Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA Collection: Rockin' Guitar and Early Original Piano Boogie Woogie
|This label just keeps pumping out great collections of obscure instrumentals. there are some priceless gems here. the bonus second disc is all early piano boogies, some dating from the forties. As they don't relate to surf, I've not reviewed them here, but suffice it to say there are some wonderful things there too.|
Picks: The Bel-Aires - Baggies, The Continental Rockers - Flashback - Pt. 1, Eddie Eddings - Farmer's Boogie, The Escos - Surf Ride, The Fretts - Ranch 'n, Big Chord, Patti's Rock, The Imp-Acts - Row Boat Rock, The Montereys - Turtle, The Ramrods - War Party, Steve Rowe and the Furys - Minor Chaos, The Shattoes - Surf Fever, Charles Smith and the Coachmen - Going Wild, Hard To Find, Dan Smith and the Cut-Ups - Twang, The Spartans - Jungle Call, In The Mood, The Sundowners - Buccaneer, The Surf Teens - Church Key, Bullwinkle, The Swingin' B's - B's Wax, The Teen Rockers - Teen Rock, Road Block, The Thundermen - Flyin' High, The Travelaires - Chopped Liver - Pt. 2, Bear Travis and the Sundowners - Tinkerbell, The Vibra Tones - Half Tuff
Track by Track Review
Dry Surf (Instrumental)
B-side of the only Bel-Aires single on Lucky Token Records, the label also shared by the Crossfires. Quite rhythmic with a dry sound, it's an odd melodic twist on "Surf Beat" with little in common. You'll get when you hear it. "Baggies" is a splendid song. The guitar is both intense and subtle. The twang is absolute, and the rhythm is very powerful. Like the A-side, it's a track that desperately needs to come out of the vaults from the tapes.
The Continental Rockers - Flashback - Pt. 1
This is both magnetically cool and dreadful in different ways. To begin with, it's a cover of the Merrell Fankhauser's "Wipe Out." Second, it sports chunky surf guitar reverb. Then, it's not really tight in some places. The stinging string swipes suggest a Midwest origin. Still, it's so endearing that I couldn't resist it.
Eddie Eddings - Farmer's Boogie
You can just see the bib overalls, and the lap steel suggest the train. The piano rolls with very cool patterns. This is just fun in that superbly innocent back woods country jam way.
The Escos - Surf Ride
The drums are overbearing and over-compressed, and the riff is pedestrian jammin' at best. "Surf Ride" is not really surf and not very interesting.
"Ranch 'n" is a slightly dangerous riff rocker that depends on its ominous chords for its existence. There's something compelling here that keeps it from being just a riff rocker.
Well, this is not what I'd call engaging or deluxe. Just a jam riff and a basic guitar boogie. The walking bass line and cool drums work pretty well.
The Fretts - Patti's Rock
This is a pretty crude riff rocker that's forgotten moments after listening.
The Imp-Acts - Row Boat Rock
Near Surf (Instrumental)
This is a rompin' stompin' charger that's a lot jam and a little powerhouse rocker. It's hard not to like this, despite being a translation of "Row Row Row Your Boat." No, I don't think it's the Merrell Fankhauser band, but the sax is raspy like that band's, and there are elements of the song that sure could be...
based on an overused progression, "Turtle" doesn't quite stand out despite some significant edge and near-surf tone. Lots of spunk and fun, and you'll surely enjoy it, especially the "Wipe Out" bit in the middle.
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.
Steve Rowe and the Furys - Minor Chaos
This is the other original version of this fine instro. The arrangement is different, and the guitar wizardry played differently, and with the addition of piano, "Minor Chaos" takes yet another amazing power stride! Love those guitar chokes! Great track!
The Shattoes - Surf Fever
The Shattoes recorded this spunky surf monster in '65. "Surf Fever" is a fast, hot instro, based on a riff/progression that is sure to please.
Charles Smith and the Coachmen - Going Wild
This train-rock instro launches from rising piston churn drums, sports surfy reverb on second guitar, and employs a go-nowhere riff in lieu of a melody. It wants to be cool, but in the end is only obscure.
Charles Smith and the Coachmen - Hard To Find
A really cool idea is done with tentative playing, distortion, and a not-quite together chemistry. You can imagine this song recorded a year farther on with great results. Damn cool drums and song idea.
Dan Smith and the Cut-Ups - Twang
"Twang" limps thru a nothing progression without any chemistry or energy. pass.
The Spartans - Jungle Call
This is a very simple number based around a gimmicky riff, yet it's very compelling. Great drums and sliding guitar work. The drum solo is like a toned down Cozy Cole. very cool!
The Spartans - In The Mood
Great warbly lap steel drives Ernie Fields' classic orchestra hit home with a vengeance. "In The Mood" is so cool this way that it makes you wanna grin. I can't get enough of this one!
The Sundowners - Buccaneer
Near Surf (Instrumental)
Really solid drums play against a cool bass line and simple guitar melody. While simple is the operative word, "Buccaneer" is engaging and fun, and pretty cool too. It borders on surf.
The Surf Teens - Church Key
This Revels' classic is shredded out here. The sound is a bit boomy, but otherwise it's a solid cut.
The Surf Teens - Bullwinkle
This early take of the Central Coast standard is Previously unreleased. It's solid and a lot less evil than the Centurions. More surf, less bad guy, and very well phrased. A fine track.
The Swingin' B's - B's Wax
Country Rock (Instrumental)
In only a slight variation of "Guitar Boogie Shuffle," this primitive back woods rocker borders on being infectious. Fun for sure.
The Teen Rockers - Teen Rock
Chunk backwoods sub Link Wray power jammin'. Mighty twangy and thick.
The Teen Rockers - Road Block
Chord progressions, one note jams... just a noise and power thrash.
The Thundermen - Flyin' High
It may be riff rock, but it's so full of spunk and sports such great drums that it doesn't matter. You won't be whistlin' it any time soon, but you'll grin nonetheless. Hot stuff!
The Travelaires - Chopped Liver - Pt. 2
Happy shouts, exuberant drums, and a weak lead guitar playing a simple riff. I'd guess mixed better, "Chopped Liver - Pt. 2" would be pretty cool.
Bear Travis and the Sundowners - Tinkerbell
This is one infectious country jam. "Tinkerbell" prances as the guitar licks at her heals in the way Chet Atkins did. Just fun!
The Vibra Tones - Half Tuff
This obscuro sports a fine Southern melody with surfable tone and pumping bass. It's a simple ditty with a light hearted melody and country twango. I found myself drawn back to it. Cool and engaging in an innocent and honest way.