Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: All-Time Great Instrumental Hits - Volume 2dotdotdot
artworkNot much to surf about on this 1990 release from Mike Curb, but there are some grand moments like Cozy Cole's incredible "Topsy Part II."
Picks: Walk, Don't Run, Topsy II, Peter Gunn, No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach's In), Surfer's Stomp, Raunchy, Red River Rock, Memphis, Let There Be Drums, In The Mood, Hawaii Five-0, Blue's Theme, The Green Mosquito, The Magnificent Seven

Track by Track Review


Walk, Don't Run dotdotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

This is essential. The Ventures were one of the two bands that served as the model for early surf bands, the other being the Fireballs. This was their first single, and is an absolute standard. It was based on the early fifties Chet Atkins arrangement. This is their signature tune, a solid and enduring cover of Johnny Smith's jazz classic. Rhythmic, solid as a rock, and very warm with pre-surf whammy. Only the Pink Fairies' vocal version is better than this. Great classic pre surf.

"Walk, Don't Run" and "Perfidia" were recorded a year before there was such a thing as surf music. Totally vintage and majorly important to the birth of surf, this Ventures single is still their hallmark and best effort. Every collection requires this track.

Topsy II dotdotdotdotdot
Drum (Instrumental)

The title is in reference to Uncle Tom's Cabin. There just aren't many better drum solo tracks than this 1958 single. The basic track is a very powerful big band thing, like "Sing Sing Sing" in terms of it's infectious melody and power. Cozy Cole's drums are incredibly great, incorporating light work, tribal beats, and big band power snare work. This is a singular track of unparalleled energy and soul.

Peter Gunn dotdotdot
TV Theme (Instrumental)

This was an MOR hit version of Henry Mancini's TV theme. Historic, but not really very cool.

No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach's In) dotdotdot
Disco Surf (Instrumental)

Except for the seventies funk dry chop guitar, this is studio dribble as infectious as any commercial backtrack can be. It's the sort of track you love to hate, but find yourself whistling anyway.

Surfer's Stomp dot
Big Band (Instrumental)

Frankly, Susan and the SurfTones do the best version of this song. This is simple slow paced innocent instrumental rock and roll, with great piano and saucy sax. Infectious and unpretentious. Don't look for the classic surf sound here, but do enjoy the simplicity and fun. Smooth and right nice.

Raunchy dotdotdot
Sax & Piano Rock (Instrumental)

Bill Justis' rockin' tune so often covered by surf bands was a sizable hit for Ernie Freeman. It's a sax number with an infectious R&B rhythm and s soulful groove. It could be heard coming out of every late night gas station in town in 1957.

Red River Rock dotdotdot
Sax & Organ Rock (Instrumental)

The first of what would become their formula, public domain standards ominously rocked out with organ dominated evil sax instrumentals with great Dave Yorko guitar breaks. "Red River Rock" never sounded so cool! It was instro covers of public domain standards that originally influenced Paul Johnson, who used "Little Brown Jug" among others in the Belairs sets (and on disc).

Memphis dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Like the Surfaris' "Wipe Out," "Memphis" and "Wham!" were recorded to consume twenty minutes of leftover studio time. Both were solid hits in 1963. This is a highly rhythmic track, infectious and playful in a post Chuck Berry world.

Let There Be Drums dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Let There Be Drums" was the first track released after Sandy Nelson lost his foot. It is an infectious thing with a rolling rhythm and great drums. The formula was a cross between "Wipe Out" and "Rebel Rouser." Nelson's drums are solid, and Richie Podolor's guitar work is excellent too.

In The Mood dotdotdot
Fifties Combo Rock (Instrumental)

This was Ernie Fields' big hit before this session was conceived. It's a reverent recreation, a little less dynamic, a little less infectious. This standard has been used as television dance party themes across the nation forever. This is a 1975 remake from the K-Tel vaults.

Hawaii Five-0 dotdotdot
TV Surf (Instrumental)

Often covered TV theme song from the chameleons of instro rock from the 1968 TV series.

Blue's Theme dotdotdotdot
Biker Fuzz (Instrumental)

Davie will always be most famous for his Billboard biker flick soundtrack hit. It's the first time Davie's own invention of the biker fuzz instro burst into the consciousness of average Americans. In the popular sense, King Fuzz was born here! This is Davie Allan's signature tune. It became a household fixture when it appeared in the biker flick Devil's Angels, and has been a part of Davie's repertoire ever since. It is also the groundbreaking track that catapulted fuzz into the hearts of bikers everywhere. Great, and grungy.

The Green Mosquito dotdotdot
Fifties (Instrumental)

This 1958 instro was an oddity for two reasons. First, it was a guitar instro instead of sax, as was most common in the fifties. Second, it featured the even rarer use of guitar tinkering for effects, namely the simulation of a mosquito's annoying buzz. Mostly a progression, was melody free, but gutty and primitive.

The Magnificent Seven dotdotdot
Spaghetti TV Theme (Instrumental)

Now, this is a big orchestral theme, a soundtrack tune, and it was used as the theme for the Marlboro man of the early sixties. It is also a damn fine piece of writing, and a departure from the usual "old fart" playing of Al Caiola. With shimmering vibrato, it was a mere stones throw away from a spaghetti western. Los Straitjackets cover is magnificent.