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. 12dotdotdot
artworkVolume 12 contains a number of gems, some otherwise unheard, and some mung too. All in all, worth checking out.
Picks: The Bill Allen Trio - Money, Craig Cahill and the Off-Beats - Pipe City, The Cruchendoes - Liebestraum, Butterfingers, The Decades - Strange Worlds, The Falcons - Nightmare, The Four Playboys - Lonely Playboy, Jungle Stomp, The Impact V - Riptide, Jimmie Jay and the Moon-Reyes - Poison Ivy, Jerry and the Diamonds - Sea-N-Shore, Metalflakes, Johnny and the Firesides - From Russia With Love, Kenny and the Fiends - House On Haunted Hill Part 1, House On Haunted Hill Part 2, Danny Steel with Hank Ferrell and his Rhythm Boys - Chinese Twist, Bucky Pizzarelli - Night Rider, The Astronaut, Jon Sisco and the Electras - Border Beat, The Jon Sisco Quartet - Theme From The Lonely, The Surf Teens - Moment Of Truth, Moonshine, The Vibrants - Scorpion

Track by Track Review


The Bill Allen Trio - Money dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a nice, but seems only slightly notable at first listening. It's a cover of Barrett Strong's "Money." The year is uncertain, but the guitar seems surf period, as does the sax. This grows on you.

Craig Cahill and the Off-Beats - Pipe City dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A dry second guitar playing a nifty little pattern under a twangy lead playing a surf riff with a lot of flair. It's almost melodic, and infectious.

The Cruchendoes - Liebestraum dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This classic melody gets a pumpin' surf treatment at the hands of Chuck Rio. It rocks for sure, and is among the more interesting of the rock covers out there. The drums rip, and the guitar is double picked at times.

The Cruchendoes - Butterfingers dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Now, there's a band name for you. It fits their sound, crunchy and percussive. The melody is a great little riff played in damped reverb chop attacked strings. Totally excellent. The liner notes say that the Cruchendoes were formed by Chuck Rio of the Champs. This is totally excellent.

The Decades - Strange Worlds dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Strange sci-fi days are beckoned as "Strange Worlds" opens. This guitar instro is a ways from the surf, yet hints at the genre. The sound reminds me of some of the tracks on the Sons Of Yma compilation. Moody and mysterious, and attractive in a strange way. The echoed drums are quite unusual. The Decades were an alter ego of The Swamp Rats!

The Falcons - Nightmare dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Stinging whammy and Euro guitar charm played on high registers with very playful exercising of the EchoPlex for a pre-psychedelic romp. "Nightmare" is unusual and very cool, with a good melody riff and early creative use of effect.

The Falcons - Baby Barefoot Walk dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

A basic riff rocker, with echoed guitar cycles through a repetitious pattern. It has a post-surf sound and feel. Interesting once.

The Four Playboys - Lonely Playboy dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Tribal drums and shimmering guitar playing a moody melody line give you shivers in a darkened room. That might be why the Mermen cover this. Grode and surfy and primitive, yet compelling.

The Four Playboys - Jungle Stomp dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Jungle calls and a very cool rhythm rumbling under a minimal surf guitar. This is pretty murky, but it must have been really cool. There's plenty of super high muted reverb, maybe even behind the bridge. It undulates and dribbles and splashes. That long very slow glissando is just too cool!

The Hi-Fi's - Mr. 'K' Rocks The Blues dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Mr. 'K' Rocks The Blues" is very typical of b-side instro of 1959. A minimal riff cycles over and over with variation limited to guitar and sax trading lead. Raw and primal, but forgettable.

The Impact V - Riptide dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

From the introductory cry of "Riptide," this classic monster shreds mercilessly. Minneapolis was home to this talented band, where they recorded this track in 1963. It totally shreds - did I say that already. This is one hot monster! Based on a super simple riff, it employs the tried and true but rare technique of playing behind the bridge with extreme reverb. Great!

The Jades - Lost Train dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The precious few tracks issued by the Jades are all primal and more than just B-sides. "Lost Train" features rhythmic guitar and piano, pumping bass and distant drums. The guitar break is similar to some surf tunes. While the sound is muddy, the fire of the track makes up for the murk. Great primitive surf. The flip is credited as by Bubba Holland And The Jades.

Jimmie Jay and the Moon-Reyes - Poison Ivy dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a tasteful version of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller's classic hit for The Coasters. It's not particularly well developed, with few changes verse to verse. The reissue was credited only Jimmie Jay.

