Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Fernwood Rock 'n' Rolldotdotdot
artworkThis 1999 collection of material from the Fernwood label out of Memphis includes 11 instros, with 4 coming from the Tarantulas, who show off their pre surf roots. All of the material dates from the late fifties to the early sixties.
Picks: Big Shot, Moon Rocket, Mack The Knife, Tarantula, Like Spellbound, Hoe Down Rock, Jo's Mix, .38 Special, Black Widow, Shock, Kaw Liga

Track by Track Review


Big Shot dot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Big Shot" is a typical studio sax jam with a spiffy beat, moderate excitement, and no melody. rare, but unremarkable.

Moon Rocket dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Early guitar riff rock with plinking piano and a shuffling beat. No melody, just a mechanical progression.

Mack The Knife dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

A chumpy beat runs under short burst low key organ leads, alternated with sax leads. Kinda dirty, like a smoky club of fifty years ago. So-so!

Tarantula dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

This pre-surf instro has a classy yet simple guitar line over a tribal beat with subdued organ. It almost crosses into the surf idiom is some ways. catchy and cool, and just waiting for a full tilt surf arrangement. This track was licensed to Atlantic in 1962.

Like Spellbound dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

Perhaps not as close to surf as their namesake side, "Like Spellbound" is tweaky cool and fun, with some damped guitar and a cool blend of guitar rock and organ R&B. The rhythm is almost carnival like.

Hoe Down Rock dotdot
Country Rock (Instrumental)

"Hoe Down Rock" is a pretty fun sax rock dosey-do, with a thumpin' barn dance beat and archetypical square dance melody riff.

Jo's Mix dotdot
Jazz (Instrumental)

"Jo's Mix" is a dirty little jazz number in the Dixieland meets R&B vein. Ultra simple, yet crudely magnetic.

.38 Special dotdot
Near Jazz (Instrumental)

This is an odd little number in a forties jazz combo vein. It doesn't stand out, yet its energy is infectious and its groove cool.

Black Widow dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

A rumbly bass line opens "Black Widow," and runs throughout the track. The guitar lines lean on the riffier surf to come, and the organ is on the small combo side. very simple, but kinda cool.

Shock dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

It's funny how close this is to the Tarantulas' sound, organ and all, but "Shock" lacks the near surf credibility of "Tarantula." Riffy and a little backwoods bouncy. Simple unpretentious pickin' fun.

Kaw Liga dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

This is a really odd arrangement of this oft-covered rockabilly song. Spunky and quirky, with a carnival organ run. Quite fun.