Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: The Dog's Bollocks of American R&R Instrumentals Volume 2 - Real Cool!dotdotdot
artworkVolume two of this bootleg CD-R series features more great obscure American instrumentals, many in the surf genre. Where does this stuff keep coming from?
Picks: See You In September, Mule Train, Scorpion, Chiflado, Jim Jam, Caliente, Echo, Big Bad Boss Bass, Blue Surf, Real Cool, Disc Jockey, The Wasp, Port Zibee, No Return, Juarez, March of the Siamese Children, Wild Fire, Dark Valley, Scramble, Dry Run, Escondido, Tarantula, Kaha Huna (Goddess Of Surfing), Topsy '65, The Chase, Fireball, El Gato, Grind, Daydream, Spinathon, Davy Jones Rocker, Midnight Sun

Track by Track Review


See You In September dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This 1959 B-side is a kinda cool half way point between surf and what came before, a little hokey, yet surprisingly durable. It's the famous melody, but with a little tongue in cheek and with real guitars.

Mule Train dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

I don't know much of anything about this track, but it's intriguing. Mule skinner shouts overdubbed way too loud over a primitive and murky recording of a band employing some reverb. Sounds like it may be very early sixties, perhaps even surf era, but the structure is small label rock and the arrangement primitive. I'm not quite sure what's interesting here, but something draws me in. The sax shares lead duties with an Al Casey / Duane Eddy twangy guitar.

Scorpion dotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

This incredibly cool pre surf tune sports an infectious lead riff and guitar twang, with a relentless progress about it, and a hint of the Champs' "Tequila." I've played this a million times, and it's always satisfying. Its relentlessness and catchy riff, along with the cowbell, are just wonderful. It's a must have early guitar instro.

Chiflado dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a mirror image of the Belairs' version of this fine instro, and very well played. It's so close, it could easily be mistaken for an alternate take.

Jim Jam dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

A basic riff rocker with just enough twang and twitchin' round abouts to make it more than a dismissible B-side.

Caliente dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Marauders cut this lone guitar instro that floats on the edge of surf due to surf drums and slightly surfy whammy, and enough reverb to make the cut. The melody riff is very cool, and the the drums are great.

Echo dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Surf reverb drives a downward spiraling riff that's catchy and warm. The manic drummer gives "Echo" quite an intriguing edge. Splendid.

Big Bad Boss Bass dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

String bending twango... and, this actually has another title (I can't place it) sans the string bending by another band. Lots of relentless drum action and dry grodie guitars, pumped with shouts of "hey!" Some of the elements sound like maybe they are surf era, but overall, it's a fine pre surf rocker.

Blue Surf dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Great damped surf rhythm guitar, cool second guitar fills, a sassy sax lead, and strange chorus lines. This is a really cool, slightly mean track with a bunch of appeal. "Blue Surf" was the B-side of their only single, released in June of '63. It's a strange song. The whole thing would be killer if it weren't marred by the dreadful "Ahhhs" parading as backing harmonies. The tune itself owes a great deal to the Gamblers' "Moon Dawg." Wonderful.

Real Cool dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Real Cool" is a space-eerie instro with a walking lead line and relentless beat that's less than interesting. The guitar licks are fun, as is the walking bas line. Highly rhythmic.

Disc Jockey dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Long slowly falling and rising glissandoes plucked with full "cricket" damping keep this otherwise so-so progression number afloat. Quirky and fun for a few spins.

The Wasp dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Mid tempo low energy distorto-twang. Not much to confuse with melody, just a gimmicky progression.

Port Zibee dotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

Very under developed riff rock, with a few changes and not much imagination.

No Return dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"No Return" is the B-side of the single. It is chunky, and sports a very full lead guitar tone, which is played open. The rhythm is infectious and bouncy, and the ominous overtones are unmistakable. Great track.

Juarez dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

I'm totally unfamiliar with this track, but it's definitely Johnny Fortune. This is likely the flip side of "It Ain't Necessarily So." His guitar tone and style are unmistakable, as is his band's sound. A very smooth track with tribal drums and Johnny Sudetta's classic progression style. It's always a treat to hear this man's playing.

