Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Frantics - The Complete Frantics on Doltondotdotdot
artworkSome fine tracks, some unreleased and dismissible tracks, and some vital history. The Frantics are the band that originated the amazing "Werewolf" and preceded the ventures on the Dolton label, but failed to chart meaningfully.
Picks: Straight Flush, Young Blues, Fog Cutter, Black Sapphire, Werewolf, Checkerboard, No Werewolf, The Whip, Delilah, Yankee Doodlin', One Minute Flamenco (For Two Minutes), San Antonio Rose, Trees, Oh Yeah!, Walkin' The Beat, Richmond Stomp, Ventura Blvd., Dirty Robber, Sweet Cucumber, Hold It, Lost Island, Mio Amore, Letter From Jennie, Love Of My Life, Don's Tune, Lost Love

Track by Track Review

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.

Young Blues dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Young Blues" is a long slow drink of water, a jammin' groove with tasteful guitar shimmer and a Northwest jazz combo edge.

Fog Cutter dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Fifties duel sax sauce served up on a Chuck Rio inspired bed of Northwest groove. Bouncy and fun, but unremarkable.

Black Sapphire dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Exotica's lush sense of percussion and suave runs under a sax instro with a pleasant melody riff. "Black Sapphire" isn't magical or anything, but is a nice example of the slithery side of the Northwest's martini scene.

Werewolf dotdotdotdotdot
Pre Surf Lycanthropy (Instrumental)

This is the original, growling with lycanthropic evil and great guitar over tribal toms and a shimmering vibrato second guitar. This is a totally unique and magnificent track! The power of the writing and the highly effective simplicity of the arrangement is stunning. The Frantics' "Werewolf" holds up really well after more than 35 years.

Checkerboard dotdot
Pre Surf Lycanthropy (Instrumental)

"Checkerboard" is mostly pumpin' minimalist energy with a jammin' structure. Pretty darn forgettable.

No Werewolf dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

WOW!!! This is the undubbed master in stereo for the first time. No werewolves growling, just that amazing tribal masterpiece. This previously unreleased track is worth the price of admission alone. Great guitar, tribal tom toms, shimmering vibrato, and a totally magical arrangement. Stunningly cool! Stereo is dominant rhythm guitar and drums on the left, added lead licks, bass, and gong on the right. Way cool!

The Whip dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This ranting track fires with all barrels, double picks the guitar at times, and pounds the drums. It's not surf, but the energy is certainly in the pocket, and the twin saxes reminds me of the Crossfires... just a little less chunky.

Delilah dotdotdot
Exotica (Instrumental)

"Delilah" moves slowly from shimmering dual vibes and an exotic lush backtrack to the gentle guitar break. Quite a nice track.

Yankee Doodlin' dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

A military cadence and vibes drive the song, with infectious drums and lots of innocent energy. Fun, if not remarkable. In some ways, it's comparable to a light weight variation on the Viscounts' "Wabash Cannonball."

One Minute Flamenco (For Two Minutes) dotdotdot
Flamenco Rock (Instrumental)

This is a simple and very fun track with a sorta chorus-sorta vocal. Lots of classic Spanish influences and a sax line that's more Arabic than Spanish. "One Minute Flamenco (For Two Minutes)" is a very fun track with extra cool percussion.

San Antonio Rose dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Vibrato guitar and twirly organ bounce out a standard rockin' rendition of "San Antonio Rose," with a piano lead alternated with the vibrato guitar and sax. Fun and flippant.

Trees dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Dramatic and slow, "Trees" features a saucy sax and fifties last dance stroll backtrack. Relatively unremarkable, yet very listenable.

Oh Yeah! dot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Oh Yeah!" is a basic pumpin' fifties sax jam. Previously Unreleased

Walkin' The Beat dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Walkin' The Beat," while a basic fifties style jam with a Northwest jazzy feel, doesn't quite rise above a jam. Previously Unreleased

Richmond Stomp dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

A rockin' beat, walking bass line, and infectious guitar rhythm run under a relatively unremarkable riff. There's great energy and quite a bit of speed for the era. Previously unreleased.

Ventura Blvd. dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

Introduced like "Walk, Don't Run," and with a catchy sax lead, "Ventura Blvd." is an infectious pre-surf kinda track. The dual sax lines are like some Chuck Rio tracks. It should have been issued back in the day. Previously unreleased.

Dirty Robber dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

A lot like "Fanny Mae" without the frantic soul, and with some tasteful guitar lines, "Dirty Robber" rocks with a jam basis and R&B feel. I don't think there's any relationship between this and the Wailers' rockin' vocal. Previously unreleased.

Sweet Cucumber dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

"Sweet Cucumber" is a rollin' Louisiana kind of romp. The rhythm and beat are right out of the Antoine Domino songbook. A fun fifties jam. Previously unreleased.

Hold It dotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Bill Dogget's "Hold It" is presented in a fairly light arrangement. Not more than pleasant. Previously unreleased.

Lost Island dotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

Deep and moody bass run under a spectacular shimmering vibrato guitar and a distant haunted sax lay out a grand misty island instro. The circular piano riffs are quite cool. This is a softish number with a captivating sensuous sound. Not quite surf, but very close. Previously unreleased.

Mio Amore dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Mio Amore" is a slow lounge groove - the kind of thing that might run under a slow dance seen in a black and white Vegas flick. Previously unreleased.

Letter From Jennie dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Squishy piano plink and soft rock backtrack, a circular shimmering vibrato riff, and not a lot of development. "Letter From Jennie" is a really cool starting pint, but sounds like there was supposed to be a lead guitar over the top, or maybe even a vocal. Previously unreleased.

Love Of My Life dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Another prom slow dance number, this time with cool piano offset by vibrating guitar. It's not much, maybe even like a slow fifties country ballad, but it has a warmth and friendliness about it. Previously unreleased.

Don's Tune dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Don's Tune" is a slow and sinewy number with a bit of vibrato shimmer and a slightly saucy sax. The dual lead part is very cool. Previously unreleased.

Lost Love dotdotdot
Exotic Rock (Instrumental)

Tribal drums a la the Golliwogs' wonderful "Walk On The Water" undulate under a dual sax melody that's emotional and smoky. Slightly exotic and pretty unusual. Previously unreleased.