Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA Collection: The Dog's Bollocks Of U.S.A. Rock 'n' Roll Instrumentals Vol. 7
|There is a lot less cool surf on volume seven - virtually none as it happens. There are some nice gems, and some really ho-hum tracks too. Not at all essential.|
Picks: The 5 Counts - Bambino, Billy Joe and the Checkmates - Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea, Buzzy Brant - Intermission, Boots Brown and his Blockbusters - Block Buster, Danny Darren and the Drifting Playboys - Roadside Rag, Jan Davis - Malaguena, Raunchy 1970, Ritchie Hart - The Great Duane, The Keymen - Duane's Stroll, Southland, The Renegades XI - Autumn Night, Simtec Simmons - Tea Pot, Frank Slay - Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen, Bobby Summers - Cloud 9 Express, Gabor Szabo - Gypsy Queen, The Teen Beats - Claire De Lune Rock
Track by Track Review
Verging on the surf sounds to come, "Bambino" as a tasteful muted second guitar and a classic progression. The lead is pretty thin, but imagine it with reverb! It's almost there.
Aki Aleong and his Licorice Twisters - Big John
Actor Aki Aleong, who added his name to The Nobles, had done quite a bit of recording before that. Jimmy Dean's "Big John" is nicely translated into a fairly edgy rock instro. There's a chorus, but it's not too annoying.
Aki Aleong and his Licorice Twisters - Ya Ya
Some early overdrive guitar powers "Ya Ya." It's a raucous number with big rockabilly drums and a gritty feel. The organ break is a mistake, taking the power right out of it.
Aki Aleong and his Licorice Twisters - Walk On By
Leroy Van Dyke's "Walk On By" is done with significant fun and rich country twang. More fun than many of Aki Aleong and his Licorice Twisters' releases.
Billy Joe and the Checkmates - Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea
Post Surf (Instrumental)
"Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea" is much heavier than anything else from this studio amalgam. Sonar pings and echoed guitar straddle the British instro sound and the west coast regime. It's a pretty cool instro.
Buzzy Brant - Intermission
Country Surf (Instrumental)
Buzzy Brant's rich low-E guitar plays a fine melody riff that would adapt to surf very easily. It's from Nashville, so it's lighter and more playful than the developing west coast surf sound would be come. Nonetheless, "Intermission" is a bit of a foreshadow, especially with its exotic melody line. This was released in early 1962.
Boots Brown and his Blockbusters - Block Buster
OK, it's 1953, and the band sways with a big drum and sax sauce energy. Very early, and more like the tail end of big band than the beginning of rock.
Danny Darren and the Drifting Playboys - Roadside Rag
"Roadside Rag" is a really primitive country romp with some very fine speed picking. It's all fun and backwoods charm. Big grin here.
This is a pretty fun version of "Malaguena" with Spanish trumpets and castanets. The source is very bad - vinyl with pops and clicks, and mono with lots of stereo cartridge artifacts. Too bad, cuz it's a cool track.
Gutty tremolo guitar plays "Raunchy 1970" as if it just evolved. Jan Davis does a really credible job reinventing Bill Justis's "Raunchy." The faux sitar is a bit much, as is the easy sax, but the track still holds up pretty well.
The Gallants - Batman Theme
Neil Hefty's "Batman Theme" is done with little fanfare or spirit. The Gallants must be the usual suspects.
Big John Greer - Record Hop
"Record Hop" is a very early piano rockin' instrumental with a sock hop sound and feel. It's all jam, no melody. Some cool string swipes and, given the 1956 vintage, a fine mess of energy.
The Guys From Uncle - The Spy
Piano and bass drama carry off this bongo track. The guitar riff is not very spy sounding, nor is the rest of the track. I don't know who The Guys From Uncle were, but "The Spy" is not really memorable.
Ritchie Hart - The Great Duane
This vocal is reviewed here only because "The Great Duane" is a tribute to Duane Eddy, with his raw sax and hollerin' exuberance. For that alone, it's a must hear, and then there is that big twang! Too cool!
Joel Hill - Monkey Business
This is a vibrato big guitar twangster with a nice little riff, but too few guitar changes. The break is organ lead. The writer of Caterpillar Crawl and former member of The Strangers and future Canned Heat guitarist Joel Scott Hill cut this in 1963.
The Keymen - Gazachstahagen
Easy Rock (Instrumental)
Plinky piano and riffology, with sax lead and a b-side sound. There's nothing really going on here.
The Keymen - Foot Jive
Almost fuzzy guitar and cheesy chorus straddle the border between pop and rock. Tremolo intensity develops at time with the guitar, but the chorus just kills the buzz. This may be Duane Eddy and Steve Douglas.
The Keymen - Like, Help Man
Sax plays a choppy riff above the same basic riff The Beach Boys used in "Luau." From the sound and the beatnik title reference, this is likely mid fifties. Not memorable.
The Keymen - Short Fat Fanny
Boy is this a commercial b-side if I ever heard one, as if none of the players ever actually heard rock'n'roll. Trite.
The Keymen - Long Tall Sally
Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally" gets a sax cover treatment that's high energy, if nothing else. Great drums and drive.
The Keymen - Duane's Stroll
This track is a slow walkin' Duane Eddy vibrato charmer, with a pleasant riff and a bit of guts. The sax is distant and nasty as the guitar chumps and vibrates.
Duane Eddy-like charm, occasionally credited to Duane directly, "Southland" is arranged like a minor Rebel Rouser, right down to the shouts and hollers, chorus, and sax.
Some decent drums and a Booker T. and the MG's style arrangement, but it's not really more than pleasant, though the "Peter Gunn" bass lines during the raspy sax break are pretty cool!
The Renegades XI - Autumn Night
The melody is quite nice on this organ instro, and the guitar in the middle has a hint of surf edge to it. The arrangement is similar to Bruno and the Gladiators, but less crisp.
An early percussion machine backs this tremolo shimmered instro. It's as if Bo Diddley was on board at times. It's really a cool track if you get past the faux drums. In some ways, this reminds me of late period Blues Magoos.
Frank Slay - Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen
This is a rockin' horn band romp through "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen" ("To Me You're Beautiful"). Rockin' big band drums are the high point! This song was done with surf guitar by Jorgen Ingmann.
"Guitar Bustin'" is a chord progression riff rocker. The drummer is having a rockabilly good time, and the piano rip, but there's no melody and little imagination, though there's no shortage of exuberance.
Bobby Summers - Cloud 9 Express
Easy Rock (Instrumental)
Fast picking with echo and a Buddy Merrill wannabe sound - just a little less polished. The guitar flails around in meandering glissandos that are almost charming.
Bobby Summers - Runaway Guitar
"Runaway Guitar" relies heavily on the relentless rockabilly drums, walking bass, and piano frolic. It's mostly a rockin' jam. The energy is good, but you won't miss it.
Gabor Szabo - Gypsy Queen
It's 1966, and jazz guitarist Gabor Szabo is in San Francisco a lot. His amazing phrasing and writing are applied to a Latin rhythm and sensual smells. Within a year, Carlos Santana would append this song to the then of "Black Magic Woman." This, however, is the sultry original.
The Teen Beats - Claire De Lune Rock
Achille-Claude Debussy's "Claire de Lune" gets a playful dual sax treatment with a good rock backtrack. You can hear The Royaltones influence. The track is really fun. This is The Teen Beats who became The Nevegans.