Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Strictly Instrumental Vol. 8dotdotdot
artworkYet another great set of obscure instros from the dark ages. What a great series.
Picks: The Admiral Tones - Rocksville, PA., Jim Anderson and Red Scales - Hootenanny Special, Red Arrow and the Braves - Red Skin Rumble, The Atmospheres - The Fickle Chicken, Dick Burdo and the Smiling Ranch Cowboys - Brushfire, Ace Cannon - Big Shot, The Chessmen - Dark Eyes, The Dial Tones - Boss, The Epkon's - Horsefly, Jerry Lee Trio - Warpath, The Live Wires - One Cycle Venture, The Montereys - Rocker, Ray Morton and the Temp-tones - Whirlwind, The Mysterions - Downhill, The Noblemen - Dirty Robber, The Pyramids - Pyramid Stomp, Paul, The Renegades - Charge, The Saints - Playboy, Eddie Smith and the Hornets - Upturn, Border Beat, Leon Smith and the Orbit Rockers - Dynamic, Windfall, Bob Taylor and the Counts - Thunder, Teddy and the Rough Riders - Thunder Head, Grace Tennessee - Pow Wow, The Thrashers - Sledge Hammer, The Tremolos - Kackle, The Uniques - Renegade, Wally and the Rights - Zipper

Track by Track Review


The Admiral Tones - Rocksville, PA. dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Admiral Tones rip on this jammin' number with relatively reverby tone. It's a frantic pumper with a circular melody line and fifties country innocence.

Jim Anderson and Red Scales - Hootenanny Special dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Hootenanny Special" is a very basic progression number. No melody, a piano roll, and gritty guitar.

Red Arrow and the Braves - Red Skin Rumble dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

An Indian beat, a haunted female voice, and a rockin' rasp. Sax and guitar play essentially the same melody with a nasty rockin' tone. In many ways, it's quite a surfy number, with much of the feel and charm, and solid melody.

The Atmospheres - The Fickle Chicken dotdotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

Chicken boppin' rockabilly hoppin' fun... like you'd expect at the barn dance in old Nashville. way fun, but pretty derivative.

Dick Burdo and the Smiling Ranch Cowboys - Brushfire dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a rompin' country boogie with an infectious circular melody line and very unrealistic siren howls. Quite primitive.

Ace Cannon - Big Shot dot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Big Shot" is a typical studio sax jam with a spiffy beat, moderate excitement, and no melody. rare, but unremarkable.

The Chessmen - Dark Eyes dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This traditional Eastern Europe folk song has been done many times. The Renegades were from Minneapolis, where they issued this in 1964. It's fast and furious, and unlike all the other versions of this song. The damped "Malaguena" break is marvelous.

The Dial Tones - Boss dotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

"Boss" opens with rising cymbals, but then launches into a riff rock chord progression thing without much character, though it does possess some measure of charm.

The Epkon's - Horsefly dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dark and murky, with piano almost the only instrument that's really clear. Did I mention murky? It's energetic, but distorted and not very memorable, though a clean reading might have been pretty intense.

Jerry Lee Trio - Warpath dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Tremolo throb and a catchy melody could easily place "Warpath" in a surf environment. The guitar tone approaches the genre as well. The galloping beat is more active than most presurf instros as well. Very cool.

The Live Wires - One Cycle Venture dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"One Cycle Venture" is likely from the surf era. The melody bridge is based on the TV ad that used Stronger Than Dirt as its byline. The break slows way down for a cool surf sound. Not exactly goofy, but very cool.

The Montereys - Rocker dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The song's title might lead you believe that this 1959 track will rock. That would be only partially true. "Rocker" moderately paced some with great drums and a decent riff. It does have lots of energy, but is somewhat restrained sounding.

Ray Morton and the Temp-tones - Whirlwind dot
Fifties Progression (Instrumental)

Completely unremarkable. "Whirlwind" is a basic progression number with not one iota of unique character.

The Mysterions - Downhill dotdotdot
Frat Pre Surf (Instrumental)

This is a progression, a riff with ringing guitar and very nice piano work. No melody, just the riff and splendid playing. This musta rocked the frat house.

The Noblemen - Dirty Robber
Surf (Instrumental)

Nya-nya-nya... and that's all there is to this. A sax jam with childish squawking.

The Pyramids - Pyramid Stomp dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The obligatory self-named theme... most bands had one then... "Dick Dale Stomp," "Surfaris Stomp," etc. A much more rough and tumble track than "Penetration." Cool!

The Pyramids - Paul dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Paul who? The track is a solid surf instro, though mostly jam inspired.

The Renegades - Charge dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Opening with a trumpet blasting out the charge, and covered with woodblock horse hooves, this two chord wonder with a spiffy melody riff is both a fifties backwoods marvel and a presurf tune waiting for a decent reverb treatment. The plinky piano is so Leon Russell (though he isn't credited). ""Charge"" was included in the soundtrack to The Ghost Of Dragstrip Hollow.

The Saints - Playboy dot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Playboy" jams and twangs without anything special going on. Kinda fun, but not memorable.

Eddie Smith and the Hornets - Upturn dotdotdot
Fifties Rock (Instrumental)

"Shot Rod" is a chord rocker mostly. Manic drums, thumpin' bass, and speedy pickin' in a post guitar boogie format drive the demons from the hall. Nothing like a melody in sight, but lots of drive and thrashing angst.

Eddie Smith and the Hornets - Border Beat dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a Link Wray influenced number, not in intensity or tone, but in construction. Twangy, relentlessly dramatic, and sporting a melodic riff, "Border Beat" has a timeless rock 'n country twang and charm, and some rich gutty guitar tone.

Leon Smith and the Orbit Rockers - Dynamic dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The sound is so very thin that it's hard to see why it's called "Dynamic." No bottom end, no highs... just thin. The song is spunky enough, but is little more than a jam.

Leon Smith and the Orbit Rockers - Windfall dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The simple melody line could easily have been the foundation for a surf instro, though clearly this is no such thing. Sax thin guitar, and cool piano.

Bob Taylor and the Counts - Thunder dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a stompin' romp. It's not a cover of the Storms' track. Lots more youthful exuberance than power or skill. Very primitive and fun.

Teddy and the Rough Riders - Thunder Head dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This 1960 single is not really more than a grode chord progression, yet its primal twang and low down growl keep it interesting. Oh the power of simplicity on guitar.

Grace Tennessee - Pow Wow dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Pow Wow" is interesting because it sounds grode in a post surf garage kind of way. I'm sure it's from long before that. Dramatic, moody, maybe even dangerous, with cool whammy sting and dark tone. This is one cool track.

The Thrashers - Sledge Hammer dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Sledge Hammer" is a fairly basic riffer from what sounds like the late fifties. The drums are very interesting, in the bridges, and while mostly a jam, there are some attractive spots here.

The Tremolos - Kackle dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A cheesy laugh that sounds like it was inspired by Dale Smallen's opening to "Wipe Out" launches this very basic track.

The Uniques - Renegade dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A catchy rolling beat and Indian theme give "Renegade" a very engaging sound. This surf instro is very obscure, and it's quite a joy to find on a comp. It has a midwest feel to the sound, but that's merely an observation. I don't know anything about this band.

Wally and the Rights - Zipper dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With a little more shimmer in the guitar and a less muddy recording, "Zipper" could have been from the surf era. It's fun and spunky, with a simple but very effective progression and plinky piano.