March of the Siamese Children dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A big gong opens this ultra cool surf interpretation of the theme to the South Bank Show, and originally from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The King and I. Fine Fender tone and reverb, along with liquid playing and a simple but very affective arrangement.

Wild Fire dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Deep dark guitar very similar to the Centurions drives this basic surf tune. While it's quite basic, it's also mean and creeps into your daydreams. In some ways, it reminds me of a faster "Ray Bay."

Dark Valley dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Shimmering vibrato and Indian motifs rhythmically haunt the plains on a rainy day. Original, and languishing in the obscurity of that vacant lot at the corner of Surf Street and Shadows Blvd., across from the Apache Five and Dime.

Scramble dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

A nifty lead line, and an infectious rhythm coupled with excellent drum power evidence themselves on this fifties workout.

Dry Run dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

No, it's not going to be like a great precursor to "Stairway To Heaven" (after all, that was Spirit's "Elijah"). The Stairway To The Stars use a chorded sound with psychedelic guitar lead, playing a surf structure that is essentially the Vistas' "No Return." Very interesting track.

Escondido dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is one of the great lost singles, recorded in monsterama, with big sustained lead notes delivering a simple yet very effective melody line, and moving to damped reverbed attack during the breaks. The dry rhythm guitar and thundering bass and military drums provide a suitable backdrop for this essential single. "Escondido" is a fine example of just how powerful single picked sustained reverbed melody lines can be. The A part is single picked, with a sound not unlike the Intruders lead guitar. The B part is double picked and damped, played in a playful almost flamenco way. Big whammy chords, and thundering tom-toms. Tribal ominous storm surf.

Tarantula dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Jammy and non melodic, yet perhaps near the Vistas in intent. Lots of piñata party shouts and surf twang. While it's quite minimal, it does have a magnetic quality about it.

Kaha Huna (Goddess Of Surfing) dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

This is much less interesting than "Burnin' Rubber," but it does come in just under the wire. Some really nice guitar work and a few intricate filigrees, plus a not quite island feel.

Topsy '65 dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Cozy Cole's "Topsy" updated to 1965 B-side status. The guitar is los and grodie, and the organ too cheesy to retain credibility in the surf idiom.

The Chase dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Echoed guitar driving sideways on the Road Runners' "Quasimodo." So, the question is, which came first? This is a very interesting arrangement. It loses none of the charm, and because it's morphed so much, it has a fresh feel despite it's obvious cover roots. Originally issued on Band Box 354.

Fireball dotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

Spooky and Friday night fright oriented, this vibrato twangster is mixed as if there are only two guitars, though you can occasionally make out the drums. Scary and very unique.

El Gato dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"El Gato" is a track John Blair sent me on cassette years ago, and it ranks as one of my favorite obscuros, at least as far as moderate tempo numbers are concerned. It's not exactly double picked, but it is a very infectious low note tune based on a unique riff. It makes you wanna drive the open road on a hot day with the top down on your '67 Camaro. Originally issued in 1963.

Grind dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Hot rod motors wail, but there ain't no gettin' it in gear. Before syncros, if you couldn't double clutch, you ground those gears all the time. Mostly a progression, by nearly surf and pretty fun. Is this Craig Cahill and the Offbeats?

Daydream dotdotdot
Piano Rock (Instrumental)

Heavily influenced by the piano riffs in the Swingin' Medallions' "Double Shot ," this rocks and rolls in a totally fun groove. I've always been a sucker for a great rockin' piano instro (big fan of B. Bumble and the Stingers), so it's no surprise I dig this groove.

Spinathon dotdotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

Echoed fifties guitar with gimmicky twang licks and a thrashy rockabilly feel. Totally cool. I can well imaging the Cadillac Angels making hay with this little number.

Davy Jones Rocker dotdotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

Constant tremolo on the lead guitar casts this on the cusp of gimmicky, just south of weirdsville. Fun and fluid.

Midnight Sun dot
Surf (Instrumental)

Several bands have attempted to make "Midnight Sun" over into an instro rocker, all unsuccessfully. Lap steel softness and an MOR structure.