Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Big Guitars From Texas - S/Tdotdotdot
artworkIn 1985 and '86, a bunch of Austin players decided to conspire to cut some sides. What resulted was two volumes of kick-butt instrumentals under the banner of Big Guitars From Texas. This CD couples 21 of the 26 tracks. Most tracks are packed with the Austin sounds of the day, feisty and tight.
Picks: Boomerang, Breaker, Groovus, Holiday For Hoss, Strained, Guitar Army, Guitarget, High Tide In Hub City, Bulldoggin' Boogie, Do The Dootz, Ride The Ruthless, Sunburn, Chainsaw, The Absorber, The Lost Incas, Shanghai Cobra, Alamo Beach, Neanderthal, Near East Beast, Hardy Street, Riot In Huntsville

Track by Track Review

Boomerang dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Big time chunk and edge, lumbering rhythm a bit like "I'm A Man," but more metallic. Big edgy Austin-tatious instro, whammy laden and powerful, but not very surfy.

Breaker dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is one of those surf-based Austin tracks that has endured the test of time. Written in part by Frankie Camaro (Dragstrip), it's been covered by several of the Bay Area surf bands in their live sets, including the Berzerkers. It shreds. Very powerful.

Groovus dotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

A surfy groovy number with lots of edge, and a strong simpler melody. It has enough surf to fit, though it's clearly not intended to be a surf song. A solid track.

Holiday For Hoss dotdotdot
Spaghetti Western (Instrumental)

Galloping drums, cowboy sensibilities, edgy guitars, and a Spaghetti feel. Melodic, and very entertaining.

Strained dotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

A big number with that "Rumble" influence. The dramatic intro yields to a fast powerhouse shredder. Cool song! Some ripping glissandoes are displayed.

Guitar Army dotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Deluxe glissandoes inserted into a pretty standard rock instro progression, not quite as interesting as the other Frankie Camaro compositions, but the guitar work is equally fast and flying.

Guitarget dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Austin sensibilities, and lots of edgy twang, but little to hang a surf hat on.

High Tide In Hub City dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

From the title, you'd expect... it opens with a "Scratchy" pick slide, then proceeds to a rock instro format. It's very well played, of course, but more a jam than a song, though it does sport an infectious hook.

Bulldoggin' Boogie dotdotdot
Boogie (Instrumental)

Boogie is right, fun, energetic, and... where's the barn?

Do The Dootz dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

A bluesy rock instro that is mostly a progression in the late fifties sense, with some influences from the late forties race band sound. Cool, but no surf for you here.

Ride The Ruthless dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The LeRoi Brothers have done this a couple of times. It's a cool melody, and it's supported by a galloping backtrack. The whammy is hot, and it's infectious, but entirely void of surf.

Sunburn dotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

A surfy backtrack, vibrato guitar, and a very cool rhythm that invokes spies and waves sucks you in. This is a cool song. It has an ominous feel to it, and a simple but effective melody line.

Chainsaw dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Opening with a chain saw starting, it quickly leads into an intense guitar bashing, edgy, forceful, and threatening.

The Absorber dotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

A strong track, featuring a simple melody, edgy sound, and bongos for good measure. A tad surfy and dangerous.

The Lost Incas dotdotdotdot
Surf Exotica (Instrumental)

Indians, border town images, jungle exotica, and loungy slither. This is a very VERY cool tune, capable of taming the wildest shrew with it's silky guitar, tribal guitar, and bird calls. Great track.

Shanghai Cobra dotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Frankie Camaro still does this with his band Dragstrip. It's a hot shredder, double picked, poundy, and progression based. Cool track, despite being melody limited.

Alamo Beach dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Shimmering guitar tones, cool lounginess, plinky piano, layered sound, infectious. Not terribly melodic, but very fine listening.

Neanderthal dotdotdot
Stone Age (Instrumental)

Slow, nuckledragging vibrato, lowbrow cave dweller ominous. What you would have expected from the Piltdown Men had you never heard their rerecording. Cool, humorous, and fun.

Near East Beast dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Not a hint of Middle Eastern melodies or structures, more near-polka Austin power chunk.

Hardy Street dotdotdot
Galloping Surf (Instrumental)

Tom-tom driven, galloping, almost spaghetti western, near surf infectious as hell instrumental wonderment. A great track, required listening for understanding the Texas surf connection.

Riot In Huntsville dotdotdot
Jailhouse Rock (Instrumental)

"This Is The Warden..." and machine guns and down and dirty rockabilly drums and a rumble in the jail house all ooze here. Cool and ugly track.