Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: The Dog's Bollocks Of U.S.A. Rock 'n' Roll Instrumentals Vol. 7dotdotdot
artworkThere is a lot less cool surf on volume seven - virtually none as it happens. There are some nice gems, and some really ho-hum tracks too. Not at all essential.
Picks: The 5 Counts - Bambino, Billy Joe and the Checkmates - Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea, Buzzy Brant - Intermission, Boots Brown and his Blockbusters - Block Buster, Danny Darren and the Drifting Playboys - Roadside Rag, Jan Davis - Malaguena, Raunchy 1970, Ritchie Hart - The Great Duane, The Keymen - Duane's Stroll, Southland, The Renegades XI - Autumn Night, Simtec Simmons - Tea Pot, Frank Slay - Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen, Bobby Summers - Cloud 9 Express, Gabor Szabo - Gypsy Queen, The Teen Beats - Claire De Lune Rock

Track by Track Review


The 5 Counts - Bambino dotdotdot
Presurf (Instrumental)

Verging on the surf sounds to come, "Bambino" as a tasteful muted second guitar and a classic progression. The lead is pretty thin, but imagine it with reverb! It's almost there.

Aki Aleong and his Licorice Twisters - Big John dotdotdot
Country (Instrumental)

Actor Aki Aleong, who added his name to The Nobles, had done quite a bit of recording before that. Jimmy Dean's "Big John" is nicely translated into a fairly edgy rock instro. There's a chorus, but it's not too annoying.

Aki Aleong and his Licorice Twisters - Ya Ya dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Some early overdrive guitar powers "Ya Ya." It's a raucous number with big rockabilly drums and a gritty feel. The organ break is a mistake, taking the power right out of it.

Aki Aleong and his Licorice Twisters - Walk On By dotdotdot
Country (Instrumental)

Leroy Van Dyke's "Walk On By" is done with significant fun and rich country twang. More fun than many of Aki Aleong and his Licorice Twisters' releases.

Billy Joe and the Checkmates - Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea dotdotdot
Post Surf (Instrumental)

"Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea" is much heavier than anything else from this studio amalgam. Sonar pings and echoed guitar straddle the British instro sound and the west coast regime. It's a pretty cool instro.

Buzzy Brant - Intermission dotdotdot
Country Surf (Instrumental)

Buzzy Brant's rich low-E guitar plays a fine melody riff that would adapt to surf very easily. It's from Nashville, so it's lighter and more playful than the developing west coast surf sound would be come. Nonetheless, "Intermission" is a bit of a foreshadow, especially with its exotic melody line. This was released in early 1962.

Boots Brown and his Blockbusters - Block Buster dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

OK, it's 1953, and the band sways with a big drum and sax sauce energy. Very early, and more like the tail end of big band than the beginning of rock.

Danny Darren and the Drifting Playboys - Roadside Rag dotdotdot
Country (Instrumental)

"Roadside Rag" is a really primitive country romp with some very fine speed picking. It's all fun and backwoods charm. Big grin here.

Jan Davis - Malaguena dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a pretty fun version of "Malaguena" with Spanish trumpets and castanets. The source is very bad - vinyl with pops and clicks, and mono with lots of stereo cartridge artifacts. Too bad, cuz it's a cool track.

Jan Davis - Raunchy 1970 dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Gutty tremolo guitar plays "Raunchy 1970" as if it just evolved. Jan Davis does a really credible job reinventing Bill Justis's "Raunchy." The faux sitar is a bit much, as is the easy sax, but the track still holds up pretty well.

The Gallants - Batman Theme dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Neil Hefty's "Batman Theme" is done with little fanfare or spirit. The Gallants must be the usual suspects.

Big John Greer - Record Hop dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Record Hop" is a very early piano rockin' instrumental with a sock hop sound and feel. It's all jam, no melody. Some cool string swipes and, given the 1956 vintage, a fine mess of energy.

The Guys From Uncle - The Spy dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Piano and bass drama carry off this bongo track. The guitar riff is not very spy sounding, nor is the rest of the track. I don't know who The Guys From Uncle were, but "The Spy" is not really memorable.

