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. 9dotdotdot
artworkThis volume of the bootleg The Dog's Bollocks Of U.S.A. Rock 'n' Roll Instrumentals series has a considerable number of good tracks on it. The down side as always is that they are often from vinyl without the least bit of restoration or remastering. An adventure in some remote areas of the instrumental landscape without a guide.
Picks: The Carnations - Fireball Mail, The Centurys - Man With The Golden Arm, Lonely Heart, The Charades Band - Christina, Sophia, The Chessmen - Dark Eyes, Eddie Dimas and the Upsets - El Mosquito, La Montanesa, The Mandoguitars - Chinese Prom, The Mustangs - Jack The Ripper, The Quests - Psychic, The Red Coats - Midnight and Paul Revere, Ted Russell and his Rhythm Rockers - Brang, Speedy and the Reverbs - 100 Proof, The Thundermen - Thunderbeat, Conjagua, Flyin' High, The Velvetones - Static, Doheny Run

Track by Track Review


Bim Bam Bum dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Bim Bam Bum" is a really played bouncer with an exotica-tropical rhythm section. It's really fun, and very commercial.

The Carnations - Fireball Mail dotdotdot
Pre Surf Country (Instrumental)

Johnny Cash meets Duane Eddy at the OK Coral. Big guitar twang, formula "Rebel Rouser" structure, and a Southern feel. Nice track.

Tom Carter and the Ramrods - El Cumbanchero
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a very cool, nearly surf version of "El Cumbanchero"

The Centurys - Man With The Golden Arm dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a splendid spy-surf arrangement of Elmer Bernstein's film theme. There are ample changes along the way that keep this fresh, while the aural consistency maintains continuity. Splendid tone and balance, with chemistry.

The Centurys - Lonely Heart dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Lonely Heart" is just plain cool! It sports infectious energy and rhythm, and excellent playing. The fluid melody is happy and rich, and the tone here is surf, while the rhythm track is midwest rock. Whammy chords and reverb!

The Charades Band - Christina dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Recorded under the name the Charades Band, this is pretty darn surfy track. It's moody, blue, and sultry. The eerie sad distant island feel is pure Richie Podolor melody styling and gorgeous. Podolor didn't write it, but it has the same kind of exquisite sense of melodic structure and simplicity. Amazing!

The Charades Band - Sophia dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Big surf tone, a marvelous progressional riff, and warm Spanish feel make this just simply shine. Again, this was recorded as the Charades Band. The tone is perfect, and the writing excellent.

The Chessmen - Dark Eyes dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This traditional Eastern Europe folk song has been done many times. The Chessmen were from Minneapolis, where they issued this in 1964. It's fast and furious, and unlike all the other versions of this song. The damped "Malaguena" break is marvelous.

The Crazy Crickets - Honey Walk dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The "Happy Trails" bass line opens "Honey Walk." Beyond that, it goes nowhere, but has a twangy charm.

Eddie Dimas and the Upsets - El Mosquito dotdotdotdot
Ranchera (Instrumental)

"El Mosquito" is very cool ranchera bouncer, with great guitar and an infectious classic ranchera beat. There's no shortage of fun here. Infectious beat and energy, innocent tone, and wonderful playing.

Eddie Dimas and the Upsets - La Montanesa dotdotdotdot
Ranchera (Instrumental)

This fun and easy ranchero instro is very cool. Straddling rock and Mexican traditions, it's very well played and catchy. To call it bouncy is not enough... "La Montanesa" is simply wonderful.

Jeff Gordon and the Summits - Freeway dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a bouncy sax instro with a raspy riff that's fun enough, but there are just too few changes in the arrangement. Great performance, bordering on pre-ska perhaps.

The Mandoguitars - Chinese Prom dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a merger between a stereotypical Asian melody riff and a rockabilly beat. The combination is very infectious. I don't know anything about this record at al, but it sounds like it dates from the early sixties. Quite fun!

