Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
|Volume four features more instro nuggeture from the vast archives of the obscure. Some of the MOR stuff here is quite insipid, and some of the rock stuff pretty jammy, but there are also some fine tracks.|
Picks: Brontosaurus Stomp, Bust Out, Image Part 1, Image Part 2, Peter Gunn, Chicken Pickin', Rinky Dink, Raunchy, Shimmy, Shimmy Walk Pt 1, Scratchy, Tuff, Side Winder, Nite Rock, The Swingin' Shepherd Blues, Honky Tonk, Church Key, Green Monkey, Wiggle Tail Pt 2, Asia Minor, Bullwinkle Part II, Unitar Rock, Sandstorm, Trollin', The Lonely Dragster, Drums A Go-Go, Take Ten, Astronauts, Smokie (Part 1), Smokie (Part 2)
Track by Track Review
This is an original tune, swimming in Spanish whammy, like Pintor with lake wake rippling at it's toes. Melodic, pretty, and very enjoyable. The imagery is quite strong, Castilian pictures of bulls and black lace, and sangria all around. Really nice, with ringing tones from the guitars.
Pre Surf (Instrumental)
This is actually a pre surf single from 1960. Its original title is "Typhoid." It foreshadowed the double picking of Dick Dale, and the raw energy of the surf sound yet to come. Highly rhythmic and driven. Lots of power. "Bust Out " evolved from a song the Sapphires did called "Typhoid." Alan Orkins had the original idea, but we all added to it." - Don Gates Jr., drummer for the Sapphires. While basically riff rock, it has held up really well over the years.
Lounge MOR (Instrumental)
Semi orchestral, dramatically fluid, and the basis for the Crowell-Collier top forty logos of old when their KFWB (LA) / KEWB (Oakland) / KDWB (Minneapolis) ruled the airwaves. I suppose you could see this as a forerunner of soft jazz, though it's more like a Nelson Riddle theme, with lush strings and rolling piano.
Sax Rock (Instrumental)
The same tune as "Image Part 1," but more of a rock arrangement, with a sax and rockin' piano, and more upfront drums.
TV Theme (Instrumental)
This was an MOR hit version of Henry Mancini's TV theme. Historic, but not really very cool.
Country Rock (Instrumental)
Speed is the order of the day. This previously unreleased number wails... it's a rapid fire rolling blueser with flashy lead work, like B. B. King at double speed.
Roller Rink Rock (Instrumental)
This is a priceless track, with Dave 'Baby' Cortez's whistling roller rink organ and an infectious beat, it creeps in and stays. Rich sound and roller rink organ, approximating the original without the edge and drive. Still fun after all of these years.
"Raunchy" was written by Bill Justis and his guitarist Sidney Manker. It was originally titled "Backwoods." Among the luminaries at the session was Billy 'Flying Saucers Rock And Roll' Riley. It's an often covered swingin' fifties instro.
This is an instrumental treatment of a Jimmy Reed blues number, with an organ in the lead. It's rough enough, and slithery in an R&B club kinda way.
Fuzz Rock (Instrumental)
"Scratchy" was the 1964 Billboard hit for Travis Wammack. It's a mighty fuzzy rant, melodic and as square waved as Davie Allan, but lighter and more humorous. This clearly shows off the edge of his homemade fuzz box. The backwards talking in the break is hilarious.
Sax Rock (Instrumental)
Ace Cannon has made a lifetime career out of his handful of sax hits. "Tuff" is tough enough, but it's also pretty pedestrian.
Wes Dakus' rather rare instrumental is somewhat tepid, yet displays a certain chunkiness through the damped chop of the guitar. Not loud, but still spunky.
This backtrack style sax whiner is kinda tuff, kinda sleazy, and sports a cheesy chorus.
The Swingin' Shepherd Blues
The nondescript soul of the MOR world comes alive in Moe Koffman' "The Swingin' Shepherd Blues." I think the fifties MOR scene defines the generation gap just about as clearly as can be. How did these former swing kids go from Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong to this?
A million version of this chumpy riff dominated instro... this is nothing to write home about.
Dave produced a unique arrangement of a song that was recorded by a bazillion instro bands, making it his own. I like it better than the original Revels version because of Dave's great double picking throughout matched exactly by his marvelous drummer. One of the better covers of the Revel's classic, and certainly the most surfy under it's original name.
MOR Chump Rock (Instrumental)
Quirky nearly MOR chump rock. A mere progression stretched out for a couple of minutes... next!
Wiggle Tail Pt 2
Fifties rockin Vegas style nonsense waiting to actually develop a melody. It's a very fun frat rocker, but beyond that, has only it's arrangement and quirk to carry it off.
Rockin' Piano Boogie MOR (Instrumental)
Influenced by B. Bumble and the Stingers, Kokomo rocked on this prancie piano boogie with bass and drums, and string accompaniment. It's a playful bit of MOR that is hard to hate. Makes you wanna get up and move! Way fun.
This unusual track was featured prominently in the cult film Pulp Fiction, which thrust this otherwise little know band into the frontal lobes of the American conscience. The track is oddly structured, and very cool. I like the rawness of the original better, but the sense of ensemble here leaves this to be the over all fave.
Sax, guitar rockabilly, melody free progression... a few minimal changes.
Hmmmm... The Fatimas' "Sandstorm" is quite minimal, yet with its tribal drums and simple guitar riff over a pre psychedelic organ and blowing wind, seems to have a haunting magnetism about it. It's hypnotically relentless and unchanging in any significant way throughout.
Latin Rock (Instrumental)
"Tequila" based, this is not too far from the Champs caliber. Not even slightly original, yet lots of fun.
Mighty close to Wolfman, with a different guitar treatment, and piano. A sorta pre-spych long sustain on the lead hints of a changing time. A nice track.
This is one of the best examples of sixties go-go instros, and it clearly illustrates the roots of disco. All you need to do is add a black singer and your there. Studio creations which are hypnotically rhythmic and melody free, targeted squarely at the dancer. This is a cool track, both historically and rhythmically. Exceptional drums, big organ, and real hypno-thud.
Pre Surf Go-Go (Instrumental)
An infectious riff played out on guitar and piano over a hot rockabilly beat... Troy and the T-Birds had the chops. Basic and primal, but still satisfying.
Pre Surf Sax (Instrumental)
This is the B-side of "Bust Out." It sports none of the guitar wizardry, but just as much energy as its A-side. Saucy nasty sax rock with a strong magnetism.
Smokie (Part 1)
Choppy sax rock from one of the masters of the genre. Unmemorable, regardless of its precision.
Smokie (Part 2)
The same progression, a little slower, and with the piano more prominent. This sort of thing musta really pleased studio musicians, because they cranked out so much of it.