Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA Collection: Rare Instrumentals Volume 24
|There is really a lot of cool stuff here, but it's all from vinyl without any restoration attempted and with lots of annoying stereo artifacts. Still, it's quite a trip through the library!|
Picks: Angelo's Angels - Dirty Shirt, Mach 9, The Enchanters - Surf Blast, Tum-Tiki, The Fender IV - Everybody Up, Charlie Fury - Reptile, The Ho Dads - Legends, The Intruders - Wild Goose, The Invictas - The Breeze And I, Freddy King - Funny Bone, Kipper and the Exciters - Drum Twist, The Jesters - A-Rab, Jim Moon's Combo - Occarina Polka, The Ramrods - War Party, The Rebel Rousers - Fat Man's Walk, Charlie Ryan - Cadillac Bounce, Bob Vaught and the Renegaids - Bo Gator
Track by Track Review
Angelo's Angels - Dirty Shirt
"Dirty Shirt" is an almost jazz guitar romp in light country format with fiddle and walking bass. Not particularly memorable, but much more than riffs.
Born of Telstar, but comparatively light. Jet noises pass overhead, and island surf chords and tone deliver a fine melody line. There's lovely sunny surf here, along with a catchy melody line.
The Argons - Spiked
Tom tom action and sax rompin' in extremely ambient sound. Nothing special here, though the cowbell is cool.
Organ accompanies this modulated guitar track with a melody hinting at Tommy Roe's "Dizzy" at times. Not really memorable.
The Enchanters - Surf Blast
While strictly a riff rocker, this surf tune is quite infectious, with splashy guitar and a nasty sax out front. Lots of energy and plenty of changes. In some ways, it's like a minor Eddie and the Showmen track.
The Enchanters - Tum-Tiki
Moaning tummy aches and dark growls accompany a cool reverbed surf line, while exotica jungle sounds filter through. It's a brooding piece from 1963 that clearly borrows from the Martin Denny influences that were everywhere. The melody is really cool. Is this about Alka-Seltzer in the jungle or Thor Heyerdahl's raft? Spoo-ooky! "Tum-Tiki" has a cold wind blowing throughout while a slow mean riff repeats, before a sax comes to the front with a nasty wail. Occasional double picking is used, but mostly this lumbers the haunted halls of POP. Lumbering over constant wind sounds like in the old black and white ghost stories, evil sax, dark brooding guitar tone. This track drags you into the haunted regions of your imagination. It is relentless and repetitious, based on a progression, devoid of melody, and very effective. It's interesting to note that the Tiki Tones covered it in the nineties.
The Fender IV - Everybody Up
From the first drum beat of the intro, this track shreds. The beat is strong, the rhythm infectious, and the melody incredibly good. There are few surf instros that compare to the power and energy of this magical track. Exceptionally good playing, and magnificently strong writing. The glissandos grab and shake you, leaving you spent when it's over. Originally issued in February, 1965.
Tribal drums and thee classic faux middle eastern guitar riff a la Egyptian Surf. While country based probably, this is really cool. Nifty sax break, and an infectious sound.
Guitars Inc. - Guy Dad It's Early
Jazz guitar jive... not exactly easy listening, but certainly in that direction. Playful and fun, with some tasteful licks.
This is very light rock with soft organ lead and easy surf guitar. There's a hint of Richie Podolor, but not enough to make it likely he's on the track. Tasteful but very easy listening-lite rock and barely surf.
The Intruders - Wild Goose
Once back in the mid eighties, while talking surf instros with Teisco Del Rey, I brought up the Intruders. His eyes lit up, and he said "Oh, they did that monster tom-tom version of "Wild Goose!" That sums it up. The song is an old Frankie Lane hit. It was in the set of several surf bands, including those fronted by Paul Johnson. None made it the powerhouse that these guys did. The piano is really cool, with it's pumping Jerry Lee Lewis style. Even the addition of the gourds is cool. Great track!
The Invictas - The Breeze And I
Utterly haunted, moody as all get out, and super obscure. While it's not great, it's certainly an original take on this venerable melody, and a must hear at least once. No idea which Invictas this might be.