The Mustangs - Jack The Ripper dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a pretty credible nod to Mr. Wray's classic. Definitely not up to Link Wray's level, but a solid cover with almost surf tone via what sounds like some spring reverb and real room reverb at the studio. Quite tasty.

Jack B. Nimble and the Quicks - Like... Keyed dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Jack B. Nimble and the Quicks were essentially a B. Bumble and the Stingers clone, and that should tell you all you need to know about the sound of "Like... Keyed." Fun, bouncy, and spirited, with some very cool piano.

Jack B. Nimble and the Quicks - Babes In Boyland dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Piano lead and a jazzy blues rhythm section. While very fun, I don't think "Babes In Boyland" leaves any lasting impression. That said, the performance is very strong.

The Quests - Psychic dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Beautiful surf chords open to whammy chords and just enough weirdness to be interesting, and not enough to be quirky. Kinda muddy, yet charming. The reverb, the guitar chops, the bass and drums... it all adds up here to a very cool obscuro.

The Red Coats - Midnight and Paul Revere dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Great damped guitar rhythms pump out a relentless non-melodic sludge while the tom toms pound and the dogs bark. "Midnight and Paul Revere" is mighty infectious despite its creative limitations. It's on the edge of being surfable. Pretty fun.

The Red Coats - Monongahela dotdotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

"Monongahela" is a fast rhythm rockin' jam with only its manic energy to keep it afloat.

Ted Russell and his Rhythm Rockers - Brang dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

Verging on the dawn of surf, "Brang" sports echoed guitar playing riffs not unlike those in the early days of surf. Gutsy and primal, with an odd manic drum beat. Twangin' fun with a catchy sound.

The Bill Smith Combo - Heartbreak Hotel dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a sax instro with strings and a semi-raw R&B edge. Mostly unremarkable.

Speedy and the Reverbs - 100 Proof dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Surf and organ riffing. Way more fun than melodic, but a great example of very local surf. The sax break is raspy and period correct. On the jammy side, and executed with more abandon and energy than skill, it nonetheless is a fine listen.

Speedy and the Reverbs - Gas Chamber dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Soul-influenced garage surf from 1964. "Gas Chamber" is way more jam than song. Sax dominated in the break, and certainly Rumblers influenced.

The Spekulations - Walking Fast dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Walking Fast" is a riff rocker with a dark tone and sax-guitar duet. Like many instros of the go-go era, it really doesn't go anywhere, though it's slightly post-surf sound in interesting. This Charlotte, North Carolina band is mostly unknown.

The Thundermen - Thunderbeat dotdotdot
Midwest Surf Twango (Instrumental)

Midwest heavy vibrato twang with a twinge of surf. More or less the stuff of a riff rockin' jam, yet with enough angst and edge and ultra cool low-E vibrato to keep it from getting boring.

The Thundermen - Conjagua dotdotdot
Surf Twang (Instrumental)

Throbbing vibrato and a garage primitivity that makes "Conjagua" attractive in an archival sense. Surf twang with an overused lick. I wish the sound was better.

The Thundermen - Flyin' High dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

It may be riff rock, but it's so full of spunk and sports such great drums that it doesn't matter. You won't be whistlin' it any time soon, but you'll grin nonetheless. Hot stuff!

The Velvetones - Static dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a splendid obscuro, full of inventive surfisms and crunchy sound. It has plenty of twang and punch. The band must have been something to see.

The Velvetones - Doheny Run dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Surf grind, chunky and reverbed, with raw sax and a groovy surf 'n' soul sound. Pumped up, and just melodic enough. "Doheny Run" relies on its guts to carry it passed the riff rock limitation. Great stuff.

The Westwoods - Limbo (The Land In Between) dotdotdot
Easy Listening (Instrumental)

This is light weight fare, with long sustain tremolo guitar sadly playing a haunting melody over a straight beat and hand claps. Spacy organ finishes off the track.