Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Jan Davis - Boss Guitardotdotdot
artworkStudio guitarist Jan Davis played lead guitar with B. Bumble and the Stingers, and for a time, served as group leader. Among the songs he wrote was his co-written composition "The Fugitive," which the Ventures cut and hit with. Jan also worked with acoustic guitar, studying Flamenco and recording many songs in that vein. Rene' Hall wrote most of Jan's arrangements, from his early beginning with B. Bumble and the Stingers. Among Jan's credits was playing solo guitar in front of Philharmonic orchestras, and the most memorable was with Rene' Hall arranging and conducting. Jan claims involvement with the recording of Dick Dale and his Del-tones' amazing "Miserlou" single, but accounts vary as to the details.
Picks: Fugitive, The Time Tunnel, Watusi Zombie, Pooky, Walkin' Back, Guitar Star, Man From Nowhere, Lost In Space, (Return Of) The Green Hornet, Boss Machine, More, Mystique, The Unwanted, Run For Your Life, Dreamer, Hop, Skip, and Jump, Scramble, Snow Surfin' Matador, The Flight Of The Bumble Bee, In Combat

Track by Track Review


Fugitive dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Among Jan Davis' best singles, "Fugitive" is more surf and fluid than just about any version of this song from sixties. Tight, with great drums, and exceptionally good guitar licks for a studio session, this track merits more than a casual listen.

The Time Tunnel dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

A clock sets off the track. Organ led in a kind of light weight Tornados vein, "The Time Tunnel" is based on a circular riff. Great drums and solid production, and better than average for an organ lead track, but just so-so on the memorable scale.

Watusi Zombie dotdotdot
Jungle (Instrumental)

Mean jungle guitar and mighty percussion, noisy and gutsy. Tribal from the get-go, with no shortage of spirit. "Watusi Zombie" is just a riff, but is quite infectious. Really trashy and cool too! Dig the drums and shouts!

Pooky dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a quirky light weight rock instro with a cute riff. Doesn't inspire raves.

Walkin' Back dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This light weight curious instro sounds like a cross between a thin Lonnie Mack and Tony Joe White, with the warble of Travis Wammack. Kinda gimmicky.

Guitar Star dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Bits of influence from "Moovin' And Groovin'," inspiration from Al Casey's "Guitars, Guitars, Guitars" and Dick Dale's "King Of The Surf Guitar," this song is part instro, part vocal. There's nothing "Guitar Star" about the playing or the riffs.

Man From Nowhere dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Kinda like "Fugitive" with a different melody, "Man From Nowhere" is a nice little instro. It's not commanding or overly catchy, but it's very listenable.

Lost In Space dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

A little spy like, the guitar lines are well laid out and the song has a Ventures quality to it, along with a theme feel. Nice track.

(Return Of) The Green Hornet dotdotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Kinda buzzy in the "Flight Of the Bumble Bee" way - oh wait - that's essentially what it is, but less the melody. Still, aside from the gimmicky basis, it's on the gutty side and the playing is pretty darn good. Double pick and circular, on the dark side, and very strange.

Boss Machine dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Boss Machine" opens with draggin' engines, and moves right into a simple hot rod/surf riff rocker with reverb and splash, and a few tuff glissandoes. More jammy than a song, but still pretty cool.

More dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

The theme to Mondo Cane is nicely presented, perhaps better than most versions, certainly better than the hit version from the CTI hit factory by Kai Winding and Kenny Burrell. Surfish, yet filmy.

Mystique dotdotdot
Near Surf MOR (Instrumental)

This is a very nice track. While it's on the MOR side, it' also nearly a surf instro. Very good guitar work and a credible arrangement. Quite enjoyable.

The Unwanted dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Dark kinda spaghetti meets Greek line dance on Pluto with cool vibrato guitar twang. The unusual merger of these elements gives it a fresh sound, and the combination works really well. "The Unwanted" is a very nice track.

Run For Your Life dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

A clear spin-off from "Fugitive," this is solid and tuff, but not as interesting or enduring as its predecessor. Had "Fugitive" not existed, it might be rated higher. The horns detract from the rock credibility of the track.

Dreamer dot
MOR (Instrumental)

"Dreamer" is a slow and slushy instro ordering a retirement home serenade. Strings and mush.

Hop, Skip, and Jump dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The sound of this is like a cross between Billy Joe and the Checkmates' cutesy "Percolator," and a dry rock inversion of "Brazil." I can't decide if it's too MOR or if I just don't want to like it, 'cuz I find it fanciful and enjoyable, but want to dismiss it. An unusual sound and combination. Jan Davis sure issued a lot of slushy singles... Straddling decent and discardable, "Hop, Skip and Jump" sports some edgy chord whammy in a light rock format. Bouncy and fun, and hard to button hole.

Scramble dot
Rock (Instrumental)

Echoed piano with a fifties feel, and a relentless progression. Not at all memorable.

Snow Surfin' Matador dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

This is an odd combination of Spanish influences, from castanets to a wailing female voice, to guitar licks and a great beat. Nearly surf at times, almost gimmicky to a fault, yet gutsy and very credible. It's a very strange song with an attractive arrangement on the most unusual list.

The Flight Of The Bumble Bee dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Kinda like the Surfers' Choice "Miserlou" from an arrangement point of view, "The Flight Of The Bumble Bee" is augmented with strings, but I'll be damned if I can figure out why. The basic track is pretty cool. Much like "(Return Of) The Green Hornet" in style and sound, but more melodic. It does seem to lack direction at times.

In Combat dotdotdot
Near Country (Instrumental)

Yet another variation on "Fugitive," this time with combat sounds and a country feel. Good track.