Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Hey DJ, Play Some Instrumental Jivers Vol. 1dotdotdot
artworkA giant slab of vintage instros, reasonably mastered, but with many spelling and other errors, including artist and titles reverse, incomplete artist names, title errors, etc., and no liner notes. Bootleg.
Picks: Phil Baughn - Bumble Twist, The Carnations - Scorpion, Dick Dale and his Del-tones - Miserlou, The Gee Cees - Buzz Saw Twist, The Noblemen - Dragon Walk, The Nobles - Black Widow, Steve Rowe and the Furys - Minor Chaos, Ted Russell and his Rhythm Rockers - Brang, The Sensations - Wild Cat, L. Sigman and the Sharps - Sweet Georgia Brown, The Silver Jets - Modockin', Eddie Smith with the Hornets - Upturn, The Thundermen - Flyin' High

Track by Track Review


The Astronauts - Blues Beat dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a basic riff rocker without a real melody. The lead guitar almost has a reverb sound, but this is nothing like surf, nor is it the Astronauts of "Baja" fame.

Phil Baughn - Bumble Twist dotdotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

"Bumble Twist" is based on Rimsky-Korsakov's "The Flight Of The Bumble Bee." Perhaps as interesting as the classic everyone covers, but different. While it's pretty simple, it's also more variable, with an arrangement that keeps interest longer.

The Carnations - Scorpion dotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

This incredibly cool pre surf tune sports an infectious lead riff and guitar twang, with a relentless progress about it, and a hint of the Champs' "Tequila." I've played this a million times, and it's always satisfying. Its relentlessness and catchy riff, along with the cowbell, are just wonderful. It's a must have early guitar instro.

The Continental Four - Scramble dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

With a "Wipe Out" (Surfaris) inspired opening laugh and a cry of "Scramble," this is fun but unremarkable. The sound is thin and the style is fifties party rockin' B-side.

Dick Dale and his Del-tones - Miserlou dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The introductory note of Miserlou is somehow bigger than life. Dick's machine gun staccato is perfect. This is Dick Dale's biggest Del-tone singles, the incredibly archetypal "Miserlou" featured so prominently in Pulp Fiction. No comprehensive Surf collection should even be conceived without this song. This IS the sound of primal surf, the source of the idea of really LOUD guitar leads. It's reported that the arrangement was developed after Dick saw Johnny Barakat do it this way.

The Diminshuns - Firewater dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Echoed guitar drives a semi-melodic riff over a rolling basic rockabilly neat. It's OK, but not particularly interesting. The Diminshuns were from Houston, Texas.

The Epkon's - Horsefly dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dark and murky, with piano almost the only instrument that's really clear. Did I mention murky? It's energetic, but distorted and not very memorable, though a clean reading might have been pretty intense.

The Escos - Surf Ride dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The drums are overbearing and over-compressed, and the riff is pedestrian jammin' at best. "Surf Ride" is not really surf and not very interesting.

The Fugitives - Fugitive dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Percussive piano riffin, sax progressin', and energy, but nowhere near as interesting or fun as "Freeway." Pretty Standard, like a tame Little Richard piece without the vocals.

The Gee Cees - Buzz Saw Twist dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Very much a jam with a great beat, this guitar and sax rocker is raw and real. Some very cool guitar licks and intriguing drums keep "Buzz Saw Twist" afloat. This is a raw twanger from an artificial band who's name comes from the guitarist and song's author, Glenn Campbell.

Ray Morton and the Temp-tones - Whirlwind dot
Fifties Progression (Instrumental)

Completely unremarkable. "Whirlwind" is a basic progression number with not one iota of unique character.

The Noblemen - Dragon Walk dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

Nasty sax and reverbed growling guitar, and a mean riff. The nasty extreme vibrato in the bridges is very cool and unusual, almost like the Carnations' "Scorpion." It's not melodic, but it's primal and raw, with a throbbing magnetism.

The Nobles - Black Widow dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This surf obscuro sports a lead guitar that's buried pretty far in a somewhat murky mix. Too bad too, because, while this is pretty simple, it's actually quite infectious. There's lots of energy and great drums rolling and rocking throughout.

The Off Beats - Red Ants dotdotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

A whirling organ under a couple of basic chord progressions, and a sax sputtering out an unimaginative riff. A typical fifties B-side.

The Reekers - Don't Call Me Flyface dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

OK, I give. Why would you call someone "flyface"? It seems to me that this jams just fine as a fifties rocker, lot's of spunk, a nifty progression, and no melody.

Larry Reynolds - The Flea dotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

Rockin' rollin' Jerry Lee Lewis feel to the beat, and nothing more than that. An routine sax line with a minimal melody.

The Rock Kings - Runaway dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a basic riff rocker with honky tonk piano and raspy sax. Nothing unusual happening here, no hooks, no catchy riffs, just a bit of spunk. This is not the Del Shannon tune.

Rodney and the Blazers - Summertime Rock dotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

1960 presurf madness, with the guitar playing low-E ultra vibrato, the piano tinkling, and then, the pace doubles and the sax wails. Gershwin's tune has seen many a reworking. Here, Rodney and the Blazers give it the raucous treatment, and it's a great vehicle a for budding surf band yet to be.

Steve Rowe and the Furys - Minor Chaos dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the other original version of this fine instro. The arrangement is different, and the guitar wizardry played differently, and with the addition of piano, "Minor Chaos" takes yet another amazing power stride! Love those guitar chokes! Great track!

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 Sensations - Wild Cat dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

The lead guitar here sounds pretty surfy in that jam sorta way, with a fifties progression and some reverb. It'll fit your surf set just fine. The Fender twang is evident, along with a walking bass line.

L. Sigman and the Sharps - Sweet Georgia Brown dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This rompin' track is all fun, with rockin' piano, excellent muted rhythm guitar, and boss drums. "Sweet Georgia Brown" verges on great. Aside from the dry guitar, this could easily be from the upper midwest in the sixties from a band like The Titans.

The Silver Jets - Modockin' dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a darn surfy tune, with double picked riffs in the break, low-E single note runs for the main melody, and a basic surf structure. Reverb is either not used, or is set to a very small dwell. In any event, it's a fun number with the look and feel of surf.

Eddie Smith with the Hornets - Upturn dotdotdot
Fifties Rock (Instrumental)

"Shot Rod" is a chord rocker mostly. Manic drums, thumpin' bass, and speedy pickin' in a post guitar boogie format drive the demons from the hall. Nothing like a melody in sight, but lots of drive and thrashing angst.

The Brave New World - The Stranger dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a totally Shadows-style band playing a very straight version of The Shadows' "The Stranger." Well done, but nothing special. Stick to the original.

The Thrashers - Sledge Hammer dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Sledge Hammer" is a fairly basic riffer from what sounds like the late fifties. The drums are very interesting, in the bridges, and while mostly a jam, there are some attractive spots here.

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 Viscounts - Little Brown Jug dotdotdot
MOR (Instrumental)

This big band arrangement of "Little Brown Jug" has been pared down to the bare essentials. Honkin', rockin' just fun. A jam.

Link Wray and his Raymen - Hang On dotdotdot
Fifties B-side (Instrumental)

A fifties B-side sorta thing, progression in search of a melody.