Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Strictly Instrumental Vol. 9dotdotdot
As always, Buffalo Bop has grouped a bunch of cool primitive instros into a nicely annotated package. Some surf, ample roc., and a few country intros.
Picks: Sammy Berk - Big Beat Boogie, The Blue Jeans - Cool Martini, The Caps - Red Headed Flea, The Consolations - Groovy Grubworm, The Corvairs - Something Wild, Ward Darby and the Raves - Kentucky Blue Grass, Tiny Fuller - Cocklebur, The Futuras - Mile Zero, The Holidays - Concussion, Kurt and the Kapers - Trapped, Mon-Goose, Lenny and the Continentals - Get Off The Road, Yankee Doodle Rock, Jackie Lowell - Warpath, Ray McArthur's Hill Stompers - Raymond's Beat, The Penetrators - Blitzkrieg, The Ramrods - War Cry, The Royals - Percision, The Run-A-Bouts - Wild Fire, The Shufflers - Ireland Express, Slumber, Emil Spak with The Encores - Hold-Up, The Starfires - Billy's Blues, The Storms - Tarantula, The T-Birds - Thunder Rock, Terry and the Renegades - Live Drive, The Tornadoes - Riot, The Vanguards - Wild, The Vibrants - Wild Fire, Scorpion

Track by Track Review

Sammy Berk - Big Beat Boogie dotdotdot
Piano Rock (Instrumental)

Sammy Berk's piano is very honky-tonk tingly. The guitar is twangy and fun. Likely issued sometime in the fifties, "Big Beat Boogie" is a rompin' fun track.

The Blue Jeans - Cool Martini dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Piano and rhythm guitar coolness romp with a catchy beat. "Cool Martini" sports nasty sax that's quite surfable, and an infectious gate. Really fun.

The Caps - Red Headed Flea dot
Rock (Instrumental)

Putzy sax and handclaps. No melody, cheesy chorus, why-oh-why-are-they-screaming cries, and a jam foundation.

The Consolations - Groovy Grubworm dotdotdot
Country (Instrumental)

"Groovy Grubworm" is a romping fun country-ish track with an infectious gate. While not unlike a thousand others, it's still pleasurable.

The Corvairs - Something Wild dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Hand claps and raw guitar play basic riffin' progression over a budding surf beat. This grows on you, in part because it's got energy and great drums, and because it sports primitive early distortion.

Ward Darby and the Raves - Kentucky Blue Grass dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

More or less a plunkin' sax honkin' rocker, "Kentucky Blue Grass" seems to have little to do with its title. The saxman is ravin' in a more advanced style than the guitarist, though both seem to be excellent players.

Tiny Fuller - Cocklebur dotdotdot
Country (Instrumental)

Country pickin' gives "Cocklebur" an innocent sound. It's on the edge of rock, but could have been influence by Bakersfield. The harmonica may place it in the mid sixties. Tiny Fuller was a Memphis player between '59 and '62 at least.

The Futuras - Mile Zero dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Echoed rockabilly styled crude surf, with no melody, but a serviceable progression and a lot of energy. The raging drums are the most interesting part of the track, though the guitar break fits the genre better than the main body of the tune.

The Holidays - Concussion dot
Surf (Instrumental)

You could consider this a presurf single. Its strong reverbed guitar and raging drums are complimented by a nasty sax and thundering bass. The Holidays' "Concussion" is a riff rocker, but so were many early surf singles. It was originally issued on the Dixie label. Kinda like Al Casey's "Ramrod," kinda Duane Eddyish, with drums that sound like a surf band. Fast and powerful, with lots of drive and flair.

Kurt and the Kapers - Trapped dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

An Indian beat and tremolo throb yield to a primitive riff rocker. The intro is more interesting than the rest of the track, though its tuff trembling riff and backwoods Link Wray-ish swagger does have appeal.

Kurt and the Kapers - Mon-Goose dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Using a guitar riff similar to the introductory riff to Ray Charles' "What'd I Say," this never quite gels. It's on the verge of cool, but just doesn't quite rise to memorable.

Lenny and the Continentals - Get Off The Road dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Sorta detective riffs and a dab of tremolo. The fifties drum drama and cool-struttin' bass place it squarely in an interesting place. The base line is a walking jazz or blues line, while the rest of the song owes much to Rock-A-Teens' "Woo Hoo." Without being able to place the release date, I don't know which came first.

