Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Al Allen - The Fabulous Guitar Of All Allendotdotdot
artworkAl Allen (Albert Punturi) was a guitarist and session player. He had just one single issued under his own name, "I'm Beat" c/w "Egghead" in 1959. This CD is comprised of a tracks recorded between 1958 and 1962, all but the two being unreleased. With Al Allen are Dominic Scafone (drums), Al Wilson (bass), Nick Harris (guitar), and Alex Colburn (sax). A couple of interesting notes: there's a 1959 instro with the title "Surfin'," probably titled much later, but if not, the earliest surf song title I know of; and two live recordings from maybe 1959 that are not listed on the sleeve.
Picks: Tammy, Twilight Time, Caravan, Al's Boogie, Egghead, Sound Waves, Surfin'

Track by Track Review


Cat's Boogie dotdotdot
Easy Country Guitar (Instrumental)

"Cat's Boogie" is a slow boogie in the rural rock tradition. The guitar work is very smooth. While it doesn't really stand out from the crowd for the most part, there is a pretty original attack on the break, with Allen playing two strings to crate harmony with his own guitar.

Coquette dotdotdot
Easy Country Guitar (Instrumental)

This is very much influenced by the jazz noodlers of the day, and maybe Les Paul. The playing is very good, and the echo well applied to the guitar.

I'm Confessin' dotdot
Easy Country Guitar (Instrumental)

"I'm Confessin'" is very much in the style of the easy listening guitarists of the fifties. Guys like Les Paul and Chet Atkins made silky instros like this. It's pretty and echo driven. but doesn't really stand out.

I Can't Get Started dotdot
Easy Country Guitar (Instrumental)

"I Can't Get Started" is aptly titled. This Les Paul inspired track is liquidy smooth and slow, but you won't remember it tomorrow.

Never On Sunday dotdotdot
Easy Country Guitar (Instrumental)

Manos Hadjidakis's theme for the 1960 film of the same name is nicely played here. It reminds some of Buddy Merrill's version, but less gimmicky. Very good playing and rich tone.

Tammy dotdotdot
Easy Country Guitar (Instrumental)

This is one gently flowing version of Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher's "Tammy" from the film Debbie Reynolds also starred in. While in the same Les Paul vein as many others here, it's shear loveliness makes it worth checking out.

The Waltz You Saved For Me dotdot
Easy Country Guitar (Instrumental)

Delicate and precise, "The Waltz You Saved For Me" is just too pretty. That said, once it's out of ram, it's gone.

Blue Mirage dotdotdot
Easy Country Guitar (Instrumental)

This is a bouncy number in a rocking chair kinda way. Lush country meets Les Paul tone and a nifty rhythm pattern. Kitchen table after midnight, or anticipation there of. Stylistically similar to "Never On Sunday."

Birth Of The Blues dotdotdot
Easy Country Guitar (Instrumental)

Al Allen plays "Birth Of The Blues" with more smooth than just about anyone. It's a very pretty and smooth rendering of Ray Henderson's song, written in 1926 and first recorded by Cab Calloway in 1943.

Twilight Time dotdotdot
Easy Country Guitar (Instrumental)

This version of The Three Suns' "Twilight Time" has the romantic appeal of The Platters' 1958 hit, but polishes up the guitar wizardry of the original. It's very nicely done, and stands out among the others here that are stylistically in the same neighborhood.

Jack's Melody dotdotdot
Easy Country Guitar (Instrumental)

"Jack's Melody" is a little like "Twilight Time," but a little less liquidy. This easy going number slithers at times. Quite pretty.

Caravan dotdotdot
Easy Country Guitar (Instrumental)

This is a very original treatment of Juan Tizol and Duke Ellington's "Caravan." Some very tight picking and junior flash, along with a moody backtrack. Truly easy, yet hints of rocking innards peak out of the late night studio. Al Allen's guitar occasionally rocks, as if the engineer was saying play quiet, and I'll make it sound loud (very common in those days), but Allen just couldn't hold back. You can almost see the engineer wince! Very tasteful.

Sleep dotdotdot
Easy Country Guitar (Instrumental)

This is a lovely version of Little Willy John's "Sleep." It's all delicate and silky, and while not remarkable, it is very satisfying.

Sweet And Fast dotdot
Easy Country Guitar (Instrumental)

"Sweet And Fast" is sweet alright, but it sure moves slow. The lovely melody pours off the guitar like rivulets on the window in the rain.

Al's Boogie dotdotdot
Easy Country Guitar (Instrumental)

Bordering on guitar boogie shuffle, and employing an Echoplex and occasionally hard driven picking, "Al's Boogie" is attractive from a playing point of view. The guitar levels are all over the map as Al Allen puts big energy in sometimes, and backs way off others.

I'm Beat dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

With extreme tremolo, "I'm Beat" moves slowly in a blues setting. The melody riff is tasteful and cool in that little town bar way. Groovy.

Egghead dotdotdot
Country Rockabilly Rock & Roll (Instrumental)

This would be just a dismissible b-side if it weren't for the bizarre guitar sound. The vibrato is set at hyper oscillate, giving it a disturbed and almost insect like quality. Not melodic, just riffy, but still intriguing.

Sound Waves dotdotdot
Easy Country Guitar (Instrumental)

Intense tremolo throb and a boogie beat lumber along in an attempt at rock'n'roll. Some cool drum work, but the repetitious nature of the song holds it back. The break is another story, based on a cool riff.

Surfin' dotdotdot
Easy Country Guitar (Instrumental)

There's nothing surf about "Surfin'" except the title. Recorded in 1958, it's very much a tremolo boogie. Still, it's intense and more rock'n'roll than most here. Big echo on the drums, which are pretty cool at times.

Egghead dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Out past the end of Surfin' is an unlisted live version of "Egghead" that's really cool. The vintage vibe of the dank bar creates a genuine sense of vintage rock'n'roll. Great sax work and a grooving backing band.

Movin' And Groovin' dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a raw and groovy live recording of Lee Hazlewood and Duane Eddy's "Movin' And Groovin'."