Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Original Early Canadian Rockers Vol. 6 and 7dotdotdot
artworkWow, what a collection, maybe the best yet from Collector Records. Two CD's, 50 instrumentals, almost two hours of rare Canadian rock and roll. While many sources are vinyl, the tracks are clean and very well mastered. Some really essential vintage material here covering rockabilly, rock 'n' roll, surf, and country with equal quality. The B-side filler kinda tracks are at a bare minimum, with most tracks standing up to multiple listenings and displaying interesting arranging and playing. The vast majority of these tracks are guitar instros. There's the legendary Wes Dakus here, the illusive Checkers, the Corvairs, and many more. Brings back memories of listening to CJOC late at night as a teenager. Recommended.
Picks: Surf Board, Not Guilty, Tarantula, Rain Maker, One Step Beyond, You Gotta Move, Go Go Guitare, Little Pineapple, The Whistling Stroll, Inside Out, Walk Down, Cavalier Twist, Rockelene, Meadowlands, Thunder Rock, Electrocution, Stormin', Guitar Boogie, Twistin' The Boogie, Jeunesse Jump, Continental '65, Twist-Man-Easy, Scotch Boogie, Strolling Through The Lane, I. H. Boogie, Low Down Guitar, Inland Surfer, Double 'D' Boogie, Corvet's Twist, Stepping Stones, Latromotion, Twilight Twist, Creepy, Road Block, Stranger, Rockin' Crickets, Shandia, Siam, El Ringo, Boogie On Strings, Linda Lou, Slow Walk, Reno, The Corvairs Beat, All Gone, Night Train, Movin' and Groovin', Bulldog, Pink Canary, Las Vegas Scene

Track by Track Review

Surf Board dotdotdotdot
Surfabilly (Instrumental)

Using vibrato and echo to approximate the surf sound, this rockabilly number rocks and shimmers with no shortage of period charm. Rhythmic and way cool.

Not Guilty dotdotdot
Jazzabilly (Instrumental)

"Not Guilty" is a kinda jazzy groove with a quaint small combo sound and a spiffy hook. An excellent example of the magnetism of a well developed and written minimalist instro. Lots of chemistry and enough variation to keep it from the grave of riff rock.

Tarantula dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Chop chords and a walking bass line support a maniacal lead line. Very unusual to say the least. It was issued on the Challenge label in the US and Apex in Canada. Bob Reagan's career was launched in the Peace River Rangers, a country and western group, before forming Bob and Lucille and the Canadian Sweethearts.

Rain Maker dotdotdot
Blues Rock (Instrumental)

"Rain Maker" is a lowdown bluesy jam with a nasty sax and great piano over fine drums and solid bass. It gets a bit too jammy, but still is quite a track.

One Step Beyond dotdotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

Slow echoed damped pluckabilly under spittin' sax and crispy guitar. The progression is pretty warm, and the jamminess not too excessive. Nice whammy and a coastal feel.

You Gotta Move dotdotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

Chicken pluckin' soft groove with a catchy sound and rhythm dominated twang. A little on the cute side, and definitely low key.

Go Go Guitare dotdotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

This rockabilly workout is a jam from top to bottom. Rhythm and noodles for dinner tonight.

Little Pineapple dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Great damped plucking intro like a pre Dick Dale flourish with a sub-surf intent. I think this borders on surf in some ways, and certainly in infectious. The lead guitar is weak from being played at low volume, but the chemistry is there, and the inventive tune carries the interest through.

The Whistling Stroll dotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

Yup, whistlin' and moving to a sock hop stroll. Just shy of interesting.

Inside Out dotdotdot
Country Piano (Instrumental)

"Inside Out" is a Floyd Cramer-ish number with tinkly piano and an infectious roll. Nice track.

Walk Down dotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

Thumpin' chord progression rock, free of melody or direction. The lead break is pretty cool, but it's so buried in the mix as be rendered useless.

Cavalier Twist dot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

That "Linda Lu" progression gets abused and over used. Set completely free of the burden of melody, this jam rocks in a low brow kinda way, but displays no direction.

Rockelene dotdotdot
Cowboy Boogie (Instrumental)

This is a fun and infectious cowboy boogie, damped and fun, with a grin about it and a slaphappy upright bass. It's pure period stuff, and it's definitely cool.

