Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Strictly instrumental Vol. 11dotdotdot
artworkThere are lots of cool things here - many rare - some presurf, a couple of verb renderings, and more. As always, Strictly instrumental Vol. 11 is a good comp.
Picks: Al Allen - Egghead, The Bel-tones - Breaktime, The Fabulous Playboys - Shortnin' Bread, Jay Bee and the Kats - Tension, Jay Brown and the Jets - Hanky-Panky, The Marlins - Let Down, Alfredo Mendieta - Chicken Run, The Polaras - Breaker, The Rebel Rousers - War Paint, The Ree-Gents - Downshiftin', The Rhythmics - Comin' Through, The Royaltones - Poor Boy, Wail, The Savoys - Razorback, The Scavengers - Curfue, The Tempests - Count Down, The Viscounts - Chug-A-Lug, Dig

Track by Track Review


Al Allen - Egghead dotdotdot
Country Rockabilly Rock & Roll (Instrumental)

This would be just a dismissible b-side if it weren't for the bizarre guitar sound. The vibrato is set at hyper oscillate, giving it a disturbed and almost insect like quality. Not melodic, just riffy, but still intriguing.

The Bel-tones - Breaktime dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

Chord dominated, yet just about in the surf groove sound wise. Some double picking and lots of splashy guitar riffs. The sax is mean and the bell superb, with surf whammy as well. Fine track.

Jay Brown and the Jets - Rocking The Guitar dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Rocking The Guitar" is a cycling AABA riff rocker with primitive charm and a few cool embellishments. Not really much happening, and not a lot of energy either, but still cool in a backwoods rock sort of way.

The Countdowns - Do It dotdot
Fifties Progression (Instrumental)

"Do It" is little more than a raw progression. Edgy and gutty, but directionless.

The Fabulous Playboys - Shortnin' Bread dotdotdotdot
Surf Twango (Instrumental)

Heavy surf rhythm track with piano and a surf lead playing low-E twango. While its a cover of the old standard covered by a number of bands of the day, this take is particularly rippin'. Stompin' drums and great piano, along with that tuff surf rhythm. Very cool.

The Flintales - Flintales Rock dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This early rock instro is a sax based tune with incredibly wild drums. Too bad the rest of the track is so tame.

Jay Bee and the Kats - Tension dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Somewhat in the style of the Titans, "Tension" is a rolling infectious and quickly picked number with major draw. Thin guitar tone, but with rapid fire notes and that classic midwest surf twang, plus great rolling tom toms.

Jay Brown and the Jets - Hanky-Panky dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Hanky-Panky" is a riff rocker typical of many b-sides, being short on melody but long on chemistry and char. Guitar, sax and piano trade verses for variations. Fun energy and a crisp performance. This isn't related even slightly to Tommy James and the Shondells' "Hanky Panky."

The Marlins - Let Down dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Sounding out of tune, this surf progression is dark and ugly. It is quite unusual as vintage surf goes, with a fifties rock lead line, and a relentless reverbed rhythm. It is very muddy, but primal and innocent. This must have been quite effective on stage at teen centers. Heavily surfed up tune, with basic riffs and mega-reverb rhythm guitar.

The Marlins - Saw Mill Run dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Rhythm and chord dominated, "Saw Mill Run" is more back room rhythm jam than song. No real melody, just grinding rhythms. This is a minimalist surf jam - just a couple of chords and no direction. Only the rhythm guitar's reverb chunk keeps this interesting. Still, it's an obscuro with garage appeal. The Marlins also cut "Let Down" and "Tarantula Pt 2."

Alfredo Mendieta - Chicken Run dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Yup, like the Linkster and Eddie Angel, with the chicken pluckin' guitar licks and smash-chord progression. Too fun.

The Polaras - Breaker dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Chunky, rhythmic, and basic, with some fine picking. It's a cool song, though a little on the low energy side. "Breaker" is the b-side of "Cricket." It has less charm, but sports glissandos and a guttier sound.

