Durocs – Durocs

January 01, 1970

(Real Gone Music)




Back in the day, the Durocs were more or less an anomaly, an
unlikely pairing of two artists of dramatically differing trajectories. Ron
Nagle was a seasoned musician who honed his chops on the fringes of San Francisco psychedelia,
as well as the bearer of an obscure 1970 solo album inexplicably dubbed Bad Rice. Scott Matthews made his name
as a prodigious teenager, playing drums with Elvin Bishop and Steve Perry
before allowing his ambitions to blossom elsewhere. After the two joined forces
and signed with Capitol Records, they released an eponymous effort that dazzled
the critics and offered the fleeting suspicion that they were destined to
become Rock’s Next Big Thing.


Then again, that was the early ‘80s, after punk gave way to
power pop and when cleverness and a knack for a ready refrain were all that were
needed to get the pundits buzzing. Durocs boasted all that and more, including over-the-top arrangements, bombastic
hooks, wit, intelligence and a pure pop savvy that mined more than its share of
retro references. Case in point – an irrepressible redo of Gene Pitney’s “It
Hurts To Be In Love” led the surge, but it was the boisterous “Hog Wild” and
“Lie To Me” – not to mention billowy ballads like “One Day At A Time” and
“Don’t Let the Dream Die” – that gave nods to their effusive attitude. Eight
bonus tracks added to this long overdue reissue further affirm the duo’s
prodigious talents, but it was their accomplishments behind the scenes later on
— in support of John Hiatt, Elvis Costello, Robert Cray and others – that
would eventually assure their success. Nevertheless, Durocs still sounds as effervescent as ever, and though it’s not
quite the novelty it seemed at the time, it’s a welcome reminder of quirkier
times filled with fun and finesse.


Hurts To Be In Love,” “Hog Wild” LEE ZIMMERMAN

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