Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Tommy Tedesco Instrosdotdotdot
artworkFifty One tracks with Tommy Tedesco on guitar - well 49, because he had nothing at all to do with The Knights 5+1 as far as I can tell. It's a monumental collection, but alas is an mp3 bootleg.
Picks: The Catalinas - Banzai Washout, The De-Fenders - Skin Diver, Road Runner, Wild One, Hal Blaine and the Young Cougars - Big ''T'', Jan and Dean - Walk On The Wet Side, Old Ladies Seldom Power Shift, The Knights 5+1 - On The Move, The Marketts - Vanishing Point, Out Of Limits, Bat Cave, Collision Course, Re-Entry, Jack Nitzsche - The Lonely Surfer, The Last Race, Surf Finger, The Piltdown Men - Gargantua, The Routers - Let's Go (Pony), The T-Bones - No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach's In), Tommy Tedesco - Exodus, Bonanza

Track by Track Review


The T-Bones - Completion Coupe dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a jammin' cover of The Astronauts most rippin' vocal. The drums rock, but the track is overall not heavy enough. The guitar work is very good, but the organ weakens the track.

The Avalanches - Avalanche dot
Rock (Instrumental)

Mondo unremarkable studio jammin', though I think "Avalanche" is a bunch better than "Ski Surfin'." Still, it's so dismissible that it should be avoided unless Dramamine is readily available for the weak of stomach.

The Avalanches - Ski Surfin' dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Gimmicky faux-Hawaiian guitar adds a teenage vacation film score feel to a tepid song. Billy Strange's guitar is occasionally distorted and edgy, while the lead is tremolo warbled. The piano is kinda cool in an easy listening kind of way. The melody seems derivative of "I Wonder Who."

The Avalanches - Midnight Sun dot
Rock (Instrumental)

Lionel Hampton and Sonny Burke's "Midnight Sun" is done with cool electric piano and a chumpy studio rhythm section. The guitar occasionally goes fuzzy, but otherwise, this is a completely dismissible track.

The Avalanches - I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Ray Noble and Irving Berlin's song from the score of On The Avenue is done in a flippant and playful fashion in keeping with the original intent, despite the use of Billy Strange's fuzz. "I've Got My Love To Keep Me Warm" is pretty darn fun.

The Avalanches - Winter Evening Nocturne dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Winter Evening Nocturne" is a pleasant song probably more suited to an AOR arrangement than faux rock'n'roll. The tremolo guitar is attractive, while the steel is just gimmicky.

Hal Blaine and the Young Cougars - Challenger II dotdot
Drummer's Go-Go Fuzz (Instrumental)

"Challenger II" opens with racing engines and Hal Blaine's signature surf drums. The basic riffs on light weight fuzz guitar and vibraphone-like electric piano are completely carried by Blaine's drumming. The song is from Lee Hazelwood's pen, but it's no "Baja."

Hal Blaine and the Young Cougars - The Phantom Driver dotdot
Drummer's Go-Go Fuzz (Instrumental)

Lee Hazelwood contributes this tune to the Young Cougars' pallet. This is a very simple tune, but the duet between the fuzz guitar and the vibes-piano is very effective. Interesting and durable.

Hal Blaine and the Young Cougars - Gear Change dotdot
Drummer's Go-Go Fuzz (Instrumental)

Riff rock with drums, with Hal Blaine using his signature "K-39" drum beat. Marshall Leib and Don Wayne wrote this simple piece.

Hal Blaine and the Young Cougars - The Traps dotdot
Drummer's Go-Go Fuzz (Instrumental)

A bit thuddy, somewhat lowbrow, fuzz drenched, and drum laden. Beyond that, there's not really a melody, just a progression that separates drum breaks. Still, it seems to work pretty well.

The Catalinas - Banzai Washout dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Steve Douglas wrote this classic and plays the raging sax. Dick Dale later covered it. The melody is hot, the rhythm is driving, the drums inspired, and the whole thing rocks. The brilliant ringing tones and the speed are marvelous. One of the great singles. Billy Strange played the fiery lead.

Marius Constant - The Twilight Zone dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Marius Constant wrote the theme to the TV show "The Twilight Zone." This is one of the versions used in end themes and elsewhere.

The De-Fenders - Skin Diver dotdotdot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

In some ways, this is a little Paul Johnson-ish. It's not very melodic, but the tone and the riff is like some he's written for studio sessions with the Challengers and others. A pretty good track, given the surrounding mung.

The De-Fenders - Rum Runner dotdot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

Tom toms pound, and the guitar jams... wouldn't it be nice if there was a song in here.