The Rebel Rousers - War Paint dotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

"War Paint" is all about the Indian tom toms and a delicate Indian melody. This is a lot nicer than I expected, and seems to be poised to join the surf ranks - it is 1961 after all. Cool drums and a fine melody, and even an interesting break. It's on the gentle side, recorded quietly, but it is nonetheless excellent.

The Ree-Gents - Downshiftin' dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Downshiftin'" sports much tension between lead and rhythm, with a lead that is slightly surf reverbed, and the riff is much like many lesser surf single, and with the second guitar whammy, this is right where the line between rock and surf gets foggy. A great find. The Ree-Gents were likely from upstate New York.

The Rhythmics - Comin' Through dotdotdot
Presurf (Instrumental)

"Comin' Through" is a basic riff rocker, with some serious twang and a few interesting transitions. While clearly presurf, there are ample leanings toward the genre to come. Some surfable chords and changes, along with tone that's just shy of the target.

The Rhythmics - Besame Mucho
Surf (Instrumental)

Consuelo Velasquez's classic "Besame Mucho" gets a primitive back woods rock interpretation. Novel, even historically interesting, but not particularly memorable.

The Rhythm Rockers - R. R. Boogie dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Crudely recorded, and roughly played, "R. R. Boogie" is one primitive vintage instro. Aside from its immediate and innocent rock energy, it has little to offer.

The Royaltones - Poor Boy dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Upper Midwest instro rockers the Royaltones recorded many a fine track. 1958's "Poor Boy" is their most familiar track because it was a hit for them. It is pretty tame as their tracks went, with damped echoed guitar, piano, and cryin' sax, all flowing out a weeping melody.

The Royaltones - Wail dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Lap steel whining, like a back room Santo and Johnny or toned down Juicy Lucy precursor. Rockin jivin' coolness. No melody, but dripping smoky bar room soul.

The Savoys - Razorback dotdotdot
Riff Rock (Instrumental)

Gutty like Link Wray, but a little less savage. The main riff cycles with out change, varied only by raspy sax and one hell of a loud break filled with thrashing guitar and rolling piano. It may be just s riff rocker, but it sure is intense!

The Scavengers - Curfue dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This may be a relatively basic riff rocker in some ways, but the drums are excellent, the bass solid, and the tremolo guitar gutty. There are textural variations verse to verse, and a really good mix. A great track!

The Tempests - Lemon Lime dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Primitive cool riff rockin' gimmicky backwoods B-side rock. Raw and intense, highly energetic, with a spiffy little quick string slide that gives it it's only real edge over other similar tracks.

The Tempests - Midnight dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Midnight" is a basic riff rocker. For 1961, it's way less developed than most, sounding a lot like 1958. The riff is kinds cool, and the occasional pulled note and sloppy drums suggest a beginner band. 1961.5 Dominion 1006 (Midnight c/w Count Down)

The Tempests - Count Down dotdotdot
Presurf (Instrumental)

A tic toc clock and a count down over hum and descending guitar lines. Piano and guitar playing what sounds like a number of surf instros before there was reverb - it is May of 1961 after all! Raucous drums and frantic guitar and keys. Good fun!

The Viscounts - Chug-A-Lug dotdotdotdot
Dramatic Pre Surf (Instrumental)

This is an early Neal Hefty (Bat Man television theme, Munsters, etc.) tune. It is very surfy for a presurf tune. Military drums, vibrato, guitar lead, great sax lines, and splendid spirit.

The Viscounts - Dig dotdotdotdot
Polynesian Euro Surf (Instrumental)

What a pretty track. The Hawaiian steel second guitar sets the ambiance against which this fine melody is displayed. The melody hints of a haole on big island... splendid. Great tone and a catchy melody, and pristine performance and sound.

Jimmie Volk - Spring Time Rock dot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

This rockabilly boogie is fun and rhythmic, but relatively unremarkable.

Mitch Wayne and the United Sounds - Shazam #1 dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A Southern accent introduces the song with a question about Batman versus cowboys, and interjects other supposedly funny lines while the band plays a go-go sort of jam. No melody, just a chicken bop riff.