Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Viscounts - Rockin' Instrumental Essentialsdotdotdotdot
artworkI don't know how legit this is... it's sounds like it is essentially from the same masters as the Stylus CD, less the long version of "Harlem Nocturne." Rockin' Instrumental Essentials is much better sounding than the CD issue on Vulture. The tracks are restored and remastered, resulting in a much more accurate and pleasing sound.
Picks: Harlem Nocturne, This Place, Sophisticated Lady, Dig, Opus 1, Ballin' The Jack, When The Saints Go Marching In, Viscount Rock, Night For Love, Chug-A-Lug, Shadrach, Mark's Mood, Night Flight, Along The Navajo Trail, September Song, Summertime, Wabash Blues, The Touch, So Slow, When Johnny Comes Marching Home, A Girl Like You

Track by Track Review


Harlem Nocturne dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Viscounts' spectacular 1959 hit was a cover of "Harlem Nocturne" was reissued again in 1960 and 1966 after selling out of the first pressing. It features the very intense and sultry sax of Harry Haller, which drives this track with the danger of a back alley. The throbbing vibrato guitar adds to the ominous sound. This is one magnificent track.

Night Train dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

From the first time James Brown morphed this standard into a rock 'n' roll classic, it's been a part of the scenery of rock. This is a solid, if not predictable version.

This Place dotdotdotdot
Moody (Instrumental)

This original acetate demo is sorta in the style of "Harlem Nocturne," but more jazzy and detectivist, less shimmering and moody. The scenery is like an epilog to their earlier sound. Still, it's damn swell.

Sweet Georgia Brown dotdotdot
Marching Band (Instrumental)

What a strange track. The girls are singing along out of key off mic, the band is playing it like they were a high school marching band, and the whole effect is very Stanford.

Sophisticated Lady dotdotdotdot
Bubbly Euro Surf (Instrumental)

Effervescent, slightly hokey, Shadows tonality, and croissants all around. Like a sophisticated line dance, it giggles under the black-and-white garb. Very cool.

Dig dotdotdotdot
Dramatic Pre Surf (Instrumental)

What a pretty track. The Hawaiian steel second guitar sets the ambiance against which this fine melody is displayed. The melody hints of a haole on big island... splendid. Great tone and a catchy melody, and pristine performance and sound.

Opus 1 dotdotdotdotdot
King Of Hawaii Surf (Instrumental)

High spirited, almost King of Hawaii like in melody structure and pacing. This is a spectacular track. It is infectious, pristine, melodic, and very fun. It has a kinder-gentler Cruel Sea break, a divine friendliness, and a full round sound. The whammy dips are cool, and any would proud to have created this. Absolutely great!

Little Brown Jug dotdotdot
MOR (Instrumental)

This big band arrangement of "Little Brown Jug" has been pared down to the bare essentials. Honkin', rockin' just fun. A jam.

Ballin' The Jack dotdotdotdot
Dramatic Pre Surf (Instrumental)

A standard R&B based rock jam with really fast powerhouse drums. Pretty cool. The double picked guitar adds a sense of the surf, as does the reverb.

When The Saints Go Marching In dotdotdotdot
Mystical Surf (Instrumental)

Slow and sinewy, reminding me of Jade Warrior's "Snow Queen," with it's metered artful melody line and oriental flair. It has a quiet drama, and a sense of well being slightly overshadowed by a passing sadness. This is simply stunning.

Viscount Rock dotdotdotdot
Euro Surf (Instrumental)

Fine acoustically second guitar supports a slow country two-step sensibility and a Shadows soul. Like formal country, if there can be such an oxymoronic genre. Very pretty.

Night For Love dotdotdotdotdot
Dramatic Pre Surf (Instrumental)

With percussion that straddles the line between the caravan harem and the Las Vegas runway, this stellar tune is simply magical. It shimmers, it writhes and undulates, and it grabs you.

Sloppy Jalopy dotdotdot
Novelty (Instrumental)

Boogie woogie car tune with interspersed horn honks and a plinky piano lead. Novelty for the sake of fun.

Chug-A-Lug dotdotdotdot
Dramatic Pre Surf (Instrumental)

This is an early Neal Hefty (Bat Man television theme, Munsters, etc.) tune. It is very surfy for a presurf tune. Military drums, vibrato, guitar lead, great sax lines, and splendid spirit.

Shadrach dotdotdot
Northwest Style (Instrumental)

The sax is nasty enough, the guitar floats on a jazz pillow, and the organ has that Wailers growl. Like many a northwest single to follow, this track is a progression and a bunch of fun.

Mark's Mood dotdotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Ultra dirty, dangerous and almost middle eastern, this is a sultry number in the "Harlem Nocturne" mold with the feel of a harem. Yikes.

Night Flight dotdotdotdot
Bachelor Pad (Instrumental)

Exotic percussion and moody bass work, beatnik cadence, and suave womanizing... all the elements of a bachelor pad film of the late sixties. Excellent.

Along The Navajo Trail dotdotdotdot
Tuxedo Surf (Instrumental)

This is a mighty pretty tune, with haunted keys, and a formal air, like a sophisticated upper crust afternooner on the South lawn, a minuet for the great outdoors. Very visual, and very pretty.

September Song dotdotdotdot
Euro Surf (Instrumental)

This is a very Shadows-like tune, glimmering with great tremolo, and an understated delivery. The sounds are beautiful. The fluid melody line is more than friendly, with lush romantic flows, and a lilting innocence that drops your guard and makes instant friends. Very satisfying.

Summertime dotdotdotdot
Dramatic Pre Surf (Instrumental)

George Gershwin's grand standard, played slow and sultry, and arrange most successfully like "Harlem Nocturne." Extreme sax edge, raspy and dirty, and dramatic as Hell with their trademark vibrato guitar and back alley sound. Really cool.

Wabash Blues dotdotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

This single track starts out slow, moody, almost churchy, but suddenly drops into a raging sax monster that shreds mightily. Its stellar presurf combo instro wail is driven the the nasty sax and an almost surf guitar tone.

The Touch dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"The Touch" is a lot like Harlem Nocturne arrangement wise, but with a little less emotional shimmer. Sultry, saucy, and hot in their signature slow grind style with raw sax and tremolo guitar over exotic drums and bass. It was left off the Amy release of the album.

So Slow dotdotdot
Foggy Night (Instrumental)

Saucy slowed down moodiness, this was the B-side of "Wabash Blues." The growling organ under the harmonized sax-guitar duet provides a moody backdrop for a foggy night on the docks. The guitar in the break sports adequate reverb... quite cool.

I Cover The Waterfront dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This country classic has been garaged into submission, twanged into twilight. Wish I could place the name of it, but it escapes me now. Anyway, it's a fun party kinda hoe-down.

When Johnny Comes Marching Home dotdotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

I can't count the number of times this has been covered by rock bands, from Duane Eddy and the Lancers, to this rousing rocker. Much tougher than most others, it's a honking sax fest with a really dirty rumble-on-the-docks feel. The quieted down slow fade out is quite dramatic.

A Girl Like You dotdotdotdotdot
Dramatic Pre Surf (Instrumental)

Saucy sax 'n' roll, soothing and nasty, and without a doubt, shimmering. Like a more R&B based take on the "Harlem Nocturne" theme, this is quite dramatic. The toms are tribal, and the sound primal.