The De-Fenders - Road Runner dotdotdot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

A decent riff, but in the underdeveloped studio setting, this is saved only by the slightly surf tones and glissandos. It might be developed more into a more satisfying song, but alas, not here. Still, it does have enough coolness to make the two minutes palatable.

The De-Fenders - Movin' And Groovin' dotdot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

Not the Duane Eddy / Al Casey number. Just a club riff with too much organ and jammin' guitar.

The De-Fenders - Wild One dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Bobby Rydell's "Wild One" is the subject matter here. Tommy Tedesco's guitar is surf in the light sense, and the backtrack pretty serviceable, though it sure isn't like the real deal. Still, it's fun and infectious.

Hal Blaine and the Young Cougars - Big ''T'' dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Hal Blaine's great drums rock a tuff solo in the middle of this tight studio instro with wailing hot rods over the top. Some top drawer player, though it's arrangement is all session style.

Jan and Dean - Batman Theme dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

More gritty than virtually all of Jan and Dean's instros, but just as cheesy via chorus and horns. Dismissible.

Jan and Dean - Skateboarding - Part 1 dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

the wheels cross the mind as "Frere Jacques" begins... yes, it's that ancient French melody. The lead guitar is muted and played with non-Fender reverb. The rhythm track is reminiscent of Lonnie Mack's version of "Memphis." Kinda fun.

Jan and Dean - Walk On The Wet Side dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Wood block percussion and shimmering guitar support this TV detective/spy theme sounding number. It's fairly repetitious, sax led, and yet very engaging. There are spots where it references Herb Alpert, but not in a cheesy way.

Jan and Dean - Old Ladies Seldom Power Shift dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

It's hard to imagine listening to this, but Jan Berry produced it. I often wondered if Jan and Dean's "B-Gas Rickshaw" was an anomaly, or a glint of actual interest in real surf. I think this track answers the question. This is a very nice track, catchy, well produced, and infectious. It's on the lighter side, as with most studio concoctions, but it still a great track. Also called "Bucket Seats" when released as by The Rally Packs

Jan and Dean - Barons, West L.A. dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Orchestral at times, faux dramatic, and featuring moody tremolo, "Barons, West L.A." borders on cool. It's minimal melody riff is just too slight, and the long-note horn lines detract from its credibility.

The Knights 5+1 - On The Move dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is kinda spooky, with bluesy guitar that edges into swampy territory. This is a fine instrumental with a haunting sound. Why it's here is a mystery, given that Tommy Tedesco appears to have had nothing to do with it.

The Knights 5+1 - Tomatoes dotdotdot
R&B- (Instrumental)

This is a soul organ instro in the Stax-Volt mold. Jazzy and jammin' fun, but non melodic. Still, it's a cool groove.

The Marketts - Batman Theme dot
TV Theme (Instrumental)

Pompousoid dribble, now where near as interesting as Neil Hefty's release, and certainly of no particular importance. Just sequenced TV theme fair.

The Marketts - Vanishing Point dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a cool variation on the "Outer Limits" idea. It's much gutsier, at least until the horns arrive. The riff is different, and the guitar tone is more edgy. The arrangement and structure borrow a lot from "Outer Limits." It was written by Mike Gordon.

The Marketts - Out Of Limits dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the hit. It sports the great guitar work of Tommy Tedesco. It's infectious little riff was heard everywhere in the hey day of surf. It's quite a rock standard. This track blends surf with Joe Saraceno's orchestral thinking, guitars, French horns, and bells. Unlike almost all of the Marketts' tracks, this features the lead guitar as the lead instrument, and approximates real surf music. It is a studio session, with Tommy Tedesco on lead, but it rips right nicely. A classic surf hit.

The Marketts - Bat Cave dotdotdot
TV Theme (Instrumental)

Somewhat influenced by "Out Of Limits," this is more strange, almost post John Barry - James Bond like. Big production, orchestral, and of course that dreadful chorus.

The Marketts - Batmobile dotdot
TV Theme (Instrumental)

Like a weird go-go version of Country Joe and the Fish's "Porpoise Mouth," this seems to relegate these fundamentally good ideas to the scrap heap.

The Marketts - Other Limits dotdotdot
MOR Surf (Instrumental)

Mike Gordon, who penned "Out Of Limits," also wrote this. It's similarly arranged, but the guitar is vibratoed and more melodic. The horns take it out of the rock world and into MOR.

The Marketts - The Riddler dot
TV Theme (Instrumental)

More Swingle Singers and riff based backtrack stuff. Dismiss it, and you'll be a better person for it. The edgy guitar is quite out of place here.

The Marketts - Collision Course dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This Gary Usher / Roger Christian composition saw many deliveries under the pick of Paul Johnson as the Challengers, the Good Guys, and others. The tune is a mighty infectious thing. The arrangement is restrained to the point where that is it's main draw. The horns lessen it's impact.

