Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Rock 'n Roll Instrumentals Vol. 3dotdotdot
artworkThis is volume three of the series, and is hands-down the best. Some ultra rare surf singles are here, and some essential pre-surf singles as well. From vinyl sources.
Picks: Everybody Out'ta The Pool, Drums Fell Off A Cliff, Quasimodo, The Vulture, Shady Ladie, Jim-Jam, Drum Shuffle, Sabotage, Ten Little Indians, Road Runnah, Speed Zone, Moon Race, Midnight Runner, Spitfire, Rhythm Rock, Rattle Snake, Steel Drivin' Man, Blueberry Jam

Track by Track Review

Everybody Out'ta The Pool dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Alright, chillun, outta the pool! It's a slowed down "Guitar Boogie Shuffle" with plinking piano and shouts of "Everybody Outta The Pool" while the whistle blows.

Drums Fell Off A Cliff dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This great surf obscuro rocks with an infectious surf riff, sparkling vibrato, and drums separating the verses. It's simple drama and magnetic hooks, and the gnarly cries of "drums off a cliff" make this one of the great singles. Very cool, and not often heard.

Quasimodo dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the utterly infectious "Pipeline"-esq flip to the Road Runners's "Road Runnah" single, which also appears credited to the Pyramids on the London version of their LP, as well as the Sundazed CD. Flying glissandoes, great double picking, and very cool riffs.

The Vulture dotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

This has long been one of my favorite pre-surf pieces. It's very simple, and leans on a couple of nice changes heavily. It's a tune that deserves a surf treatment. The damped plucking is melodic and delicate, and the melody line very endearing. Even the chord parts are catchy.

Shady Ladie dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

This is thin-lead instro with chunky almost early-surf rhythms and drums. The rhythm is cool, but the lead is really weak.

Jim-Jam dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Jim-Jam" is an aptly titled guitar jam from 1959. Not much of a melody, just uninspired notes twanged out, like many a rock B-side of the period.

Drum Shuffle dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Like a backtrack waiting for some inkling of a melody, this is relative tame. The drums breaks are fiery, though not particularly original.

Sabotage dotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

Muddy echoed one note nasty sax jammin'. Lots of energy, but no melody. Had it been recorded more clearly, it might work better.

Ten Little Indians dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

With a dry almost surf chunk rhythm track, this lowbrow Johnny and the Hurricanes styled number rocks and prances, and invites. It may be the same track farmed out to another label, or just an attempt to identify with the sound's originators.

Road Runnah dotdotdotdot
Hot Rod Surf (Instrumental)

The single A-side (B-side was "Quasimoto"), this track ended up on the London Records release of the Pyramids' album. It does not appear on the original Best Records release, and bears no similarity in playing or style to the Pyramids. OK, so that's not a slam, just a clarification. This track rules! It's hot, "Pipeline" like, and fiery. It may be a bit obscure, but it's a great track!

Speed Zone dotdotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

This is not the surf band that gave us "Steel Pier." It is a semi surfy tune murkily cut with 15 ips delay and a fluid though minimal riff over a high energy backtrack. The drummer makes his mark, as does the upright bass. Quite cool.

Moon Race dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Moon Race" is very infectious, and sports great finger squeals on the guitar. It totally rocks and captures your surf imagination. Among the midwest obscuros, it's one of the essential tracks. A totally magical track. This stellar surf instro has amazingly good sound when you consider it was cut in an someone's attic.

Midnight Runner dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

Riff rockin' guitar twango for the obscuro fan. Kinda grodie and cool, but too heavily dependent on a jam quality and basic riff. The low-E riffs are nearly surf in structure.

Spitfire dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Talk about your small label rockers, Harold and Bob scream and shout while they play your basic progression. Spunk without form.

Rhythm Rock dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The chord progression from "Folsom Prison Blues" is the main feature of this otherwise unremarkable guitar instro.

Rattle Snake dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

Slow methodical chord progression fare spunked up with big guitar twang. No melody, just the gimmicky twang. Yet, with it's charm, this seems to work OK and is memorable as well. It's from 1961 and sports some pre-surf elements that make it a candidate for a severe surf reworking.

Steel Drivin' Man dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Mostly damped chords and rolling drums, this is a reworking of "John Henry." With a Steve Douglas styles sax, and Duane Eddy styled production, this 1959 track is infectious and fun.

Blueberry Jam dotdot
Fifties (Instrumental)

I found my thrill, or maybe my rockin' shoes. "Blueberry Jam" is a trashy take on the classic fifties tune.