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. 10
|Mot of these tracks are unrestored, or badly restored. They are from mono vinyl via stereo cartridges, and the stereo artifacts are left to distract from the music. That said, there's plenty here for the obscuro fan.|
Picks: The Centuries - Outer Limits, Duane Eddy - Renegade, The Expressions - Daydream, Big George, The Expressos - Teenage Express, Wandering, The Rel-Yea's - Round Rock Boogie, The Scallywags - Big Wave, The Shelltones - Blue Castaway, The Sherwoods - Tickler, Black Out, The Slumber Shufflers - Slumber, The Titans - Surfer's Lullaby, Motivation, Bobby Vee and the Shadows - Flyin' High, The Young Ones - Man Of Mystery, Sour Grapes
Track by Track Review
The Centuries - Outer Limits
With almost "Boondocker" rhythm guitar work, warbly leads and behind the bridge notes permeating the track, this stands out as one of the most unusual surf releases. It's ominous and weird, and surfing aliens written all over it. Too cool!
Richard Delvy and Orchestra - Atlantis
This is a really straight cover of The Shadows' hit. Chorus and light weight playing. Being from 1962, I'm guessing this was the inspiration for The Challengers' Around The World album. Is it The Challengers?
While steeped in the Duane Eddy tradition, this 1972 track is slightly more modern. Shallow tremolo, signature twang, and some nice drums and muted guitar action. All in all, a pretty nice track with several changes.
Duane Eddy - Nightly News
"Nightly News" is very tasteful. It has some throbbing tone and a bouncy backtrack. The break is not interesting at all.
The Expressions - Daydream
Twangin' hometown rock. "Daydream" is more about the riff than a song. It's not a throwaway, but it's way too jammy to hold up very well. That said, the muted midsection is pretty cool.
The Expressions - Big George
Damped chords playfully prance above very cool percussion. "Big George" is kind of a jam, but it's much more playful and deliberate than that. It's very fun!
The Expressos - Teenage Express
"Teenage Express" sports wood dowel percussion. It's a beat generation rock instro from 1960, before the Belairs or Dick Dale laid surf chord to disc, before the opening of the Rendezvous Ballroom. It had the surf feel hiding in it's underbelly. The Expressos evolved into the Surfmen, and of course it is "Wandering" on the other side of the 45 that is the track this band re-recorded under their more famous latter day moniker. Unlike the other side, this track is a simple progression with a really thin lead guitar.
The Expressos - Wandering
Pre Surf Dirge (Instrumental)
The Expressos predated the Surfmen, who predated the Lively Ones. This is the first incarnation of "Paradise Cove," with the tom tom dirge beat and the whammy and the melody, but without the reverb. A dramatic and brooding surf funeral march. Given this is from 1960 and was the B-side of "Teenage Express," it's no surprise how surf developed its slower moodier side. This needs to come from a vault tape one day.
Paul Gayten - Drivin' Home Parts 1 and 2
This is a classic fifties stroll instro... nothing really going on.
Bobby Gregg - Scarlet O'Hara
Oddly like a marching band with a hangover. Horns and organ and frantic drums. If not for its obscurity, you wouldn't miss a thing if you never heard this.
Bobby Gregg - Let's Jam Again
This is a drum pumping number with organ and walking bass inspired by the Stax-Volt instros. late night rockin' jam.
Jimmy Haskell - Astrosonic
Muted echoed guitar, a bit of space weirdness, and jumpin' fifties horns. Aside from the frantic piano, "Astrosonic" doesn't stand out at all.
The Impacs - Hold Out
Pure riff rock, and not very tight. This is essentially the rhythm track from The Northern Lights' "Typhoid," later recut as "Bust Out" by The Busters.
Wild Jimmy Spurrill - Kansas City March
This is a fairly dirty, ho-hum version of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller's classic.
