Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Big Guitars From Texas - Trash, Twang and Thunderdotdotdot
artworkIn 1985, a bunch of Austin's primo players conspired to cut some sides under the auspicious moniker Big Guitars From Texas. This is the first of two volumes of kick-butt instrumentals that resulted. Guitar players here are Don Leady (Tailgators, LeRoi Brothers, Headhunters, Lou Ann Barton and the Fliptops), Denny Freeman (the Storm, Southern Feeling, Cobras, Lou Ann Barton), Evan Johns (LeRoi Brothers, H-Bombs), and Frankie Camaro (Dragstrip, Moto-X, Oax Pistils, Mars Needs Women, Dino Lee's White Trash Review), backed by bassist Keith Ferguson (Johnny Winter, Doug Sahm, the Storm, Fabulous Thunderbirds, Tailgators) and drummer Mike Buck (Johnny Carroll, Fabulous Thunderbirds, Juke Jumpers, Five Careless Lovers).
Picks: Boomerang, Breaker, The Lost Incas, Shanghai Cobra, The Good, The Bad and the Ugly, Guitar Army, Chainsaw, Ride The Ruthless, Bulldoggin' Boogie, Strained, Do The Dootz, Boss, Near East Beast, 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.

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.

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly dotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Spaghetti westerns always make for interesting rearrangement. This version of one of the most often covered pieces from the genre is direct and rich, with a basic beat and woven guitar web of twang and sting. It throbs and plays with your sensibilities, because the rhythm is contrary to what's you'd expect, and that leaves it in different territory.

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.

Chainsaw dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

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

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.

Bulldoggin' Boogie dotdotdot
Boogie (Instrumental)

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

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.

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.

Boss dotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

This Cramps-ish cover of the Rumblers' "Boss" is all about the chords and the chunk. Guitars replace sax, and provide a raw edged drive that's different from the original. Grodie and dark, with great drums.

Near East Beast dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

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

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.