Meadowlands dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Chessmen arranged "Meadowlands" in a somewhat European way, yet it has a distinctly American pre-surf sound. It's an all-guitar way of playing it. There's a slight nod to the Shadows, but mostly the style is upbeat and bright with ringing guitar tone. This is likely the most common rock cover of this classic European melody. The lead is almost surfy, and the beat very cool. Excellent guitar playing and an infectious rhythm. This is one of those little singles that's a pleasure to listen to over and over. Great drums and an excellent performance.

Thunder Rock dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

The deep reverb guitar plays a simple and mean progression over plinky fifties piano and thumpin' drums and bass. While a pretty primitive song, "Thunder Rock" rocks in a relentless thundering way. Pretty darn cool.

Electrocution dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Progression surf with an edge and grodie feel. Bass glissandoes, rockabilly production sensibilities, and thundering bass. Obscure, delightful, and proof there was surf in Canada in the sixties.

Stormin' dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

From Lethbridge, Alberta comes a combo that was for a time aligned with CJOC and the reigning instro combo at local dances. This is a fast and exciting number with cool picking and rhythm, but not much to be confused with melody.

Guitar Boogie dotdotdotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

Rich reverbed low down guitar doin' the standard guitar boogie with pinnace and accuracy. It's about the best cover of this classic around, and much richer than the hit. It's amazing that this has remained hidden all these years.

Twistin' The Boogie dot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

Saucy sax and piano, handclaps and guitar, and a standard rhythm define this as an unremarkable jam.

Jeunesse Jump dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

A pre surf guitar and some interesting rhythm and piano work fill out a melodic track with cool drums and an infectious little sound. A busy and cool bassline with great drums. Fun and memorable.

Continental '65 dotdotdot
Surfabilly (Instrumental)

Surf guitar throbs slightly with vibrato and plays damped glissandoes in support of a minimal progression born of rockabilly. It's line straddling songs like this that blur the distinction between genres. While not the most exciting surf instro, it's nonetheless pretty cool.

Twist-Man-Easy dotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

"Twist-Man-Easy" is a pretty basic fifties progression B-side kinda tune. Beyond the progression, not much is going on.

Scotch Boogie dotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

Based on a stereotypical Scottish theme, this rockabilly instro doesn't rise beyond the B-side progression filler.

Strolling Through The Lane dotdotdot
Country (Instrumental)

"Strolling Through The Lane" sports some really nice country pickin' over a great walking bass line and brushed drums. Very tasteful and perfect for a lazy verandah afternoon.

I. H. Boogie dotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

Another dismissible B-side progression lacking melody. Just noodling around the chords in a "Guitar Boogie Shuffle" influenced structure.

Low Down Guitar dotdotdot
Fuzzabilly (Instrumental)

Early fuzz is introduced by a lowdown voice saying "heavy riff lowdown guitar." Not melodic, and backed by a rockabilly beat, this seems to span fifties rockabilly and sixties fuzz. It's an odd combo, yet is curiously interesting. Cool plinky piano and some nice drum work.

Inland Surfer dotdotdot
Discotheque Surf (Instrumental)

The beat and rhythm to Joey Dee and the Starlighters' "Peppermint Twist" is the basis for this jam. The title may be "Inland Surfer," but there's nothing surf about the style of the track. It is quite fun, and sports distorted guitar.

Double 'D' Boogie dotdot
Acoustic Guitar (Instrumental)

"Double 'D' Boogie" is an acoustic guitar track that's pretty fun and playful.

Corvet's Twist dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Nasty sax and fast low progression guitar make nice with a nowhere pattern. The guitar in the break has surfy whammy and some tasty twang. I can't decide if this is cool or just mediocre.

Stepping Stones dotdotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Great drums and an infectious rhythm like the Belairs used (and Paul Johnson still uses) from time to time, with a simple but very effective lead line. It's a lot like some of Paul's writing, though it's unknown if there's an influence here or not. The more I listen to this, the more interesting it is.

Latromotion dotdotdot
Frat (Instrumental)

Funky and playful and gimmicky, "Latromotion" is a progression amped up by starts and stops separated by great drums and broken up with a Kingsmen kinda progression in the break. Very spirited, if fairly frat oriented.