Lenny and the Continentals - Yankee Doodle Rock dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

As with many an instro single in the fifties, this is a jammed up version of a classic folk song. George M. Cohan's "Yankee Doodle Dandy" was done many times, including by Link Wray. This is nothing like Link's rendition. Sax rules, guitar twangs in a presurf way, though the drums are almost playing a classic surf beat. This is a cool track.

Jackie Lowell - Warpath dotdotdotdot
Pre-Surf (Instrumental)

War cries and whoops, an Indian drum beat, and a throbbing tremolo guitar... The guitar borders on surf. It was released in June 1961, placing it in the right place to be a surf precursor. It's fairly slow and moody, and yet has many of the elements that would become surf.

Ray McArthur's Hill Stompers - Raymond's Beat dot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a very minimal low brow number based in piano and a very common progression. Eight minutes later, you won't remember this song.

The Penetrators - Blitzkrieg dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

No idea about this track, except that it's a club style riffer with cool horns that are not unlike some of the Pastel Six tracks. Fun and enjoyable.

The Ramrods - War Cry dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Indian themes and exotic strip joint percussion under the Christian standard "Jericho" accompanied by their falsetto wail and shouts of "Hey, hey, hey..." It's a very strange piece, worth a spin, but not lasting.

The Royals - Percision dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

I think "Percision" is a bit schizophrenic given that it sounds like it may have been presurf in origin while the label says "The Liverpool Sounds Of The Royals." It also has a slight surf underbelly. On the jammy side with a nod to the Carnations.

The Run-A-Bouts - Wild Fire dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Deep dark guitar very similar to the Centurions drives this basic surf tune. While it's quite basic, it's also mean and creeps into your daydreams. In some ways, it reminds me of a faster "Ray Bay."

The Shufflers - Ireland Express dot
Surf (Instrumental)

This track is introduced by a traditional Irish melody, but devolves into a mindless melody-free riff rocker. "Ireland Express" is just not very interesting.

The Shufflers - Slumber dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Tremolo guitar shimmer, echo-delayed spookiness, and a moody blues melody lumber along at a relaxed pace. "Slumber" is pretty, but not particularly memorable. The echo on the guitar is too upfront ,making it distracting.

Emil Spak with The Encores - Hold-Up dotdotdotdot
Pre-Surf (Instrumental)

This is a raucous track with dominant drums and a cool riff. The melody line is of the type that generally evolved during surf's hey day, though it's only the muted playing that hints of surf stylistically. Very cool!

The Starfires - Billy's Blues dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Almost like a backtrack to Mickey and Sylvia's "Love Is Strange," this rockin' ramrod of 1960 coolness sports cool drums and a chorus.

The Storms - Tarantula dotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

This is Jody Reynolds' band. Their most familiar instro is "Thunder," which is a pretty straight Duane Eddy-Al Casey styled number. "Tarantula" is much more moody, with that same low-E guitar grumble and a nasty sax in the break. Excellent presurf from 1959

The T-Birds - Thunder Rock dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

The deep reverb guitar plays a simple and mean progression over plinky fifties piano and thumpin' drums and bass. While a pretty primitive song, "Thunder Rock" rocks in a relentless thundering way. Pretty darn cool.

Terry and the Renegades - Live Drive dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

On the gutty side, "Live Drive" is a minimal riff rocker with that leather jacket fifties edge. More than just a riff rocker, but not particularly engaging.

The Tornadoes - Riot dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

There's quite a bit of hum throughout this disc. I don't know if that's from the original release or a cruddy dub used for the CD. Either way, "Riot" is an unremarkable number.

The Vanguards - Wild dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Like many records in the fifties, a title like "Wild" didn't really mean wild. saucy sax over a easy beat hinted more at beatniks than rock'n'roll.

The Vibrants - Wild Fire dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This single was the B-side of "Scorpion." The guitar string bending gives it a demented tone, almost as weird as the Pastel Six's "Bandito," but much richer and lower, and faster too. Quite a nice track.

The Vibrants - Scorpion dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is one of the great legendary bands of the old school, who's name I used to hear on ads for surf dances on KFWB and KRLA. This is a throaty Ventures kinda thing, rhythmic and churning. It has a decided surf feel, with an unusual melody and structure. Great track. The melody line is very close to "Super Jet Rumble." This was a single.