Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA Collection: The Missing Chord
|Howard Raucous of Snatch Records has put together a mighty sampler of mostly British surf and rockabilly instros. There's a wide variety of sounds here, from fantastic surf to powerful rock to psychobilly and even horrid frat band wankage. Overall, a really good collection. |
As a side issue, the artwork contains the BEST PUBLICITY PHOTO OF ALL TIME (almost)! Slim Whitfield looks like he's either grunting for success or exclaiming "YESSSSS!" You decide.
Picks: Counterpoint - Hot Rod, Dead Man's Curve - Charlie's Point, Empress Of Fur - The Missing Chord, Huevos Rancheros - Girl From N.A.N.A.I.M.O., Los Mel-Tones - Poseidon, Los Nachos - Blue Stratos, The Sabrejets - Chickie Run, The Sandblasters - Body Bag, The Surf Creatures - Toxic Beach, The Surfin' Lungs - Vostok 1, The Surf Rats - Rat Motor, SurfTreK - Deathwave Theme, Surfzone - Big Day At Waimea
Track by Track Review
Wild Bob Burgos and His Band - Salt Box Hill
If you're into fifties sax rock, you'll probably like this. I'm not. To my ears, it's just pedestrian sax mung. Sorry guys.
Bustin' Bikini Beat - Whatcha Say
Awful lo-fi recording of a frat band chords and guitar hero wannabe show off and adolescent screaming girls. Yuk!
Phase-shifted guitar over a country beat make for a country-psych number that's quite nice, particularly the steel guitar parts. It has the feel of a stock car race in the South somewhere. Counterpoint is a UK act.
Dead Man's Curve - Charlie's Point
Really cool surfin' Viet Nam number based on a scene from Apocalypse Now (as opposed to that budget classic Pork Lips Now). This UK band has a fresh approach to instros, and lead mouthpiece Johnny Deadman has a sense of humor a mile wide. Really interesting track.
Empress Of Fur - The Missing Chord
Fiery surf from a band usually fronted by the gorgeous Miss Venus Raygun... hubba hubba. Surfabilly in nature, but more towards rockabilly than - say - Snake-Out. Really quite cool. The sound is a bit ambient. Their song title was loaned out for the compilation title.
Huevos Rancheros - Girl From N.A.N.A.I.M.O.
Rock & Roll (Instrumental)
Rhythmic and chunky track from Canada's leading exponent of aggressive rock instros. There's a strong influence here I can't quite capture... some Samba Rock number from a past millennium. If you're familiar with Huevos Rancheros, then you already know about their fuzz edge groove. This tracks is from their "Dig In" CD, and is more melodic than many of their tunes. This is one hard working band with a considerable following.
The Interceptors - Electric Pineapple
Rock & Roll (Instrumental)
From the Northeast of England. This is the title track from their ep, but was not actually on the ep. Too much of a riff and not enough melody. Their ep is much better.
Mighty surfy number with a great melody line. The lads whoop and holler as befits the fun obviously had during the session.
Los Nachos - Blue Stratos
Those legendary boys of tortilla chips and cheese from the Northwest of England do a very Spaghetti Western tune that's really nice! I found the pacing to be exquisite and the balance between the lead and rhythm to be well thought out.
The Revtunes - Surfin' To The Max
I had no idea this Midwest outfit was still around, and maybe they aren't considering the age of this track. The recording is downright horrid, with drums sounds that are unique in all the world, and the panoramics are dumb, with the drums on one side and the guitar on the other. Heavily Ventures influenced, the perform with nearly as little feeling and energy as that dinosaur band. The tune is little more than a progression.
The Sabrejets - Chickie Run
Chicken Bop (Instrumental)
From Belfast emerges Chicken Bop with Lonnie Mack tendencies. Too much progression and not enough melody.
The Sandblasters - Body Bag
They use a surf launch pad, but generally induce many other influences for a unique and vibrant sound. "Body Bag" sounds just like the name implies, a corpse lying in the alley in a B-movie detective story. Ominous.
Sgt Fury - Herman's Hangover
From their "Overcooked" album, this punkabilly band delivers a typical psychobilly instro... no melody, just a riff over and over.
Shotgun - Shotgun Rides Again
Rockabilly riffola with gun shots. Cute, for about 30 seconds.
The Surf Creatures - Toxic Beach
Best track of the bunch. very surfy and very moving. The keys are subdued enough to stay outta the way. Not too melodic, but the sound and fury carry the day.
The Surfin' Lungs - Vostok 1
The Lungs are best the absolute best at the Beach Boys thing, playing and singing with the attack of the Barracudas and the style and tightness of real pro's. Their instros are usually few and far between, which is too bad considering that most of them are quite good... witness "Surf Taboo." This track is not very surfy, but is none the less energetic and entertaining.
The Surf Rats - Rat Motor
In their prior life as Beachcoma, this UK band cut a track they called "Shotgun" for the Hang 11 compilation that was more Jon and the Nightriders than Jon's own band, particularly since the tune was actually a Jon and the Night Riders original. Anyway, they grew into the Surf Rats, and if this is any indication of their usual delivery, well, they are one hell of a band. This track is a melodic moderately paced surf tune with a great feel to it. The rhythm track is a lot like "Penetration," but when merged with the lead and drums, it's quite different... unique actually.
SurfTreK - Deathwave Theme
A lament for the fallen wave buddies. I'd have not used the "ah's," but they don't detract too much. Slow, moody, sad, and pretty with a plucky rhythm.
Surfzone - Big Day At Waimea
Totally reverbed-out with their usual sound. Melodic and ringing and way surfy. The drums and rhythm panned hard left & right. While not the best production for the track, "Big Day At Waimea" is none the less quite a surf rage.
Slim Whitfield - Ring Stinger
Blazing rockabilly fuzzed number. The performance is hot, and Slim plays all the instruments himself. Trouble is, it doesn't stick in the memory cells, or hold much interest. It is important to note that Slim's PR photo finds this UK guitarist sitting on the John looking just a bit stressed.