Jerry and the Diamonds - Sea-N-Shore dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a nice early surf version of "Sorento" ("Sea and Shore"). Whammy, twang, delicate double picking, and a walking bass line, and an "aahh" chorus line. Pretty cool.

Jerry and the Diamonds - Metalflakes dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a spunky track with infectious energy and great drums. In some ways, it's groovier than The Lively Ones version they are covering. "Metalflakes" is a cover of Freddy King's "San Jose" retitled.

The Jet Tones - Twangy dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Twangy" is riff city, crude and simple, and recorded in that ambient small studio combo sound. The whammy stops are cool, but otherwise it is only rare, not significant.

Johnny and the Firesides - From Russia With Love dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a very pleasant surf version of Monty Norman's theme "From Russia With Love." It's low key and mostly double picked. Moody and a bit amateur, but featuring tribal drums and an honest sound.

Kenny and the Fiends - House On Haunted Hill Part 1 dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a slowly "fee-fi-fo-fum" introduced track that uses a melody almost exactly like "Istanbul," but with heavy toms underneath. The lead guitar is thin, but the track is very fun.

Kenny and the Fiends - House On Haunted Hill Part 2 dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Like Part one, but with shimmering vibrato chords added to the intro, and more emphasis on the damped lead guitar, and more frantic tom tom action.

The Nightbeats - Night Rider dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Chop chords a la Tequila and a minimal melody riff run unchanged through most of "Night Rider." The parts that are different are just the stuff of noodly jams. The drum break is among the cooler of the period. Just guessing, but I suspect that Cozy Cole influenced the drummer pretty heavily. The Nightbeats included Pete Ronstadt, brother of singer Linda Ronstadt.

Danny Steel with Hank Ferrell and his Rhythm Boys - Chinese Twist dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This track is quite an unusual track from the east coast. The lead guitar is a lap steel. The style is slightly surf, slightly bison bop, and mostly growlingly mean. It's infectious and very fun. It's not very "Chinese," but it is exotic.

The Phantoms Band - Phantom Bug dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a Champs-like version of "La Cucarracha" that's fun, but relatively pedestrian. The biggest problem is the derivative arrangement aping another artist.

Bucky Pizzarelli - Night Rider dotdotdot
Country (Instrumental)

Deep tremolo guitar plays an easy melody line. Echo provides the sustain, and the style is relatively Euro-guitar. It's a train instro with slide aping train whistles. This was issued twice on Everest under the same catalog number (19411) with different b-sides, "Red River (Valley)" and "The Astronaut."

Bucky Pizzarelli - The Astronaut dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Apache string swipes and a light rhythm track back a very tasteful cover of "Samovar" aka "Meadowlands." This is a fairly tame version, almost in an easy listening style. This was issued on Everest as the second issue b-side to "Night Rider."

Jon Sisco and the Electras - Border Beat dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a very fine surf instro in the delicate muted vein. It sports a fine melody riff and very strong playing. The delicate notes are superb! Jon Sisco and the Electras were occasionally known as The Jon Sisco Quartet. This is an unissued track, probably the same Norman Petty session that yielded their single on Jamie as Jon Sisco.

The Jon Sisco Quartet - Theme From The Lonely dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Theme From The Lonely" is a very strong instro with charming tremolo and rich sound. Unissued from Norman Petty's vaults, it's a wonderful track with Petty's exceptional sound. Fine whammy chords that ring like bells.

The Surf Teens - Moment Of Truth dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

From vinyl, this track is a solid cover of a classic of the period. It's uses the Original Surfaris' arrangement, focusing on the dark lead lines. Rhythmic and well delivered.

The Surf Teens - Moonshine dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This tune uses a simple progression very effectively, with a nice balance between the lead and rhythm. There's a sorta sad-mean feel blended with an optimism in the lead tones. Quite nice. This is the A-side of the first single. Super rare these days, it's a fine piece of Central Coast vintage surf riff history. It's nice to hear in nice clean stereo.

The Bob Taylor Orchestra - Dixie dotdotdot
Country (Instrumental)

This is a basic western version of "Dixie" from 1960. It's very nice, but unremarkable.

The Vibrants - Scorpion dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is one of the great legendary bands of the old school, who's name I used to hear on ads for surf dances on KFWB and KRLA. This is a throaty Ventures kinda thing, rhythmic and churning. It has a decided surf feel, with an unusual melody and structure. Great track. The melody line is very close to "Super Jet Rumble." This was a single.