Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Instrumental Golden Oldies Vol. 13dotdotdot
artworkThis early sixties collection of oldies is the only all-instro volume in the series. It's all pre-surf and way too much fun.
Picks: Red River Rock, Soul Twist, Wheels, Whistling Organ, Ram-Bunk-Shush, Clouds, Rinky Dink, Reveille Rock, The Happy Organ, Wiggle Wobble, El Watusi, Beatnik Fly

Track by Track Review

Red River Rock dotdotdot
Sax & Organ Rock (Instrumental)

The first of what would become their formula, public domain standards ominously rocked out with organ dominated evil sax instrumentals with great Dave Yorko guitar breaks. "Red River Rock" never sounded so cool! It was instro covers of public domain standards that originally influenced Paul Johnson, who used "Little Brown Jug" among others in the Belairs sets (and on disc).

Soul Twist dotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Saxman King Curtis had a few hits. This made a minor splash on the charts, with its raspy sax and rolling beat.

Wheels dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Ain't no surf here, and barely hot rod. It's melodic, fluid, and borders on MOR. "Wheels" is closer to the Norman Petty Trio than the Fireballs or Buddy Holly. It is a very pretty quasi rock piece with an infectious melody line and arrangement. It was a Billboard hit in 1960 on Warwick, the same label that brought us Johnny and the Hurricanes. It peaked at number 3. Not bad for a guitar instro. This is a Norman Petty composition.

Whistling Organ dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Whistling Organ" was a thematically cloned follow up to "The Happy Organ." Lots of bouncy fun with intense organ volume, like an acid flashback in a roller rink.

Ram-Bunk-Shush dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

I've long been a sucker for the simplicity and infectious pumpin' beat of Joey Dee and the Starlighters. This is a funky and fun discotheque (not disco, boys and girls) version of the Checkmates' classic basher.

Clouds dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Oft compiled slow instro from the fifties. Its melody riff is simple, mostly relying on tradeoffs between the plinky piano and the honky sax. No squirtin', just dribbling. Fun.

Rinky Dink dotdotdot
Roller Rink Rock (Instrumental)

This is a priceless track, with Dave 'Baby' Cortez's whistling roller rink organ and an infectious beat, it creeps in and stays. Rich sound and roller rink organ, approximating the original without the edge and drive. Still fun after all of these years.

Reveille Rock dotdotdotdot
Military Organ-Sax-Guitar Rave (Instrumental)

Yup! This just plain rocks! Not many of the instros of the late fifties really pummeled, but this had more energy than most everything else of the day. The organ lead is so-o-o cool, and the spit-ball sax just rips! Dave Yorko's guitar break rules too! When I was in the service, I used to play this in the barracks at reveille to wake the slumbering masses.

The Happy Organ dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Churning organ runs, calliope sensibilities, and pure joy. This disc broke the organ out of it's paradigm as a jazz-soul instrument and brought it squarely into rock 'n' roll. This is an utterly infectious wailin' organ instro that just can't be held down. Pumpin' screamin', and drivin' hard on the wind. If there's a single instro that embodies the rock and roll spirit, "The Happy Organ" is it. The production makes the organ sound very loud. Still hot after all these years.

Wiggle Wobble dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This very cool bouncy R&B tune was often covered by surf bands live. It was a hit for Les Cooper and the Soul Rockers on the old AM radio. Very infectious and rock solid.

El Watusi dotdotdotdotdot
Latin Jazz (Instrumental)

I still recall how cool this sounded on KYA in '63. Bob Mitchell wondered aloud what "grande feo" meant, hoping it was within the bounds of propriety. It's a very infectious slow groove, with very cool Latin rhythms and percussion. This takes some arguing to call it an instro. Ray Barretto narrates throughout in conversational style. The banter is like a latter day "Say Man" (Bo Diddley), arguing about who is uglier while they dance the watusi. The closing line is "blah blah blah blah blah...," and perhaps that says it all.

Beatnik Fly dotdotdot
Organ Sax (Instrumental)

This is another track morphing a traditional song, as was the majority of the singles from this band. "Blue Tail Fly [Jimmy Crack Corn and I Don't Care]" became "Beatnik Fly" over a cool backtrack and Dave Yorko's great guitar. The intro is so sad, then the Beat rhythm, breaks out and the cool jazz bass line, and then that whistlin' organ and mumblin' sax. It's way fun and melodic.