Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Chicken Rock Vol. 3 - Rockin' Instrumentalsdotdotdot
artworkThis 1979 vinyl release contains some rare vintage intros from vinyl sources. It's one of the few sources of the rare Nobles single, and sports a few very cool pre-surf gems, including all eight sides by the Thundermen.
Picks: Jungle Fever, Thunder Express, Alabamy Bound, The Social, On The Loose, Happy Little Jug, Street Beat, Hot Ice, Flamingo Express, The Lion, Jaguar, The Green Werewolf, Black Widow, Strike, Able One, Beware Below

Track by Track Review


Jungle Fever dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

"Jungle Fever" is a rhythm dominated instro with the kind of melody riff that would later be characteristic of many surf instros, as well as playing successive verses in different registers to overcome otherwise repetitious riffs. While still more primitive than the surf genre, the Thundertones nonetheless offers up a pre-surf developmental track. The energy of the band is not captured by virtue of the prevailing studio wisdom of the day that bands play quietly and the engineer makes it loud.

Thunder Express dotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

"Thunder Express" is a low-E grumbler hinting of the surf singles to come in the next two years. This reminds me of Gene Gray and his Stingrays in some ways, just a little less edgy and energy laden. A great and ultimately surfable riff drives "Thunder Express." Rhythm dominated low watt rock instros from the day when instros were structured like backtracks waiting for a vocal melody line. There are some nice guitar licks in the bridge, but mostly it's a riff rocker.

Alabamy Bound dotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

This standard gets a real rock instro treatment that surely could be a surf track if not for the lack of reverb. Great tone and drums!

The Social dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Echoed drums, grumbly bass, a few cries of "oh yeah," and a basic fifties sock hop riff. Kinda cool, but much more dated than the rest of the Thundertones' output.

On The Loose dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Buddy Holly's "That'll Be The Day" provides the intro to this otherwise pedestrian jam.

Happy Little Jug dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

The traditional drinking song "Little Brown Jug" is adapted to a pre-surf format with shimmering vibrato lead guitar. In many ways, "Happy Little Jug" is closer to what became the surf genre than the Belairs' first single B-side. Pretty cool!

Street Beat dotdotdot
Pre Surf Link Wray (Instrumental)

"Street Beat" is a slow stroll in what might be described as a clean Link Wray mold. Too simple to really capture your attention, but hinting at what coulda been a contender with more power and energy, and a little reverb.

Hot Ice dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Hot Ice" is a jammy track, a progression without any direction. Aside from a great drum break, it has little to offer.

Flamingo Express dotdotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

This is their best tune IMHO! It is highly rhythmic, like a train rolling down the tracks. It is sax led, and absolutely infectious. It was likely the inspiration for "The Sentinal" by the Sentinals. It is one of the must-have pre surf tracks.

The Lion dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"The Lion" is a rudimentary jam with a sax lead and chatter about Livingston and a lying lion. Ho hum.

Jaguar dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Great electric piano vibrates against nasty sax and great drums in this murky little single. Not even a little melodic, yet pretty tuff and driven.

The Green Werewolf dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a basic progression jam in the fifties tradition. Unchanging verses, screaming women, plinky piano, honking sax... unremarkable.

Black Widow dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This surf obscuro sports a lead guitar that's buried pretty far in a somewhat murky mix. Too bad too, because, while this is pretty simple, it's actually quite infectious. There's lots of energy and great drums rolling and rocking throughout.

Strike dotdotdot
Bowl-a-billy (Instrumental)

Opening with a bowling ball knocking down the pins, and interspersed with the kids begging dad to try one, getting the strike, and then dear old dad getting a split, and followed by a gutter ball, which brings cussing at the kids, who get yet another strike, leading the dad figure to say "let's get outta here." Oh, yeah, the music is mostly a boogie progression with the lead guitar on vibrato alert. It's more cutesy that cool.

Able One dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

Jungle calls and a "Peter Gunn" riff under a nearly buried lead guitar. The melody riff is darn cool, and almost reverbed, but being so far in the background, it's almost like it's not there. Too bad, because "Able One" could have been a much cooler track!

Beware Below dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Tom toms and a chunky guitar beat are the signatures of this tribal stomper. Piano glissandoes and jammy twang abound.