Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Instrumental Madnessdotdotdot
artworkInstrumental Madness is a bootleg comp sporting a lot of raw fifties B-side type tunes, plus a surf nugget or two. Often muddy, but always energetic, the music within is what garage instros were all about in the early days.
Picks: Thunder Express, X-Termination, Wailin', Strollin' After Dark, Shot Rod, Upturn, Draggin' Wagon, Thunder Wagon, Rockin' Rebel, Beetle Walk, What's The Word, Hot Ice, Lost Train, Flamingo Express, Take It Off, Show Down

Track by Track Review


Thunder Express dotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

"Thunder Express" is a low-E grumbler hinting of the surf singles to come in the next two years. This reminds me of Gene Gray and his Stingrays in some ways, just a little less edgy and energy laden. A great and ultimately surfable riff drives "Thunder Express." Rhythm dominated low watt rock instros from the day when instros were structured like backtracks waiting for a vocal melody line. There are some nice guitar licks in the bridge, but mostly it's a riff rocker.

X-Termination dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

Really grodie riff rock, muddy sound and lots of hard drivin' playing. The guitar style and tone approach surf. "X-Termination" is a manic track, with more guts than panache. Still, it has a certain garage charm and primal drive.

Wailin' dotdotdot
Northwest Rock (Instrumental)

A fast Link Wray-like number, in his less interesting fifties progression style. The track is overdubbed with echoed handclaps. Originally issued in 1959.

Strollin' After Dark dotdotdotdot
Fifties Rock (Instrumental)

This single has been covered many times by purveyors of fifties cool like the Cramps. Slow and ultra nasty, big vibrato guitar, raw sax, and a relentless bass line over distant drums. Even the piano is sleazy as fingers drag up and down the keyboard. An essential piece of instro Americana.

Shot Rod dotdotdot
Fifties Rock (Instrumental)

"Shot Rod" sports flying piano and racing blues riffs. The raspy sax and the strummin' guitar fly over thumping upright bass and pounding drums. No melody, but an abundance of energy.

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.

Draggin' Wagon dotdotdot
Fifties Rock (Instrumental)

Raw sax lead riff rockin' progression song. Like many instros of the day that were rightly relegated to the B-side, this has no melody, but features really tuff drums and an onslaught of energy.

Thunder Wagon dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

What a nifty guitar riff. Unfortunately, it's milked to death. The sax is raw, and the beat relentless. OK, so it's fun and infectious in a garage sorta way with its Lee Hazelwood "Movin'" guitar riffs.

Rockin' Rebel dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a riff rocker in a late fifties rockin' format. No real melody, just an in your face attack. Loud and dirty.

Beetle Walk dotdotdot
Fifties Rock (Instrumental)

This is a raw sax and rhythm track with more exuberance than melody or style. Nothing remarkable, except some intense chords.

What's The Word dotdotdot
Fifties (Instrumental)

"What's The Word" is a raucous fifties jam with stops to facilitate the frat shouts.

Hot Ice dotdotdot
Fifties Rock (Instrumental)

Great drums a la "Walk Don't" Run introduce this rhythm progression track. No melody, just a gimmicky big chords warble.

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 late surf.

Flamingo Express dotdotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

This is their best tune IMHO! It is highly rhythmic, like a train rolling down the tracks. It is sax led, and absolutely infectious. It was likely the inspiration for "The Sentinal" by the Sentinals. It is one of the must-have pre surf tracks.

Take It Off dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A "Peter Gunn" riff behind a gimmicky runway number with charm and cool piano. Great drums drive this infectious track. Nice to see this on CD. The Genteels included Lenny Angelo - guitar, Carl Hubert - drums, and Dave Aerni, who later formed Aertaun Records, the Hollywood Tornadoes' label.

Show Down dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Raw guitar and a bumpin' beat characterize this primitive rocker. More than riff rock, but not exactly melodic, "Show Down" has an urgency and raw excitement about it that places it ahead of many 1958 instros.