The Rel-Yea's - Round Rock Boogie
The Rel-Yea's "Round Rock Boogie" has been comp'd several times before. It's an interesting track, typically theirs in style. A boogie riff with an Eddie Cochran feel to it. . The band was from the Midwest.
The Rel-Yea's - Whirlybird
This is a riff rocker of the frantic backwoods b-side variety. Gutty, percussive, progression based, and genuine.
The Scallywags - Surfin' Mickey
This is a gimmicky track taking advantage of the surf craze. No surf anything here, and the melody is the "Mickey Mouse Theme." There are a couple of stray glissandos on very dry guitar. This is mostly piano lead and sax, with a sort of bluesy break. It's really very dismissible.
The Scallywags - Big Wave
This is a modest obscuro with a minimal melody, raw glissandos, and raucous break with sax added. Very reverby, with some muted lines and some double picked in mid tempo format. Not at all essential, but certainly interesting.
The Shelltones - Blue Castaway
The Shelltones were a Colorado band that were contemporaries with the Astronauts. Their "Blue Castaway" single is excellent. It's slow, but very dramatic and with excellent drums. The melody is not squishy, but rather worrisome, like an ominous offshore red sky in the morning. Really a nice track.
The Shelltones - Mark's Blues
Surf Blues (Instrumental)
Much too jammy for me. This is almost entirely a blues riff with some reverb. Not interesting.
Near Surf (Instrumental)
Nearly surf stylings, way fun gimmicks, and an infectious jam riff. The track is very close to being surf in it's structure, and in the used of reverb on parts of the percussion. Quite fun.
The Sherwoods - Black Out
Rhythmically, "Black Out" is more country than surf, but it's got the guitar sound. "Black Out" is a fun and romping number with a light sound in a jam-like format. This was produced by Bobby Fuller for his Exeter label.
The Slumber Shufflers - Ireland Express
"Ireland Express" begins with a traditional Irish melody riff, but immediately drops into little more than a riff and heavy echo on the guitar.
The Slumber Shufflers - Slumber
Throbbing tremolo guitar delivers a slow walking stroll. It shimmers like it wants to be surf, but isn't quite. Still, it's on the edge, and considering it's from 1960, it certainly qualifies as a precursor. Slithering cool!
Wild Jimmy Spurrill - Hard Grind
"Hard Grind" is a raw guitar blues with anxious tone and intensity. More jam than song, and not really memorable.
The Titans - Surfer's Lullaby
This is a beautiful surf instro, with gentle waves, and a very simple but effective melody, played pristinely on the high-E. It is completely infectious, and remains on my fave list after many decades. The Titans were from Duluth, Minnesota, where they held sway over the throngs in the mid sixties. This was recorded in 1964.
This was one of the monster bands of the Midwest, Duluth, Minnesota to be exact. All of their instros are fast furious raves sporting infectious melodies and extreme energy. This is totally great, with it's galloping rhythm guitar and wailing drums. Completely great 1964 recording.
Bobby Vee and the Shadows - Flyin' High
This is a very cool twangster from 1959. Great drums, a genuine rock'n'roll recording, and a cool melody riff. While somewhat jammy, "Flyin' High" is a solid instro with string swipes, the grit of Fargo of the period, and the clarity of Minneapolis' Kaybank studio. Mighty nice. This was originally issued in 1959 on Soma 1110 as the b-side to "Suzie Baby," later picked up for national distribution on Liberty. Incidentally, this song was later covered by The Thundermen, also on the Soma label.
The Young Ones - Man Of Mystery
Near Surf (Instrumental)
This is a fairly tame version of The Shadows' "Man Of Mystery." The tone approaches surf at times, but is echo based instead of reverbed, and the arrangement is all rock instro. The Wurlitzer swirls. Still, there's something here.
The Young Ones - Sour Grapes
More twang than surf, yet significantly interesting in a sub-spy kinda way, "Sour Grapes" is infectious and reminiscent of a Euro-surf merger.