The Marketts - Re-Entry dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Again, Pat Vegas wrote this. His guitar is throbbing, and the melody is like a lesser "More." Dramatic, almost pompous production.

Jack Nitzsche - The Lonely Surfer dotdotdot
MOR Surf (Instrumental)

"The Lonely Surfer" is an enigma, hardly legit surf band fare, yet definitely a genre classic. It only charted at 39 on Billboard, but it is among the more recognizable and sophisticated surf standards. It's haunting moody and dramatic. The French horns are surreal, giving it a major pompous feel that somehow transcends the dismissibility of other similar works, like the "Surfers Stomp" Marketts sessions. Amazing.

Jack Nitzsche - The Last Race dotdotdot
Hit Clone (Instrumental)

Speaking of studio lizards, Jack Nitzsche had a major AM hit with his low-E guitar and orchestra studio creation "The Lonely Surfer." This is just like that... a spinoff of the same idea. Jack Nitzsche was a producer. This is an interesting track for a few spins, but it is very derivative. This was the theme to the Village Of The Giants I think.

Jack Nitzsche - Surf Finger dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Based on "The Lonely Surfer," tis instro is derivative and less interesting, yet there's much of the lush compelling arranging in it. "Surf Finger" is more off-putting and uneasy. It's much less intense, but that merely lulls one into false safety. This track is newly released here, having languished in the vault since 1966.

The Piltdown Men - Gargantua dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A Mickey Baker tune, slurried out with a grode fifties instro sound. Progression driven, and frat energized.

The Routers - Let's Go (Pony) dotdotdot
Cheerleader Rock (Instrumental)

Like many other hits of the day, beginning with Tommy Facenda's "High School USA," through the Beach Boys' "Be True To Your School," this was a cheer leader's dream, a ready made routine for mindless group think chants and clique spirit rallies. "Let's Go (Pony)" uses a simple riff, and an infectious pre-"We Will Rock You" anthemic chant.

The Routers - Grandstand Stomp dot
Cheerleader Rock (Instrumental)

Shouts of "Go Go Go" over a melody free jam does not make a song. Argh!

The Routers - Mating Call dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

A faster beat and a bit of lower register guitar, but a long ways from cool. More chemistry than most here, but it doesn't require repeated listens.

The Routers - Charge! dotdot
Marching Band (Instrumental)

"Charge!" is a liberal distortion of Johnny Otis' "Willie and the Hand Jive." beyond that link to rockin' sounds, it's just a shallow attempt at recreating the gimmick success of "Let's Go."

The T-Bones - Haulin' Henry dotdotdot
Studio Hot Rod (Instrumental)

The piano intro is right outta the Zombies' "She's Not There." the riffy fuzz guitar is at odds with the soulfulness of the piano. Overall, a decent track, just not memorable aside from the piano.

The T-Bones - No Matter What Shape (Your Stomach's In) dotdotdot
Disco Surf (Instrumental)

Except for the seventies funk dry chop guitar, this is studio dribble as infectious as any commercial backtrack can be. It's the sort of track you love to hate, but find yourself whistling anyway.

The T-Bones - Rail Vette dotdotdot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

The T-Bones launch right into the pits with revving engines and a repetitive twang-fuzz riff with sax growls. Not melodic at all, and rather simple... an archetype for the studio instro.

The T-Bones - Hot Rod U.S.A. dotdotdot
Studio Hot Rod (Instrumental)

Structured like many a Beach Boys song strained through Petula Clark's "Down Town," this seems much too derivative and poppy.

Tommy Tedesco - Exodus dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Tommy Tedesco's guitar trembles with pulsing tremolo while the piano dribbles beautifully. This is a gentle track, and is just superb. This film score is very flexible, as attested to by the many versions around.

Tommy Tedesco - Begin The Beguine dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Begin The Beguine" is a light weight commercial rock cover of this standard. While exceptionally well played, the thing guitar sound and crisp audio saps energy. Hal Blaine's drums rock.

Tommy Tedesco - Bonanza dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Not at all gutsy like Al Caiola's "Bonanza," this is light and rhythmic. Nonetheless, this is really nice, with twelve string-ish tone and great infectious rhythm. The break is kind of psychedelic.

Tommy Tedesco - The Pink Panther Theme dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

There's a kind of coolness here, mostly due to the sultry nature of the song. Very nice guitar lines and slight grit give this its edge. More than just OK, but not really retainable.

Tommy Tedesco - Freight Train dotdotdot
Country (Instrumental)

Harmonica apes train whistle and the rhythm section rambles along the track while the twelve string plays the melody. "Freight Train" is gentle faux country that's fun and easy going.