Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Elemental Instrumentalsdotdotdotdot
artworkThis is a great vault purge from Wisconsin's Cuca records label. A few previously unreleased gems are among some very vital surf instros and primitive Midwest rock instros. Excellent liner notes complete the value.
Picks: Scalping Party, 7-0-7, Wasted!, Moon Race, Trackin', Rocker, Fall Out, Moon Dawg, Hades, Rewind, Sands Of Arabia, War Party, Rotation, Cyclone, Slippin' And Slidin', Rick-O-Shay, The Lonely Huns, Spin Out, Oddysey, Rawhide, Midnight Express, Tic Toc, This Way Out, The Voodoo Walk, Side-Winder, Mondo Caravan, Rock Casual, When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again

Track by Track Review


Scalping Party dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This song is credited to Gordy Hastreiter, but is really a rompin' reverby reworking of the Wailers' "Shanghaied" is loaded with frat party yelling. This Midwest band has no relationship at all to the Hollywood Tornadoes or the London Tornados. They were on the Cuca label.

7-0-7 dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the b-side of "Scalping Party," and is much less frantic, but also much more durable for my money. More riffy than melodic, but very cool. The circular melody line is just catchy enough, and the muted verses are very surf!

Wasted! dotdot
Sax Surf (Instrumental)

This raw sax rocker is supported by primal drums and chunky guitar. It's more than a fifties frat rocker, with reverbed and damped rhythm guitar pretty buried in the mix, yet fundamental to the power of the tune. At the end of the day, it's just a riff rocker.

Moon Race dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Moon Race" is very infectious, and sports great finger squeals on the guitar. It totally rocks and captures your surf imagination. Among the midwest obscuros, it's one of the essential tracks. A totally magical track. This stellar surf instro has amazingly good sound when you consider it was cut in an someone's attic.

Trackin' dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Semi-saucy sax 'n' roll with a saunter, "Trackin'" is a moderately interesting track with some tasteful vibrato and charm.

Rocker dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The song's title might lead you believe that this 1959 track will rock. That would be only partially true. "Rocker" moderately paced some with great drums and a decent riff. It does have lots of energy, but is somewhat restrained sounding.

Fall Out dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This obscuro uses a pretty cool drum beat, and a basic chord progression to match, both of which are not the usual surf beat. The melody riff is classic combo surf. Infectious and very fun. "Fall Out" sports an explosion, which is a recording of a real atomic blast, and for which the tune is named.

Moon Dawg dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is an almost gentle version of the Gamblers' "Moon Dawg." It illustrates the frequently employed engineer's credo of you play quiet and I make it loud. It's hard to imaging they actually played it this way. The chorus is kind cheesy, but despite all that, it rocks. The original label was Cuca 1145.

Hades dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is one odd single. The pumping organ progression would lead you astray at first, but the surf guitar and reverbed wood block or above the bridge plucking creates a really interesting sound. A great sax break and a haunting vibrato. Great track!

Rewind dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Based on "Got My Mojo Working," this surf instro is a fun little track that was just unearthed. It borrows other R&B riffs as well, and is just simply fun, with great drums and tight playing. The date and band details are unknown.

Sands Of Arabia dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Really thin guitar and distant tribal drums deliver a mysterious Arabian theme that's just waiting for some enterprising surfband to cover it. Great drums and hand claps, along with bongos, really make this shine. In some ways, it reminds me of Johnny and the Hurricanes' "Sheba."

War Party dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

Great drums and groovy guitar chords play out an Indian theme. The drums really make this work, though the song is quite surfable. The haunted vibrato verses are shimmery cool. Issued in 1962.

Rotation dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Piano plinks and the riff rock takes over. "Rotation" has no melody, but is a rousing riff rocker in the b-side tradition before surf came along.

Cyclone dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Cyclone" is more than a riff rocker, but doesn't quite rise to the level of melody. Raw and honkin' and riffy with a little reverb.

Slippin' And Slidin' dotdotdotdot
Surf (Vocal)

Great Citations guitar riffs pump behind the vocals which don't run all the way through. The riffs are fifties pre surf, but they sure are cool. It's mostly instrumental. I wouldn't have suspected that Little Richard's "Slippin' and Slidin'" could rock in this wet way.

Rick-O-Shay dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Great echoed muted guitar pickin' here. "Rick-O-Shay" is a very infectious bouncy number with lots of great drums and a very cool sound. It bears repeated listening.

The Lonely Huns dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Big island chords, shallow whammy wakes on the water, and a melody that borrows parts from the Ventures' "Lonely Sea." The question is, which came first? This is lovely, melodic and inviting island music.

Spin Out dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Spin Out" is a primitive instro with a riffy basis and funky feeling. Kinda subdued cool, but not really memorable.

Oddysey dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Oddysey" has languished in the vaults since it was cut in July 1963. Great drums and a simple riff make it rock. The drum break is excellent, and the "Tequila"-like riff kinda cool too. Quite fun.

Rawhide dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Link Wray and his Raymen's "Raw-Hide" gets a Midwest surf treatment, with rompin' drums and bass and rockin' guitar lines. Not too many covers of this song are really cool, but this one sure is.

Midnight Express dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Midnight Express" has been booted a few times. It's a tape echo guitar romp that's just too fun. Very primitive, but with great fire and flair.

Tic Toc dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Tic Toc" is a very fun instro with a great riff and gimmick. It may be from 1961, but there's great reverb on the lead guitar. You can just feel the grins on the band members' faces as they play this catchy number.

This Way Out dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

The Furys could rock. Their drummer was great, and their riffs were sort of post fifties jammin' Lots of energy and pumping drums. "This Way Out" is right in there, with a great break.

The Voodoo Walk dotdotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Exotica bird calls, great muted surf guitar a la the Nobles, jungle vibrato, and great tribal drums. "The Voodoo Walk" is one cool instro, with real rock charm and a great sound. It originally was titled "Voo Doo Walk."

Side-Winder dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Side Winder" is a 1962 piano and whammy twanger with a jam feel and nasty sax. It's a smoky bar intrso jam.

Mondo Caravan dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Very primitive Middle Eastern riffology via Tom Terry's guitar. What a cool treatment of Duke Ellington's "Caravan!" The sound is thin, and would give cheap cause for pause, but it sure is real!

Rock Casual dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Cut in 1964, Wally Messner's "Rock Casual" a very cool instro with a great hook. That's because it's a minor variation on Freddy King's "San Jose." Bassy and reverbed out, it's just lots of fun, and the overall wash of tape echo gives the drums a retro fifties sound.

When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a primitive sax rocker with a guitar break and Ventures-like drums. It's quite interesting, but not really memorable.