Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Duals - Stick Shiftdotdotdot
artworkThe Duals were founded by two 19 year old LA guys, Henry Bellinger and Johnny Lageman. It was the end of the fifties, and instrumental rock was sax dominated. The Duals focused on guitars, some boogie, and some rockin' stuff. This CD compiles 12 of their tracks. They had a regional hit with "Stick Shift." Also here is the cool "Lover's Satellite." It's been 40 years since this stuff was recorded in '61, and it's certain that many a surf band played their stuff, since guitar instros prior to surf were the exception, not the rule. This CD is mostly from vinyl sources, and the tracks range from important to filler.
Picks: Stick Shift, Lover's Satellite, Duel, Cha Cha Guitars, The Duals Blues, Beach Party, Runnin' Water, Rollin', Henry's Blues, Johnny's Boogie

Track by Track Review

Stick Shift dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

This track defines early hot rod guitar instros. It opens with grumbling pipes and tire squeals, and move right into the simple but infectious melody line that fires off over the thumping bass and rocking drums. It is like an outgrowth of rockabilly, with the edges of the surf sound to come hiding in the weeds. A necessary pre-surf instro. Unlike the Collectables release, this is from session tapes.

Lover's Satellite dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

This is a cool track. It sports a sound not unlike the Pacific Northwest sounds of the Viceroys. The melody line is a soft rolling progression that smoothly handles driving o the open road. The insertion of theremin sounds reminds us that we are listening to an early pre-Telstar space tune. Quite a nice little track.

Duel dotdotdot
Fifties (Instrumental)

This is a fifties oriented guitar jam. The performance is spirited, and the sound is kinda thin, with a weak lead guitar. The progression is a little like "What's I Say."

Cha Cha Guitars dotdotdotdot
Pre Salsa (Instrumental)

With more than a slight influence from La Bamba, and timbales added, this becomes a really cool Latin track, almost Salsa before there was Salsa. It is infectious, and will fit into a surf set just fine. It has a gentle sorta West Coast sound.

The Duals Blues dotdotdot
Blues (Instrumental)

This is a strait blues jam, almost like Jimmy Reed. Nothing special, but a nice groove.

Beach Party dotdotdot
Midwest R&B (Instrumental)

Echoplexed fifties jumpin' small town Midwest jam. I'd guess Eddie Angel might like this, and might even do it for a break. It has a groovin' kinda rolling lead line, and an R&B backtrack. Quite bluesy.

Runnin' Water dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

With an almost Bo Diddley guitar sound, and a muddy band way in back, this could have been a lesser Chess single, at least from the sound of it. A basic muffled rhythm guitar, and a wailin' sax.

Rollin' dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

A fifties progression, based on Stick Shift, very close in fact, but with none of the flair in the performance, and little of the charm.

Henry's Blues dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

As the archetypal Kansas City provides the backtrack, and blues noodling provides the melody line, the track quickly becomes a blues jam.

Johnny's Boogie dotdotdot
Fifties (Instrumental)

A faster, fifties progression, with a noodling lead line. It's spirited, and some of the guitar licks are tasty. Even though it doesn't really go anywhere, it does have a certain charm that keeps the interest.