Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Scorpions - Anthology 1959-1965dotdotdotdot
artworkIt's always a pleasure to find early sixties British instros that are completely void of Shadows influences. It's not that there's anything wrong with the Shadows. After all, they recorded some incredible music and influence more guitarist than just about anyone in England at the time. Maybe they were too influential, with most of their peers copying their sound way too closely. Part of the magic here is that the Scorpions were a trio, which meant that the guitar had to be really strong and up front. The band's history is chronicled in the extensive liner notes. The CD is over half vocals, with similar instrumentation and so-so voice work, including the ultra twang of "Mystery Train," is pretty cool, second only to Johnny Waleen's surf guitar version. The 14 instros are worth the price alone.
Picks: Red River Rock, Guitar Boogie, Fini, Scorpio, Rockin' At The Phil', (Ghost) Riders In The Sky, Torquay, Temptation, Hot Rod Breakdown, Three Coins In the Fountain, Last Chance, Lonesome Road, Hocus Pocus, High Noon

Track by Track Review

Red River Rock dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Launching from Johnny and the Hurricanes inspiration, the Scorpions replace the organ with low-E guitar. While it's low key, it's also rich and full. A very cool arrangement.

Guitar Boogie dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Guitar Boogie" is just what you'd expect. More or less faceless amid a sea of such guitar boogies, it does employ more extreme guitar tape echo than I've heard elsewhere.

Fini dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The tune is based on the stereo typical show ending chord progression. A novel idea well executed. Fun.

Scorpio dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Their namesake tune opens with a rough hewn glissando, which introduces a cowboy twangster on the verge of surf vibrato. Considering its 1960 and England, its quite a treat to hear something void of the Hank Marvin influence.

Rockin' At The Phil' dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a fairly playful cover of "Rockin' At The Phil'." A bit of whammy and echo round out the arrangement.

(Ghost) Riders In The Sky dotdotdotdotdot
Cowbly Near Surf (Instrumental)

Unique rolling rhythm patterns, surfish whammy, near Jet Harris bass-guitar tone, and an infectious gate... this is both a totally unique arrangement, and a fine track! The reverbed midsection sure does sound like surf, yet it's 1960 and the surf has not evolved yet. Brilliant!

Torquay dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With the bass grumble of Bob Vaught and the Renegaids, and surf twang, plus gourds... quite an interesting and exotic cover of the Fireballs' "Torquay."

Temptation dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Grodie and gruff, this wonderful tune sounds like it's waiting for the surf, less reverb, and with surfable echo and whammy chords, plus an exotic and rolling beat. Very cool track!

Hot Rod Breakdown dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

1961's "Hot Rod Breakdown" sounds like a through-back to the late fifties, with less futurist surf elements and a fifties riff, though the whammy chords are here.

Three Coins In the Fountain dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is fairly fast cover of the classic instro, completely different from either the Chantays or the Atlantics. Interesting, with big whammy chords.

Last Chance dotdotdot
Cowboy (Instrumental)

"Last Chance" verges on being a cowboy romp, while skirting surf in melody structure. Infectious and cactus fun.

Lonesome Road dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

It's funny how close the arrangement is to the Chantays, though there's no reverb. maybe it's just the feel, but it's playful and kinda country jazzy. Great guitar tone, a little vibrato, and ringing chords.

Hocus Pocus dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Echoed damped guitar plays fluidly over an infectious rhythm track. Near double picked lines and sub surf tone, couples with ringing chords, set this squarely at surf's door. Very cool!

High Noon dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This instro is from 1962, and employs deep vibrato to convey the sadness of "High Noon." While it's not terribly adventurous, it's very pleasing and crisp. Harmonica carries the break.