Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA Collection: Vintage Instrumentals Volume Two
|Volume two is a further adventure through the swamps of the pop charts, salted with occasional wonders worth the journey and Dramamine consumption. There are more rock tracks in this volume, and even a surf hit.|
Picks: Slow Walk, Raunchy, Walkin' With Mr. Lee, Swingin' Shepherd Blues, Gazachstahagen, Rockin' Crickets, Straight Flush, Wonderland By Night, Wheels, Apache, Mexico, Midnight In Moscow, The Stripper, Baby Elephant Walk, A Swingin' Safari, More, Penetration, A Walk In The Black Forest, Teen Beat '65, Love Is Blue
Track by Track Review
Sanitized Rock (Instrumental)
1956's horn and piano stroll is a study in period sounds, with Bill Dogget thinking and sanitized rock edge.
Sax & Piano Rock (Instrumental)
Bill Justis' rockin' tune so often covered by surf bands was a sizable hit for Ernie Freeman. It's a sax number with an infectious R&B rhythm and s soulful groove. It could be heard coming out of every late night gas station in town in 1957.
Record Hop Rock (Instrumental)
In 1958, this record hop theme sax tune ruled the roll into the news on the top forty stations across America. Groovy and innocent.
Swingin' Shepherd Blues
Flute MOR (Instrumental)
A 1958 hit for Canadian Moe Koffman, this soft flute romp in a sanitized "Nature Boy" groove was everywhere Safeway shoppers wanted to be.
Pronounced "ga-zox-ta-hog-en," 1959's "Gazachstahagen" was the Wild-Cats only chart success, and at that is wasn't what you'd call a barn-burner. It's a rock track with a grodie guitar and console organ. The guitar and organ due a duet, then trade leads. The guitar's tone is pretty grodie for the charts. The melody is reasonable, but mostly a riff emphasized with jamming over a shuffle beat.
Darn cool gimmickry here from 1959. The guitar is playing a damped ultra high note thing, maybe behind the bridge, through an echoplex to simulate crickets chirping, while the sax plays a sassy lead over a standard fifties rock combo beat. It's a very cool cover of Tom Shannon's tune originally cut by the Rockin' Rebels.
Raw rockin' sax over guitars, with an infectious rhythm and beat. The sax lines are smooth and mean but not overbearing, and it lays against the choppy backtrack to create a solid contrast. The guitar leads in the break are very nice indeed. From 1959.
Wonderland By Night
1960's horn hit left no cheesy stone unturned, with it's sorta Vegas trumpet sound, suave trombones, picked electric bass, and ghostly reverbed chorus, plus the churchy organ in the middle is almost reverent. What a sappy piece of pop fluff.
Ain't no surf here, and barely hot rod. It's melodic, fluid, and borders on MOR. "Wheels" is closer to the Norman Petty Trio than the Fireballs or Buddy Holly. It is a very pretty quasi rock piece with an infectious melody line and arrangement. It was a Billboard hit in 1960 on Warwick, the same label that brought us Johnny and the Hurricanes. It peaked at number 3. Not bad for a guitar instro. This is a Norman Petty composition.
Pre Surf (Instrumental)
Around the world, it was Hank Marvin and the Shadows that hit with Jerry Lordan's tune in 1960. Everywhere except Denmark and the US, where Jorgen Ingman ruled the charts with this exceptional track. It's my personal opinion that this is the quintessential version of "Apache." When will Atco reissue the album? Every surf band on earth played this tune in the early days of reverb.
Near Surf (Instrumental)
This excellent single was modeled after the success of Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass, and was covered by Dick Dale on his King Of The Surf Guitar album and morphed slightly into 'Border Town" by Eddie & the Showmen. It's an excellent single, a commercial cross between the TJB and the east LA Mexican surf 'n' soul sound. Issued in 1961.
New Orleans Jazz (Instrumental)
1962 saw the rise of real rock instros in the form of the surf instrumental. It also saw chart hits that hearkened back to the dark ages. This is a very well recorded and high spirited track, and very enjoyable. It's an arrangement of the Russian song "Padmeskkoveeya." This New Orleans jazz band was discovered by Lonnie Donnegan, whose own skiffle-jazz history is huge from his music hall days in the UK, but is only slightly know in the US from "Does Your Chewing Gum Lose It's Flavor On The Bed Post Overnight."
Strip Joint Power Thrust (Instrumental)
When David Rose's strippers runway bump and grind hit the charts, every good boy had trouble hiding his rising manhood. In those days of puritan upbringing, the idea of such a rousing sound was like the effect that Ravel's "Bolero" had when it debuted. It's a big band major brass monster. As is often the case in music, this wasn't ever expected to be a hit. It was recorded in 1958 as "Burlesque," and the shelved until 1962 when it was issued as the B-side to "Ebb Tide," which some DJ flipped over, and the rest is, as they say, history.
Carnival On Parade (Instrumental)
Hal David and Henry Mancini wrote this for the motion picture Hatari. Lawrence Welk made is shine. Davie Allan made it scream bloody murder when he joined it with "Peter Gunn." This is very playful and well arranged big band silliness.
Carnival On Parade (Instrumental)
Billy Vaughn, musical director at Dot Records, ex-member of the Hilltoppers, and successful artist on his own covered this Bert Kempfert tune. It's a 1962 follow on to the safari theme hits like "Baby Elephant Walk."
Commercial Shimmer (Instrumental)
This is slick shimmering melodic guitar backed whistling organ music. It swept the charts after debuting in the 1963 film Mondo Cane as its theme. The guitar work here is Kenny Burrell's. These sessions were among the early Creed Taylor formulations before the launch of his soul jazz label CTI and hits like Deodato's "2001 - A Space Odyssey" which appeared in the extraordinary film Being There. Danish export Kai Winding played trombone in the forties with the big bands of Benny Goodman and Stan Kenton, among others. In 1962, he served as musical director at the NYC Playboy Club.
One of a handful of nationally successful surf single, this track has been covered more than "Miserlou," and in more varieties of rock styles. If you don't own this track, you have entered the surf idiom yet. This is one of the essential classics. The production is unusual and masterful, and the melody is simple and enduring. It spawned hundreds of covers, and is still quite infectious.
A Walk In The Black Forest
"A Walk In The Black Forest" was originally titled "Eine Schwarzwaldfahrt." Sounds like some sorta dysfunction of the exhaust pipes. Berliner Horst Jankowski worked with Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Goodman, and Oscar Peterson as orchestra director on many occasions. This is a lush recording with gorgeous strings and a fluffy lilt to it. 1965
Drummer extraordinaire Sandy Nelson was without his right foot by the time this was cut live in Las Vegas. The recording is dreadful, but it almost made the top forty, and was his last single to make it into the charts at all. It's an updating of his first 1959 hit, making his exit song the same as his debut. The guitar player is sometimes Ventures guitarist Jerry Magee, who uses some mighty surf tone here. Drums, grungy guitar riffs, crowd shouts, and muddy sound.
Delicate piano work, nice drum work, and a very friendly melody, with orchestral accompaniment. It has a magnetism, but it's only a cut above elevator. However, it could really be a great surf tune, should one of you enterprising bands like to take a shot at it. Call it 'The Surf Is Blue." 1968.