Twilight Twist dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

The Checkers make nice with shimmering vibrato lead guitar playing a fairly unmelodic line over a basic rockin' rhythm track. primitive, but interesting.

Creepy dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Wes Dakus and the Rebels had an association with CLUB similar to the Checkers' alignment with CJOC. Dakus achieved more notoriety outside his home court. This is a pretty basic rock instro, well played and targeted squarely at teen dances.

Road Block dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Wes Dakus' band the Rebels doin' a basic rock instro with nasty sax and a catchy rhythm. It's a fine rock groove with no pretensions of anything more. Fun.

Stranger dotdotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

The Shadows' tune is richened with vibrato and maybe a touch of reverb for a more surfy sound. Solid rockin' near surf with energy and style.

Rockin' Crickets dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Rockin' Rebels' "Rockin' Crickets" has been covered several times. This is a mighty fine version, with dominant ultra reverbed cricket chirps. Too cool, and way fun.

Shandia dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

An interesting progression eventually leads to handclaps and a moderate melody line. This early guitar rocker is more than a B-side, and yet not necessarily developed enough, which is likely why the addition of the hand claps. The tribal drum break accompanied by the count from 1 to 4 is spirited and fun. In some ways, it resides alongside of the surf genre.

Siam dotdotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

"Siam" is strongly influenced by Dale Hawkins' "Suzie Q," but is taken to the middle east with cymbal crashes and a mystical sound. At first I just thought this was cute, but it quickly endeared itself to me. This is the kinda track that the Halibuts or Los Straitjackets could make real hay with. Great stuff.

El Ringo dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Fireballs' "El Ringo" is delivered in rockin' style with lots of reverb and surf feel. The original is very cool, and this takes it into the surf for more fun and big twang. This track was recorded at the studios of CJCA.

Boogie On Strings dotdotdot
Country (Instrumental)

"Boogie On Strings" is just that, a country guitar boogie. backwoods fun with fiddle and lap steel or bottle necked guitar, rockin' piano and a walking bass over forties drums.

Linda Lou dot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

The hit, which is pretty nonmelodic, has a sax substituted for the teen-time lyrics. It doesn't stand up to this treatment very well. It's spirited enough, just not very interesting.

Slow Walk dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Sil Austin's "Slow Walk" is very nicely played out. The rhythm dominated tune somehow rings out with an inviting lilt. The lead lines are simple and tasteful, and the drummer rocks. Damped chords and a pre-surf mentality.

Reno dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Delicate damped lead plucking and whammy twango, a more or less Spanish flavor, some surfy tomes, and a playful sound give this fairly unusual instro an edge.

The Corvairs Beat dotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

Double picked rhythm and guitar boogie runs over running bass and drums. A little unusual, but not really remarkable.

All Gone dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Big twang and an Al Casey / Duane Eddy kinda sound with chamber reverb and very cool damped reverbed second guitar. No melody, but a catchy progression.

Night Train dotdotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

James Brown's "Night Train" is turned into a guitar boogie, giving a whole new feel. It's pretty amazing how flexible this tune is, standing up to this and Paul Revere and the Raiders without blinking an eye. Excellent.

Movin' and Groovin' dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Duane Eddy's "Moovin' and Groovin'" rocks and reverbs into the surf with driving spirit and rich guitar tone. Pretty cool.

Bulldog dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A sped up version of the Fireballs' "Bulldog" races along with acoustic bass and extra reverb. Mighty fun, with the pace bringing a grin and the reverb bringing the surf.

Pink Canary dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Whammy and Latin rhythms, splashy sunny sounds, and a too-fun beat. A stop-start tune with a fine infectious rhythm. Influenced by "Rockin' Crickets" in the progression department (less the crickets), "Pink Canary" is way cool.

Las Vegas Scene dotdotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

This Wes Dakus song sounds quite good, and it shows off his guitarista credentials. Slides and damped chords and warm sunny tones, an infectious rhythm, and excellent guitar work. Simple, but very effective. It's in the general vicinity of the Fireballs sound, but dryer. An infectious rhythm and crisp melody capture your ear and hold it. Excellent track!