A bit of a barnyard scratcher, "Funny Bone" plays on the chitlin' side of the tracks. It coulda been a Lonnie Mack kinda thing I think. Very fun track.
Kipper and the Exciters - Drum Twist
Big tom toms rumble as whammy dipped guitar and raspy sax riff away. "Drum Twist" is better than many such tracks, and sounds like an attempt at Sandy Nelson and Richie Podolor. Kipper and the Exciters is Kip Tyler and company. Tribal, primitive, and cool.
This single has long languished in the Goodwill bins. Jim Messina has been quoted as disliking the work he died with the Jesters, but I find it fascinating. The meter is rough, but the energy is spectacular and the melodies are quite unusual. This is a solid surf number, middle eastern influenced, though the Spanish feel is actually more prominent. It may not be well recorded, but it is fresh and intense, and uniquely Jim Messina in structure and approach. It's nothing like his Buffalo Springfield or Loggins & Messina work. Rhythmic and double pick extra swell surfology. Gotta dig the man.
Ownership of these masters is currently in the courts following the death of the original owner. Given enough time for the lawyers to drain the royalties dry, they should eventually see the light of day from the original tapes, since they all still exist and Jim Messina is a recognized name and the Jesters are an often covered band these days. From 1964.
Jim Moon's Combo - Dominique
This is the Singing Nun's song without words. With an extremely subdued backtrack, it is virtually a guitar solo. Soft and uninspired.
Jim Moon's Combo - Occarina Polka
"Occarina Polka" is a lot like "Rum and Coca Cola," but in a light country jam format. It's playful and fun, and light enough for company. Way cool and infectious too.
The Pharos - Rhythm Surfer
Another pleasant listening excursion into the obscure and not particularly great. It just doesn't stand up to the caliber of "Pintor." the piano carries the lead while the rhythm guitar plays a damped by unreverbed line. Mostly a jam.
The Pyramids - Custom Caravan
This single-only track from the Pyramids is typically Hollywood surf-rod stylistically, but also features a cool guitar break in the Pyramids' classic style. Pretty punchy for an Usher production, though the vocals are way to upfront.
The Ramrods - Slouch-ee
MOR Rock (Instrumental)
MOR slush rock, unremarkable and more a jam than a song.
Fifties Indian Rock (Instrumental)
This is a better than average fifties Indian theme instro. It uses a simple almost linear melody, is edgy like many upper Midwest instros were, and sports a good bit of energy. While pretty raw, it's also quite listenable.
The Rebel Rousers - Fat Man's Walk
Pre Surf (Instrumental)
A walking bass line under a "Bulldog" kinda riff with infectious chops and soft appeal, "Fat Man's Walk" is really quite nice. The dribbling double picking in the break leaves it on the bluff overlooking the surf.
The Rock-A-Beats - French Fries
Near Surf (Instrumental)
"French Fries" is the "Wipe Out" guitar line. The drums are weak and completely not "Wipe Out." This sounds like it's from the early sixties, but I can find no information at all except that is was originally issued on Benz No# [Break Through c/w French Fries]. Really uninspired, but also obscure and curious.
The Rockin' Continentals - 2-3-4
A basic frat riff and sound, not remarkable or interesting, just rare.
The Rockin' Continentals - Count Dracula
"Good evening! My name is Count Dracula. Ha Ha Ha." So opens the disc, with an echoed voice in that familiar Bela Lagosi accent. The track features a heavily vibratoed lead, and a simple progression melody line. Nothing special. This was recorded in 1963 in a basement in Topeka, Kansas.
Charlie Ryan - Cadillac Bounce
"Cadillac Bounce" is a light weight country rocker with fiddles and classic country twangin' tremolo. It definitely bounces and is certainly pleasant.
Bob Vaught and the Renegaids - Bo Gator
One of the more obscure tracks from Bob Vaught and the Renegaids, this strongly Bo Diddley influenced track rocks and pumps! Great sax lines and Bob Vaught's classic grode guitar.
Bob Vaught and the Renegaids - Church Key Twist
Boy Chorus Surf (Instrumental)
One of Bob Vaught's lesser tracks that's been comp'd before. A pretty straight version of an all too common tune with suck-dog vocal chorus work.