Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Rock Instrumental Classics Volume 2: The Sixtiesdotdotdotdot
artworkThis is Rhino's CD reconstitution of their eighties vinyl series, with a focus on sixties non-surf releases. 18 great instros to wet your whistle!
Picks: Walk, Don't Run, Wild Weekend, Let's Go (Pony), Memphis, Bumble Boogie, (Ghost) Riders In The Sky, Apache, Beatnik Fly, Wheels, Bulldog, The Madison Time (Part 1), Telstar, Out Of Limits, Wham!, Nut Rocker, Because They're Young, No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach's In), Classical Gas

Track by Track Review


Walk, Don't Run dotdotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

This is essential. The Ventures were one of the two bands that served as the model for early surf bands, the other being the Fireballs. This was their first single, and is an absolute standard. It was based on the early fifties Chet Atkins arrangement. This is their signature tune, a solid and enduring cover of Johnny Smith's jazz classic. Rhythmic, solid as a rock, and very warm with pre-surf whammy. Only the Pink Fairies' vocal version is better than this. Great classic pre surf.

"Walk, Don't Run" and "Perfidia" were recorded a year before there was such a thing as surf music. Totally vintage and majorly important to the birth of surf, this Ventures single is still their hallmark and best effort. Every collection requires this track.

Wild Weekend dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is the one. This is the song everyone thinks of with this band. It was cut originally as a theme for the Tom Shannon Show on Buffalo, New York's legendary WKBW, from whence came free form progenitors Tom Donahue, Bob Mitchell, and Peter Trip. This is growly, dark, evil, chunky, melodic, and features near-surf rhythm guitar behind a raw R&B sax. A great and necessary track.

Let's Go (Pony) dotdotdot
Cheerleader Rock (Instrumental)

Like many other hits of the day, beginning with Tommy Facenda's "High School USA," through the Beach Boys' "Be True To Your School," this was a cheer leader's dream, a ready made routine for mindless group think chants and clique spirit rallies. "Let's Go (Pony)" uses a simple riff, and an infectious pre-"We Will Rock You" anthemic chant.

Memphis dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Like the Surfaris' "Wipe Out," "Memphis" and "Wham!" were recorded to consume twenty minutes of leftover studio time. Both were solid hits in 1963. This is a highly rhythmic track, infectious and playful in a post Chuck Berry world.

Bumble Boogie dotdotdotdot
Piano Rock (Instrumental)

The "Flight Of The Bumble Bee" is a perfect vehicle for B. Bumble and the Stingers to stretch out on. The great bass line barroom piano sound, and the gradual hypnotic development on the keys create an incredible experience. Completely infectious.

(Ghost) Riders In The Sky dotdotdotdot
Cowboy Twang (Instrumental)

Al Casey and Duane Eddy's twang opened new trails in rock 'n' roll. The Ramrods took the Stan Jones cowboy classic and breathed new life into it with the big guitar sound, and amped it to the max with the overdubbed hoots and cattle calls. This is the version all the surf bands heard and were inspired by.

Apache dotdotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

Around the world, it was Hank Marvin and the Shadows that hit with Jerry Lordan's tune in 1960. Everywhere except Denmark and the US, where Jorgen Ingman ruled the charts with this exceptional track. It's my personal opinion that this is the quintessential version of "Apache." When will Atco reissue the album? Every surf band on earth played this tune in the early days of reverb.

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.

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.

Bulldog dotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

"Bulldog" is rhythmic and infectious, and has a quiet power about it, as did most of the Fireballs / Norman Petty output. All of their sessions are available in various CD forms, from ACE, Sundazed, and others. The Challengers borrowed "Bulldog" for their debut album Surf Beat.

The Madison Time (Part 1) dotdot
Gimmicky Post Jazz Rock (Instrumental)

A basic groove with narrated dance instructions... a remnant of the sock hop era. Interesting only from a period point of view.

Telstar dotdotdotdotdot
Space Rock (Instrumental)

This is it, the Tornados signature hit. Brilliantly filled with damped plucking, rhythmic churn, and whirring space. Joe Meek wrote this tune. It is utterly unique in the annals of rock. Meek was the UK master of thick completely filled sound, compressed until totally flat, and very cool. This 1962 release has been done by a bazillion surf bands. A must have for any serious instro fan. It is the Tornados signature tune.

Out Of Limits dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the hit. It sports the great guitar work of Tommy Tedesco. It's infectious little riff was heard everywhere in the hey day of surf. It's quite a rock standard. This track blends surf with Joe Saraceno's orchestral thinking, guitars, French horns, and bells. Unlike almost all of the Marketts' tracks, this features the lead guitar as the lead instrument, and approximates real surf music. It is a studio session, with Tommy Tedesco on lead, but it rips right nicely. A classic surf hit.

Wham! dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is one of the GREAT RI tracks out there, and it's taken its bloody time getting to CD. "Wham!" is just plain infectious. It's use of whammy, the early dominance of power chords, and the flights of joy in the performance are all top notch.

Nut Rocker dotdotdotdot
Piano Rock (Instrumental)

"Nut Rocker" is on the "Nutcracker Suite," this rocks mightily in the Jerry Lee Lewis pumping piano vein, with incredible energy and a totally infectious sound.

Because They're Young dotdotdot
Twang (Instrumental)

Another hit for the big guitar twangster. This one sports too many strings for my taste, but it is a splendid melody and was quite a hit. The liners say it "vaguely resembles the theme from Jeopardy." It was actually the theme from a 1960 film of the same name. Don Costa and friends wrote this pre-Al Caiola sounding film theme. Despite the syrupy strings, this has a magnetism that can suck you in. I can't say I've seen the film, but I can visualize this under the credits easily enough.

No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach's In) dotdotdot
Disco Surf (Instrumental)

Except for the seventies funk dry chop guitar, this is studio dribble as infectious as any commercial backtrack can be. It's the sort of track you love to hate, but find yourself whistling anyway.

Classical Gas dotdotdotdot
Guitar Pop (Instrumental)

It's hard to dislike the magnetic energy of this classically based amped up tune. Entirely pop for sure, but very hard to forget.