Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Jet Blacks - Classic Collection - Vol. IIdotdotdot
artworkThe Jet Blacks don't play surf, but they occasionally deliver cool instros. Volume two has a number of good tracks on it.
Picks: Bulldog, Ten Green Bottles, The Phantomas, Fire Ball Mail, Raw Hide, Avaian War Chant, Smokey, Caravan, The Stranger, Rhythm Of The Rain, King Neptune's Guitar , Mary Ann

Track by Track Review


Bulldog dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is an echo driven cover of The Fireballs' "Bulldog." It's pretty darn spunky, and quite fun to listen to. Not particularly powerful, but cool nonetheless.

Ten Green Bottles dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a rousing and fun version of the British children's song. It's unexpectedly cool, though not really a bring-backer.

The Phantomas dotdotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

This is splendid! While not exactly high energy, its sound is crisp and the playing very strong. There's plenty here that suggests The Jet Blacks heard actual surf music. It's slowly rung out chords are very sensual, and its infectious sound just right.

Fire Ball Mail dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The traditional instro "Fire Ball Mail" is laid out on lap steel and sax, and the echo creates an almost island surf edge. Pretty darn cool.

Raw Hide dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is quite a nice version of Link Wray's "Raw Hide," though it's fairly low energy. That's the engineer's fault, not the band's. Pumping bass and a few brief drum moments along with twang. Very tasteful.

Lucille dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Little Richard's "Lucille" is done as an instro with guitar cycling the classic riff and sax honking out the lead lines. Very spunky and fun.

Avaian War Chant dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Great tribal drums and pumping bass are the main features of this mostly guitar version of "Hawaiian War Chant." It's all fun, all the way through, particularly at the hands of the drummer.

Twisting Time dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Twisting Time" is a pedestrian fifties style sax instro groover. It's fun enough, but it's also completely forgettable.

What'd I Say dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

That riff dominates on guitar along with cool tom toms and piano. The R&B feel is there, but it's mostly white bread. If not for the drummer, this version of Ray Charles' "What'd I Say" would slip into obscurity.

Apache dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The Shadows' arrangement of Jerry Lordan's "Apache" is nicely done. Definitely soft, with tribal drums in the bridge.

Smokey dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

A cowboy beat and echoed guitar lines playfully entertain. This is neither heavy nor particularly original, but it really does have the fun thing down. Turns out I like this.

Wildwood dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Slide guitar moments, but otherwise, "Wildwood" is a poor man's "Wildwood Flower" less the flower. The arrangement if quite original, but the mix is so bad that it's sometimes hard to recognize.

Caravan dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Tribal drums rock the joint as The Jet Blacks get into Duke Ellington's "Caravan." Raw sax and rumbling bass are very cool, but this is a drum song, and this version is no exception. Quite nice.

Let's Go dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Let's Go" is a fifties style instro with a sax riff endlessly cycling. Not very interesting.

The Stranger dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The Shadows' classic song is done with too much reverence to set t apart. "The Stranger" is nicely captured, but its arrangement and style is just one of many.

Rhythm Of The Rain dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The Cascades' "Rhythm Of The Rain" is good fodder for a gentle twangster. The Jet Blacks milk its romantic quotient to the hilt. Saucy and cool, with deep twang guitar and raspy sax.

The Battle dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"The Battle," aka "Battle Hymn Of The Republic," is done like a hundred Southern bands did it in the fifties. Great tremolo twang, but it wants to be Duane Eddy too much.

Jingle Bells dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Stereotypical fifties low end rock holiday fair. Nothing to write home about.

Peace Pipe dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The Shadows' "Peace Pipe" is covered the way virtually all bands do it - just like the original. Echoed guitar and long flowing soft notes.

Kon Tiki dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a too-reverent cover of The Shadows' "Kon-Tiki." Great tremolo, but nothing else about it has original character.

King Neptune's Guitar dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The waves crash on the shore while the tremolo guitar plays a gentle melody. It wouldn't be hard to morph this into a surf instro, or maybe it already is. More or less like some surf b-sides, except for the fifties soft sax lines.

Mary Ann dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a fun number with a fun riff in The Fireballs vein. It's probably a Fireballs cover, but I cant place it. In any event, "Mary Ann" is a nicely done track with an easy Southwest sound.

Twist Train dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Night Train" is done in a very pedestrian fashion. Cool drums, though.

The Gospel Theme dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

In part, this is a radical rearrangement of "When Those Saints Go Marching In." but even so, it's like they are trying too hard. Forgettable.