Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Chop Suey Rock Vol. 1 - Songs About The Orientdot
artworkThis trash-conscious collection contains a couple of surf tunes, but otherwise is strictly for the novelty lover. The whole concept is white-boy-oriental trash from decades before the shrinking world. The Hong Kongs' "Surfin' In The China Sea" is not really a surf track, except in name, but it's an OK rocker. The Quarter Notes' "Oriental Rock" is not either exactly, using echo plex instead of reverb, but it has the feel and is quite lead guitar dominated. Side 1 is instrumental, side 2 vocal. Sadly, the bootleggers that put this compilation of didn't bother to restore the vinyl sources. Musically interesting, aurally crappy.
Picks: The Hong Kongs - Surfin' In The China Sea, The Invictas - Singapore Sling, Ken Nordine and the Kinsmen - Hot Saki, The Quarter Notes - Oriental Rock

Track by Track Review


Doug Cornell and The Hot Rods - Hong Kong Rocking dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

A big gong opens this slow sleazer. Tom toms and percussion, and a delicate guitar playing an Oriental-inspired melody riff. Once it gets going, it's more interesting, though also more jammy. Some voicings complete the scene.

The Hong Kongs - Surfin' In The China Sea dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Fake Chinese words, a trite Chinese piano riff, and a pounding piano frenzy sans melody. Spunky, but forgettable.

The Instrumentals - Chop Suey Rock dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

A sorta oriental riff and a basic fifties sound, with the sax in the lead and the piano pumping. "Chop Suey Rock" is only interesting as a period artifact.

The Invictas - Singapore Sling dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Singapore Sling" is part surf, part Booker T. & The MG's, and part northern soul. It's a very tasteful instrumental with a soulful groove and engaging sound. Primarily organ based, yet coastal and cool!

Lester Laundree and His Society Four - Chopstick Cha Cha dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Big gong and and weird guitar, along with silly laughter, make undignified fun at what might be kabuki inspired sounds. The narratives are down right mindless.

Ken Nordine and the Kinsmen - Hot Saki dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Tightly echoed short sustain notes play a dissonant Asian melody pattern, which is supplanted by a muted Tennessee Three meets surf pattern while the organ comes in for a puling kill. It's odd how well this works, given that many fabricated songs like this crash and burn.

The Quarter Notes - Oriental Rock dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a really cool instro, with great echo guitar that approaches the surf idiom, and a classy rhythm pattern. Its title implies an Asian theme, and "Oriental Rock" is certainly based on that sound, thought it's also very Midwest sounding. Indeed, the original issue was from Hammond, Indiana.