Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Dance Hall String Bustersdotdotdotdot
artworkThis is a naturally fine collection of instro singles and unreleased gems, including a surf tidbit or two. Great stuff!
Picks: Deuces Wild, Thunder Head, Rock City, Watusi Zombie, Sour Biscuits, The Growl, Quite A Party, Jezebel, Money and Gold (Part 2), Tension, Pulsebeat, Las Vegas Scene, Swampwater, Machine Gun, Uprisin', Twin Exhaust, Jack The Ripper, Dumbo, Path Finder, Thunder Cloud

Track by Track Review

Deuces Wild dotdotdotdot
Essential Rock (Instrumental)

The rolling tribal drums are very cool, organically grown jungle rhythms under the grodie Link Wray long note guitar voicing. A very fine track.

Thunder Head dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This 1960 single is not really more than a grodie chord progression, yet its primal twang and low down growl keep it interesting. Oh the power of simplicity on guitar.

Rock City dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The basic chord progression here has been used a number of times in basic rock instros. This live track is intensely whammied, with an almost stinging tone. Raw and primal, with great tom toms and a catchy break.

Watusi Zombie dotdotdot
Jungle (Instrumental)

Mean jungle guitar and mighty percussion, noisy and gutsy. Tribal from the get-go, with no shortage of spirit. "Watusi Zombie" is just a riff, but is quite infectious. Really trashy and cool too! Dig the drums and shouts!

Sour Biscuits dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Basic twang and southern charm emote from this swampy instro from Wes Dakus. Vibrato guitar and a compressed 45 sound swish and chop.

The Growl dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

A dirty twang and a bluesy progression. Back room sleazy and raw, "The Growl" is not melodic, but is primal.

Quite A Party dotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

This track displays the first really nice panoramics on a drum kit that I am, aware of. The toms are panned, with snare and kick in the center. The bass is left and the rhythm is right, but because it's a gentle performance, it works ok. "Quite A Party" has been covered as "Quite A Surf Party" by Jerry MacNeish. Quite infectious.

Jezebel dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This previously unreleased vibrato charmer from Al Casey is a beautiful track with a very soothing melody that sports just enough edge. Al is not in his ultra reverb zone, but is continuing with the classic twang he developed with Jody Reynolds and Duane Eddy, though it's less "Rebel Rouser"-southern rockish. A fine track.

Money and Gold (Part 2) dotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

Teddy and the Rough Riders create a nifty sound that's just ahead of the surf curve, but sure is close to the envelope. Reverbed and aquatic, with wild string swipes and a raucous sax. Very cool track!

Tension dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Somewhat in the style of the Titans, "Tension" is a rolling infectious and quickly picked number with major draw. Thin guitar tone, but with rapid fire notes and that classic midwest surf twang, plus great rolling tom toms.

Pulsebeat dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Excellent surf guitar in a slightly sad shimmering format. Vibrato, reverb, and a little haunted. Excellent dribbling guitar. The riff is played out across interesting chords. While "Pulsebeat" is no ball of fire, it is very cool in a moody surf way. This was the b-side to "The Beatle."

Las Vegas Scene dotdotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

This Wes Dakus song sounds quite good, and it shows off his guitarista credentials. Slides and damped chords and warm sunny tones, an infectious rhythm, and excellent guitar work. Simple, but very effective. It's in the general vicinity of the Fireballs sound, but dryer. An infectious rhythm and crisp melody capture your ear and hold it. Excellent track!

Swampwater dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Cool and plenty rockin' riffabilly, with a saucy sax and a feel of the Midwest B-sides. Infectious despite the lack of melody. From 1960.

Machine Gun dotdotdotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

This 1959 record has been covered many times in the rockabilly circles, and has also found its way into "surf" collections. Highly rhythmic and infectious, "Machine Gun" is just plain cool. Great primitive fifties guitar and 15 IPS slap back.

Uprisin' dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Indian tom toms and a thin Indian-esq melody line in a primitive setting. Not over the top or essential, but very cool in a sub-surf sorta way.

Twin Exhaust dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Demented string bending creates tortured notes not unlike the way Travis Wammack used to play, but without the fuzz and quite a while before him at that. Not melodic, a little gimmicky, but intriguing nonetheless.

Jack The Ripper dotdotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Is there another instro up to the power or importance of "Jack The Ripper?" I don't think so. I still vividly remember the chill I felt (there it is again) the first time I heard this record. Even on cruddy little table radio, this stood the hairs on the back of my neck on end. This is a powerful and ominous recording, with its rolling rhythm and tom tom cadence, and intense guitar tone. It dominates you as you listen. It is as essential as it gets. Issued in 1961, it has inspired and been covered by countless guitarists. It is dark, brooding, mysterious, and the vibrato is superb. This timeless melody personifies the ability of voiceless rock to convey an image, even more than "Rumble" does. It is simply superb.

Dumbo dotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

"Dumbo" is a very quirky and memorable melody, and the double picking is perfect and clear as a bell. It has an incredible likability about it, and a magic all its own.

Path Finder dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

This bongo laden instro is within the surf envelope, with a simple but effective riff set against the bongos in the way Preston Epps did with "Bongo Rock." Some cool double picked work in the break, along with aquatic tone, makes this a nice find.

Thunder Cloud dotdotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

"Thunder Cloud" is a vibrato drenched unreleased Al Casey track that is essentially "Thunder Beach" in a less dripping sound, though it's no less surfable. Slow and moody, with an ominous and stormy edge.