Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Spotnicks - Top Twentydotdotdot
artworkThough the Spotnicks had a unique image and a relatively identifiable sound, like too many Euro bands of their day, they often ventured into MOR territory. Their tougher more rock oriented material is often very good. This best-of release is a good place to get introduced to the Spotnicks.
Picks: Orange Blossom Special, Last Date, Amapola, (Ghost) Riders In The Sky, Old Faithful, Happy Guitar, Drina (Marsch Na Drini), Cape Kennedy, Old Spinning Wheel, Johnny Guitar, Walking Back To Happiness, Karelia, Moonshot, Old Clock At Home, If You Wanna Be Happy, Spanish Gypsy Dance, Space Walk, Busted, I Remember You, The Spotnicks Theme

Track by Track Review

Orange Blossom Special dotdotdot
Euro Cowboy (Instrumental)

The echoed guitar replacing the fiddles on this classic country theme is really quite stunning. The rhythmic backtrack, especially the damped rhythm guitar is very effective. Very fun.

Last Date dotdot
Euro Country (Instrumental)

Floyd Cramer's romantic "Last Date" is modestly done. Nothing special here.

Amapola dotdot
Euro Rock (Instrumental)

This is a solid, though only moderately interesting cover of the traditional "Amapola." It shines a bit, but doesn't capture my imagination.

(Ghost) Riders In The Sky dotdotdot
Euro Surf (Instrumental)

Exotic percussion and a cowboy beat under upfront rich guitar... this is quite an adventurous arrangement of the Stan Jones classic. Rockin', rich, and rumblin' in a nearly surf vein.

Old Faithful dotdotdot
Euro MOR (Instrumental)

Excellent twangy echoed chords keep this cover of "Old Faithful" from becoming just another track. It's not quite great, but it is satisfying and kinda suave.

Happy Guitar dotdotdot
Euro Rock (Instrumental)

This is a very Shadows-esq arrangement of "Happy Guitar," with a Del-Vikings feel.

Drina (Marsch Na Drini) dotdot
Euro MOR (Instrumental)

Light weight military march in a sub Shadows vein. Pleasant, even a little suave, but unremarkable.

Cape Kennedy dotdotdot
Euro Cowboy (Instrumental)

Big Euro twang, a bouncy beat verging on country, and a playful melody line. I didn't like this for the first couple of bars, but it seems to grow on you.

Old Spinning Wheel dotdotdot
Euro Rock (Instrumental)

A rockin' intensification of the "Old Spinning Wheel" with echoed guitar out front and a rockin' countrified beat behind. Tasteful.

Johnny Guitar dotdotdot
Euro Rock (Instrumental)

This often covered (in Europe) tune is well done, with a sad soft slow opening, and a moody yet silky guitar solo intro. The band comes in and retains the softness of the guitar. "Johnny Guitar" is very pretty and very smooth.

Walking Back To Happiness dot
Euro MOR (Instrumental)

With Connie Francis pomp and circumstance, the Spotnicks bounce through "Walking Back To Happiness" with a cheesy organ in the lead.

Karelia dotdotdot
Euro MOR Rock (Instrumental)

"Karelia" is very pretty, with its lilting lead and sad mod. A little on the MOR side, but well worth a few listens.

Moonshot dotdotdotdot
Euro Rock (Instrumental)

This is just a few inches from the Fireballs' "Yacky Doo." Echoed damped guitar and their rhythm sense. Quite nice.

Old Clock At Home dot
Euro MOR (Instrumental)

Just too MOR for me.

If You Wanna Be Happy dotdotdot
Euro Rock (Instrumental)

This is a nice choice to translate to the instro world. Jimmy Soul's "If You Wanna Be Happy" with echoed guitar in the lead is pretty cool.

Spanish Gypsy Dance dotdotdot
Euro Rock (Instrumental)

A flamenco based piece with a military beat and rich guitar. It's restrained, yet commands attention. Quite nice.

Space Walk dotdotdot
Euro Rock (Instrumental)

Slow and almost "Sleep Walk" like, "Space Walk" is only moderately interesting, in part because it's too derivative.

Busted dotdotdot
Euro Rock (Instrumental)

Ray Charles' "Busted" is melodic enough, but just doesn't quite capture center stage. Once you get past the cuteness of the idea of guitar instro treatment, it fades into the background.

I Remember You dot
Euro MOR (Instrumental)

UK country singer (?) Frank Ifield's yodelin' hit "I Remember You" is all softened up and set for the retirement home.

The Spotnicks Theme dotdotdot
Euro Rock (Instrumental)

Everyone needs a theme. "The Spotnicks Theme" is a chunky near cowboy surf romp with great twang and a fun beat, slowed down only by the vocal chorus.