Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Strictly Instrumental Vol. 7dotdotdot
artworkVolume seven in the ever wonderful series of instros from the fifties and sixties. A couple of surf and near surf singles here.
Picks: Like Thunder, Mickey, Death Valley, Bumble Twist, Brang, Real Cool, Blues Beat, 'C' Boogie, Craig's Crazy Boogie, The Raven, Bubble Gum Rock, Hit and Run, Back Up and Push, Side Track, Thunder, Reveille Rock, Battle Hymn, Friday Night, Madness, Brand X, Like Spellbound, Scandal, Pagan Rock, Four In The Floor, Rock It, Premier Rock, Slappin' Rods and Leaky Oil, Send-Di, She Giggles, Dum Drums

Track by Track Review

Like Thunder dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

Thunder rolls, echoed murky sound, and within... a powerful tune from Freddie Thomas and the Rialtos with pre surf guitar sounds and wild picking. Lots of energy, big beat, and an infectious structure. Some enterprising surf band should cover this.

Mickey dot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

This is a riff rockin' piano roll that sports jazzy guitar riffs and spunky old time rhythm. Fun, but unremarkable.

Death Valley dotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

"Death Valley" is a jammin' number with plinky piano and riffin' guitar. Kinda cool, but not memorable.

Bumble Twist dotdotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

"Bumble Twist" is based on Rimsky-Korsakov's "The Flight Of The Bumble Bee." Perhaps as interesting as the classic everyone covers, but different. While it's pretty simple, it's also more variable, with an arrangement that keeps interest longer.

Brang dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

Verging on the dawn of surf, "Brang" sports echoed guitar playing riffs not unlike those in the early days of surf. Gutsy and primal, with an odd manic drum beat. Twangin' fun with a catchy sound.

Real Cool dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

Again, just ahead of the big change in rock instro, Ted Russell and his Rhythm Rockers play a near surf instro with a catchy riff and rhythm. Like the Hollywood Tornadoes at times, "Real Cool" is just that - real cool.

Blues Beat dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a basic riff rocker without a real melody. The lead guitar almost has a reverb sound, but this is nothing like surf, nor is it the Astronauts of "Baja" fame.

'C' Boogie dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Good golly, miss Molly, this sure is an archetype for backwoods rockin' country from the fifties. Not remarkable, but kinda cool anyway.

Craig's Crazy Boogie dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Plinkin' piano a la Fats Domino or B. Bumble, riffin' up a storm in a jammin' melody free number that rocks the way so many fifties instros rocked.

The Raven dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

With surfable guitar tone and a "Runaway" rhythm, Freddy Countryman plays a song that's on the verge of surf, at least until the break comes along. Pretty darn cool! There's even vibrato shimmer in a verse or two. Great track!

Bubble Gum Rock dotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

Piano roll blues with sax and bass and drums. You can see the diamond-ringed fingers pumping out the plinkery. The guitar break is pedestrian, but otherwise, this is a tasty bar room romp.

Hit and Run dotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

Tribal runway drums and a murky sax and guitar grind out a strip joint rant. No melody, but greasy R&B riffin' galore.

Back Up and Push dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

Piano and guitar rock with a catchy riff and a lumbering pace. "Back Up And Push" passes between typical fifties B-side rock and not quite surf. Beyond a riff rocker, with great piano plinkery.

Side Track dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

Damped reverbed guitar plucks out a rhythm riff, which evolves into a faux lead that's dry. Pre-surf in some ways, fifties riff rock in others, with a rail road instro sound. This is not the Jim Messina band.

Thunder dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With the manic energy if a less than correctly wired board rider in storm surf, this track angrily disorients the listener with a defined reality filter. Intense and nervous. "Thunder" was one of the singles that inspired the first generation of surfbands, from Paul Johnson onward.

Reveille Rock dotdotdotdot
Dry Midwest Surf (Instrumental)

The Titans were a Midwest instro band, with a pretty dry sound. Not a surf band, but this is so cool, it doesn't matter. Only the reverb is missing to make it surf. Unlike Johnny and the Hurricanes, this is sans organ and shredz even harder!

Battle Hymn dotdot
Patriotic (Instrumental)

One of a million instros based on "The Battle Hymn Of the Republic," the Devrons overdubbed gunshots and ricochets. Just so-so

Friday Night dotdotdot
Strip Rock (Instrumental)

This is a great instro, even if it is mostly just a riff. It came out towards the end of the surf scene, and in some ways can be lumped in with the surf singles. The guitar tome is rounder and less reverby, but the idea is not unlike some of the surf tunes that came before it. Excellent guitar sustain, and cool restrained percussion. I've like this single since first hearing in KRLA or KFWB.

Madness dotdotdotdot
Primitive Rock (Instrumental)

Most of Bob Vidone's instrumentals are rough rockin' monsters with a raw and primal appeal. masked by the crude recording, they none the less shine through the murk of the indistinct engineering to deliver the essence of early rock 'n' roll the way it was practiced in small town America during the late fifties. "Madness" is not very melodic, but it is pretty darn intense. It was released as by Bob Vidone and the Rhythm Rockers and as by the (Original) Rhythm Rockers.

Brand X dotdot
Fifties Rock & Roll (Instrumental)

Echo drenched and palm damped, a catchy progression, but not much more.

Like Spellbound dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

Perhaps not as close to surf as their namesake side, "Like Spellbound" is tweaky cool and fun, with some damped guitar and a cool blend of guitar rock and organ R&B. The rhythm is almost carnival like.

Scandal dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This vibrant instro is period guitar rock, with more chord progressions than melody, thought the progression is often carried by a vibrato lead. Spunky and rambunctious, and worth a spin or two.

Pagan Rock dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

Mostly primitive fifties riff rock, but the break features some damped almost reverbed plucking that's pre-surf in nature. With some big reverb, "Pagan Rock" could easily be called "Pagan Surf". A nice track.

Four In The Floor dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This guitar instro is a warbly number using a riff and a rhythm. It's got an adventurous feel and rockin' drums, but is like a minor Travis Wammack number without the fuzz.

Rock It dot
Rock (Instrumental)

Primitive fifties B-side rock instro progression riff rock. Sax break, chorded guitar chunk, and murky drums and bass.

Premier Rock dot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

Stompin' riff rock with great piano and a guitar line that could easily be surf up in the same way the Gamblers' "Moon Dawg" has bee so often. Fast and hard driving, "Premier Rock" features the piano up front, but with a more prominent guitar line... well, surf's up dude!

Slappin' Rods and Leaky Oil dot
Rock (Instrumental)

The title says it all - a tale all too familiar to the teenagers of the fifties. Hand clappin' riffology with chants.

Send-Di dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

Pre-Travis Wammack warble plays a riff rockin' song with a catchy rhythm and warm sound. Vibrato induced warble gives "Send-Di" an exotic sound. This is likely the flip side to King Rock and the Knights's often comp'd "Scandal."

She Giggles dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

Post Duane Eddy, pre-surf rockin' with loud lead guitar and busy piano. Pretty darn intense, and with a surfable riff.

Dum Drums dotdotdotdot
Country Surf (Instrumental)

Reverbed guitar, country pickin', drums a wailin'... "Dum Drums" is an infectious track in the Sandy Nelson groove. The drums even sound like Sandy's style - could it be? Way fun and infectious.