Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Wild Rock and Roll Instrumentalsdotdot
artworkCollector Records is the CD version of the legendary White Label out of Holland. This collection contains a great assortment of mostly fifties instros, with a few from the early sixties. Among them are some great presurf and surf gems.
Picks: P. J. and his Headliners - Anchor Rock, The Legends - Lariat, The Starfires - Space Needle, The Sting Rays - Mad Surfer, The Swanks - Ghost Train

Track by Track Review


The Abootays - Pig Bone dotdot
Fifties Rock & Roll (Instrumental)

A blues boogie progression with a growling sax.

The Checkers - Blue Saturday dotdot
Fifties Rock & Roll (Instrumental)

Cool piano lead on this hooky Floyd Cramer like number if Floyd had played with a rock band. The guitar lines are cool, but the 15 ips tape echo detracts from the end product.

Dave's Travelers - Traveler Rock dotdot
Fifties Rock & Roll (Instrumental)

What's this? A bit of reverb on the guitar, a piano plinking away. The bass is missing (maybe they didn't have one), and the drums are lost in the mix, except for the kick. Still, it's a cool track.

The Devrons - Brand X dotdot
Fifties Rock & Roll (Instrumental)

Echo drenched and palm damped, a catchy progression, but not much more.

Bill Duzan and the Corvettes - Shaften dot
Fifties Rock & Roll (Instrumental)

Fifties hot rod number with an over driven guitar and honky sax in back. Mostly just a progression.

The Fendermen - Fas-Nacht-Kuechel dotdot
Fifties Rock & Roll (Instrumental)

One of the great under rated bands from greater Minneapolis. This track is a boogie, and these boys knew how to boogie! Not their best work, but nor shabby either. Some of their work was quite surfy. This is not.

El Gassaway and the Carl Stacey Trio - The Big Gass dotdot
Fifties Rock & Roll (Instrumental)

Just a progression.

Skip Haston and the Phantoms - Skip's Boogie dotdot
Fifties Rock & Roll (Instrumental)

A piano roll boogie with very little distinguishing character.

Al Hendrix and Jolly Jody and His Go Daddies - Go Daddy Rock dotdot
Fifties Rock & Roll (Instrumental)

This sax tune reminds me of Frankie Ford's "Sea Cruise" without the charm.

Jorris Hennessee and the Roundup Boys - Jorris Boogie dot
Fifties Rock & Roll (Instrumental)

An unremarkable boogie.

P. J. and his Headliners - Anchor Rock dotdotdot
Fifties Rock & Roll (Instrumental)

Is this Paul Johnson? The tune is "Anchor's Away," and Paul liked doing traditional melodies, and the guitar is double picked.

The Legends - Lariat dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Way cool start-stop tune with a great melody and a Mexican / Southwest feel. "Lariat" is a mighty infectious fifties bison bop rocker, with plenty of cowboy and ample twango. A great track.

Bill Logsdon - Spitfire dotdot
Chicken Bop (Instrumental)

Chicken bop looking for a barnyard, complete with chicken peckin' guitar lickin' fun. No real melody, just peckin' party good times.

The Nite Caps - Wildcat dotdot
Fifties Rock & Roll (Instrumental)

Another "Guitar Boogie Shuffle" styled tune.

Charlie J Phillips and the Kountry Kings - Roy's Romp dot
Fifties Rock & Roll (Instrumental)

A country boogie, typical of single B-sides, i. e. no melody and no direction.

The Rockets - Moovin' and Groovin' dotdotdot
Fifties Rock & Roll (Instrumental)

That song, sax dominated in a fifties style with character.

The Johnny Rogers Band - Ramrod dotdot
Fifties Rock & Roll (Instrumental)

Al Casey's tune. A lo-fi recording with a lot of feel to it.

The Royal Teens - Mad Gass dotdot
Fifties Rock & Roll (Instrumental)

Inspired by the Wailers, "Tall Cool One" or "Mau Mau," but not as cool.

The Royaltones - Clip Clop dotdot
Fifties Rock & Roll (Instrumental)

A fifties plinky piano & sax number with little to call its own.

Roy and the Royals - The Royal "B" dot
Fifties Rock & Roll (Instrumental)

Rockin' B-side party down tune, a "Guitar Boogie Shuffle" styled tune.

Dean Scott and the Dominoes - The Trance dotdot
Fifties Rock & Roll (Instrumental)

Very cool piano a la Professor Longhair with a Chicken Bop guitar solo.

The Starfires - Space Needle dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This track has been around on many comps. It's more a Midwest instro style than surf, yet it has lots of surf feel. It's rhythmic and is injected with "space" sound effects. The lead guitar fills with many chords and chops to avoid gaps. It's somewhat like the Breakers' "Jetstream."

The Sting Rays - Mad Surfer dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Averaging 15 years old, Springfield, Illinois' Sting Rays recorded "Mad Surfer" c/w "Surfer's Walk" in 1963. "Mad Surfer" is a raging sax and guitar glissando number with raw edge and power. More riff rock oriented, still it has a certain power and infectious feel.

The Swanks - Ghost Train dotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

This is one of the more often comp'd instros from the fifties. It is a fast and infectious train tune, with a big reverby lead guitar and lots of subtle whammy. The double picked guitar work is very "swank," and the the contrast between the surf guitar's optimism and the minor key danger of the rhythm guitar and bass is quite effective. Fine track.

Terry and the Renegades - Line Drive dot
Fifties Rock & Roll (Instrumental)

Rock instead of Country, typical of single B-sides with little melody and direction.

The Thunder Rocks - Rampage dot
Fifties (Instrumental)

"Rampage" blasts out in a fifties honkin' progression. It's the sort of thing the Vice Barons would cover.

The Thunder Rocks - Shadow dot
Fifties (Instrumental)

"Shadow" is a stroll with no direction particular direction. What it does do is snarl with raw early rock edge.

The Tornados (Wisconsin) - Scalping Party dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This song is credited to Gordy Hastreiter, but is really a rompin' reverby reworking of the Wailers' "Shanghaied" is loaded with frat party yelling. This Midwest band has no relationship at all to the Hollywood Tornadoes or the London Tornados. They were on the Cuca label.

Dennis Volk - Dennis' Boogie dot
Cowboy Boogie (Instrumental)

A basic cowboy piano boogie. While fun, it doesn't stand out in a crowd of two.

Robert and Gene Wilson - Jamboree Rock dotdot
Fifties Rock & Roll (Instrumental)

A Memphis feel to this bluesy guitar track.