Davie Allan & the Arrows: Davie Allan (guitar); Paul Johnson (guitar); Steve Pugh (bass instrument); Larry Brown (drums).
Liner Note Author: Stephen J. McParland.
Photographer: Davie Allan.
In 1965, Davie Allan was a year away from his career breakthrough with the fuzzed-out theme tune to Roger Corman's iconic biker flick The Wild Angels when he scored a minor hit with "Apache '65," and this album -- his first, credited to "The Arrows Featuring Davie Allan" -- captured the man before he fully found his voice in the studio. Allan was certainly an able guitarist at this point, and he was already playing in a gutsy, more elemental style than the average instrumental rock artist in the mid-'60s, with Apache '65 offering a few moments where he demonstrates the wilder style that would be his trademark. Allan's take on Travis Wammack's "Scratchy" is suitably tough, "Tee Pee" calls up the spirit of Link Wray's classic instrumentals, and the title cut puts a lot more speed and muscle into the melody than the Shadows or Jorgen Ingmann managed with the same tune. But Allan and his band are saddled with some questionable material along the way (who had the bright idea of covering "Red Roses for a Blue Lady"?), and overall this set is more in the vein of Duane Eddy than the tough, fuzz-busting rock of his classic work. While it wasn't a bad place to start a career, Apache '65 isn't a good place to start your Davie Allan collection -- the superb Devil's Rumble compilation tells his story far better, though this is fun stuff for Allan completists. ~ Mark Deming