instead of sticking with something more appropriate by which time you’re actually heading out the door to follow those annoying voices to a diner for a sandwich.

What stops you momentarily is Chamblee stepping to the microphone for his most prominent part since the first side, but even this is little more than the core riff repeated to the fade, none too enthusiastically either. Despite this dismal showing, for a record that never gets out of second gear, Dureop still manages to leave you exhausted just from having to contend with so many bad decisions at each and every turn.

A Flummoxed Fix
The sad thing of course is this would’ve been so easy to salvage just by removing the one most obvious blight on the record by stuffing socks in everybody’s mouth when they hit the “record” button. The only one among them who needed his mouth free was Chamblee and as fitting his modest unassuming persona he didn’t say a word the entire time they were recording.

We wish we could say the same about the others.

If you then wanted to tighten up Part Two by getting both Garrett and Craig to focus more on maintaining the song’s basic riff and just embellishing it with some more fire we certainly wouldn’t protest, but really it’s Part One, the side that prominently features Chamblee – the star of the show after all – that was most important to this going over with audiences and so it probably doesn’t matter much what they did on Side Two.

Dureop wasn’t done in by bad playing, at least not on Chamblee’s part, but rather it was a victim of bad decisions, both in the original arrangement of the song and the executive decisions after it was laid on wax as Miracle Records seemed to recognize these flaws and brought Chamblee in again a month later to re-cut the song with a slightly smaller group, excising Part Two altogether and only allowing vocal nonsense on one of the three takes they recorded that day.

Apparently none of them were deemed worthy and so they chose the original two-part version, insipid chanting and all, as the one they ultimately released. In the end that decision may have wound up costing them a hit for a promising idea and certainly cost them here, resulting in a score that perfectly sums up something so maddeningly uninspired.


(Visit the Artist page of Eddie Chamblee for the complete archive of his records reviewed to date)