Ritchie Hart - The Great Duane dotdotdot
Rock (Vocal)

This vocal is reviewed here only because "The Great Duane" is a tribute to Duane Eddy, with his raw sax and hollerin' exuberance. For that alone, it's a must hear, and then there is that big twang! Too cool!

Joel Hill - Monkey Business dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a vibrato big guitar twangster with a nice little riff, but too few guitar changes. The break is organ lead. The writer of Caterpillar Crawl and former member of The Strangers and future Canned Heat guitarist Joel Scott Hill cut this in 1963.

The Keymen - Gazachstahagen dotdot
Easy Rock (Instrumental)

Plinky piano and riffology, with sax lead and a b-side sound. There's nothing really going on here.

The Keymen - Foot Jive dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Almost fuzzy guitar and cheesy chorus straddle the border between pop and rock. Tremolo intensity develops at time with the guitar, but the chorus just kills the buzz. This may be Duane Eddy and Steve Douglas.

The Keymen - Like, Help Man dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Sax plays a choppy riff above the same basic riff The Beach Boys used in "Luau." From the sound and the beatnik title reference, this is likely mid fifties. Not memorable.

The Keymen - Short Fat Fanny dot
Rock (Instrumental)

Boy is this a commercial b-side if I ever heard one, as if none of the players ever actually heard rock'n'roll. Trite.

The Keymen - Long Tall Sally dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Little Richard's "Long Tall Sally" gets a sax cover treatment that's high energy, if nothing else. Great drums and drive.

The Keymen - Duane's Stroll dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This track is a slow walkin' Duane Eddy vibrato charmer, with a pleasant riff and a bit of guts. The sax is distant and nasty as the guitar chumps and vibrates.

The Keymen - Southland dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Duane Eddy-like charm, occasionally credited to Duane directly, "Southland" is arranged like a minor Rebel Rouser, right down to the shouts and hollers, chorus, and sax.

The Pacers - The Pace dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Some decent drums and a Booker T. and the MG's style arrangement, but it's not really more than pleasant, though the "Peter Gunn" bass lines during the raspy sax break are pretty cool!

The Renegades XI - Autumn Night dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The melody is quite nice on this organ instro, and the guitar in the middle has a hint of surf edge to it. The arrangement is similar to Bruno and the Gladiators, but less crisp.

Simtec Simmons - Tea Pot dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

An early percussion machine backs this tremolo shimmered instro. It's as if Bo Diddley was on board at times. It's really a cool track if you get past the faux drums. In some ways, this reminds me of late period Blues Magoos.

Frank Slay - Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a rockin' horn band romp through "Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen" ("To Me You're Beautiful"). Rockin' big band drums are the high point! This song was done with surf guitar by Jorgen Ingmann.

Guitar Bustin' dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Guitar Bustin'" is a chord progression riff rocker. The drummer is having a rockabilly good time, and the piano rip, but there's no melody and little imagination, though there's no shortage of exuberance.

Bobby Summers - Cloud 9 Express dotdotdot
Easy Rock (Instrumental)

Fast picking with echo and a Buddy Merrill wannabe sound - just a little less polished. The guitar flails around in meandering glissandos that are almost charming.

Bobby Summers - Runaway Guitar dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Runaway Guitar" relies heavily on the relentless rockabilly drums, walking bass, and piano frolic. It's mostly a rockin' jam. The energy is good, but you won't miss it.

Gabor Szabo - Gypsy Queen dotdotdotdotdot
Jazzadelic (Instrumental)

It's 1966, and jazz guitarist Gabor Szabo is in San Francisco a lot. His amazing phrasing and writing are applied to a Latin rhythm and sensual smells. Within a year, Carlos Santana would append this song to the then of "Black Magic Woman." This, however, is the sultry original.

The Teen Beats - Claire De Lune Rock dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Achille-Claude Debussy's "Claire de Lune" gets a playful dual sax treatment with a good rock backtrack. You can hear The Royaltones influence. The track is really fun. This is The Teen Beats who became The Nevegans.