Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Hal Blaine and the Young Cougars - Deuces, T's, Roadsters and Drumsdotdot
artworkHal Blaine and the Young Cougars are a studio project of session drummer Hal Blaine. Blaine has played on countless hit records, and developed one of the surf archetypal drum beats first displayed on the Challengers' "K-39." The "band" includes the usual suspects, Leon Russell a.k.a. Russell Bridges, Glen Campbell, Tommy Tedesco, Carol Kaye, Gracia (Jack) Nitzsche, David Gates, and James Bond. Like many studio projects, this is relatively undeveloped, and targeted at the go-go crowd. Some cool stuff, some previously unreleased, and some so-so tracks too. A few vocals are also here, including "(Dance With The) Surfin' Band," "The Drummer Plays For Me," and "The Dip."
Picks: Challenger II, Green Monster, Nashville Coupe, Mr. Eliminator, Pop The Chute, Deuces, T's, Roadsters and Drums, Gear Change, The Phantom Driver, Gear Stripper, Big T, The Traps, Drum Brakes, Hawaii 1963, East Side Story, Bulldog Drummin', Mutiny On The Bongos, How Come I Love You So Much?, Git It, Philzie's Friend

Track by Track Review

Challenger II dotdot
Drummer's Go-Go Fuzz (Instrumental)

"Challenger II" opens with racing engines and Hal Blaine's signature surf drums. The basic riffs on light weight fuzz guitar and vibraphone-like electric piano are completely carried by Blaine's drumming. The song is from Lee Hazelwood's pen, but it's no "Baja."

Green Monster dotdot
Drummer's Go-Go Fuzz (Instrumental)

Relatively orchestral and Ventures like, "Green Monster" uses a pretty boring riff in fuzz. The drums are very cool, but the song is just filler. Session producer Marshall Leib wrote this.

Nashville Coupe dotdot
Drummer's Go-Go Fuzz (Instrumental)

The melody line here is more interesting, and has a flavor of country about it under the horn section. Some of the arranging is like Tijuana Brass. Great drums, fun, but unremarkable. Another Lee Hazelwood tune.

Mr. Eliminator dotdot
Drummer's Go-Go Fuzz (Instrumental)

The writing on "Mr. Eliminator" is a more traditional instro, with influences that range from MOR and the Ventures. This is not Dick Dale's song. Hal Blaine co-wrote this with David Gates (Bread).

Pop The Chute dotdot
Drummer's Go-Go Fuzz (Instrumental)

Lee Hazelwood's pen produced this tune. The arrangement is reminiscent of the way the Piltdown Men did "Old MacDonald's Cave" ("Farm"). The tune is cool, but pretty repetitious. The drums are spectacular.

Deuces, T's, Roadsters and Drums dotdot
Drummer's Go-Go Fuzz (Instrumental)

"Deuces, T's, Roadsters and Drums" is an exotic collaboration between Hal Blaine and Lee Hazelwood. Almost entirely drums and hotrods, it shows off Blaine's style and prowess well, while not testing your patience with another underachieving riff.

Gear Change dotdot
Drummer's Go-Go Fuzz (Instrumental)

Riff rock with drums, with Hal Blaine using his signature "K-39" drum beat. Marshall Leib and Don Wayne wrote this simple piece.

The Phantom Driver dotdot
Drummer's Go-Go Fuzz (Instrumental)

Lee Hazelwood contributes this tune to the Young Cougars' pallet. This is a very simple tune, but the duet between the fuzz guitar and the vibes-piano is very effective. Interesting and durable.

Gear Stripper dotdot
Drummer's Go-Go Fuzz (Instrumental)

David Gates' stomp herky-jerks along like a country oval track boy on a moonshine drunk. Probably fun at the time, but unremarkable, except for its novelty content.

Big T dotdotdot
Drummer's Go-Go Fuzz (Instrumental)

Wait, is that a delicately double picked guitar in the opener? Why yes, and the additional percussion is very Challengers-like. Pretty jam-centric and fuzz based, yet interesting enough.

The Traps dotdot
Drummer's Go-Go Fuzz (Instrumental)

A bit thuddy, somewhat lowbrow, fuzz drenched, and drum laden. Beyond that, there's not really a melody, just a progression that separates drum breaks. Still, it seems to work pretty well.

Drum Brakes dotdot
Drummer's Go-Go Fuzz (Instrumental)

A big excursion into the world of drums... just drums, oh and some hot rod sounds. Hal Blaine was a hell of a drummer. His playing focuses on precision, where Sandy Nelson derived from exotic beats, and Ron Wilson drove it home with fluidity.

Hawaii 1963 dotdotdot
Island Drums (Instrumental)

"Hawaii 1963" is a classic drum track, with lots of drum exercising and occasional vibratoed guitar chords. It works surprisingly well, though not up to the "Teen Beat" or "Mystic Island Drums" level.

East Side Story dotdot
Weird R&B (Instrumental)

Just a long slow slide into a back room. A lumbering and very precise runway beat, a silly chorus sounding organ, and not much more.

Bulldog Drummin' dot
R&B (Instrumental)

Sluggish R&B rambling, like a carnival with the intrigue knob turn all the way down. Great title, and Lee Hazelwood wrote it, but nothing here seems to really work, though the drum break is cool.

Mutiny On The Bongos dotdot
Drummer's Go-Go Bongos (Instrumental)

Highly derivative basic studio jam fare. Nothing much happening here, stick with Preston Epps.

How Come I Love You So Much? dotdot
Bo Diddley British Go-Go (Instrumental)

Aside from the shouted chorus line "How Come I Love You So Much?," this is a derivative Bo Diddley go-go thingie with 1964 harmonica and an attempt at an English sound. It even has the overwhelming Beatles at Shea stadium screaming girls.

Git It dotdot
Drummer's Go-Go Fuzz (Instrumental)

Minimal to the min, repetitious to the max. Great uncredited harmonica and drums.

Philzie's Friend dotdot
Drummer's Go-Go Fuzz (Instrumental)

This is a "Memphis, Tennessee" based jam with a Kim Fowley-like vocal narrative in a slight British accent. Just strange.