Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Vintage Instrumentals Volume Twodotdotdot
artworkVolume 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

Slow Walk dotdotdot
Sanitized Rock (Instrumental)

1956's horn and piano stroll is a study in period sounds, with Bill Dogget thinking and sanitized rock edge.

Raunchy dotdotdot
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.

Walkin' With Mr. Lee dotdotdot
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 dotdot
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.

Gazachstahagen dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

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.

Rockin' Crickets dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

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.

Straight Flush dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

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 dotdot
MOR (Instrumental)

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.

Wheels dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

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.

Apache dotdotdotdotdot
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.

Mexico dotdotdotdot
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.

Midnight In Moscow dotdotdot
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."

The Stripper dotdotdot
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.

Baby Elephant Walk dotdotdot
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.

A Swingin' Safari dotdotdot
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."

More dotdotdot
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.

Penetration dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

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 dotdotdotdot
MOR (Instrumental)

"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

Teen Beat '65 dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

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.

Love Is Blue dotdotdot
MOR (Instrumental)

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.