Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Wailers - At The Castle / And Companydotdotdot
artworkI never get enough of the Wailers. This 2-fer couples their 1961 album At The Castle with 1964's The Wailers and Company, plus a half-dozen bonus tracks. Amid the 18 instros are classic raw Northwest vocals including the hard rockin' "Dirty Robber," the rippin' "Rosalie," and the late Rockin' Robin Roberts' hard drivin' "Louie Louie." The Wailers flirted with surf with their spunky "We're Goin' Surfin'" and the Beach Boys-esq vocal "Partytime USA."
Picks: Wailers House Party, San-Ho-Zay, Shivers, Sac O' Woe, Tall Cool One, Limbo Twist, Zig Zag, Soul-Long, Seattle, Doin' The Seaside, We're Goin' Surfin', Frenzy, Shakedown, Tough Walk, Mashi, Velva, Stompin' Willie and the Hand Jive, Tall Cool One

Track by Track Review


Wailers House Party dotdotdot
Northwest Rock (Instrumental)

Edgy crunch and grind from with the definitive Pacific Northwest band. It's sub-Dave Lewis melodically, but in that general direction structurally.

San-Ho-Zay dotdotdot
Northwest Rock (Instrumental)

This is a spirited if not exciting version of Freddie King's "San-Ho-Zay." The guitar does the groovin' jam thing and the organ pumps while the Leslie whirls.

Shivers dotdotdot
Northwest Rock (Instrumental)

"Shivers" is a minimal chord progression thing, dependent on the Leslie's groan for interest. It's a little similar to "Mashi," without the drive. It's quite a club jam.

Sac O' Woe dotdotdot
Northwest Rock (Instrumental)

Sorta minor league Booker T and the MG's style thing, maybe a little bluesier in the guitar and less shiny in the organ. It reminds me a bit of the early Graham Bond Organization.

Tall Cool One dotdotdotdot
Pacific Northwest Bachelor Pad Club Instro (Instrumental)

The Wailers issued this and had a national hit with it in '59. It's a great honky tonkin' piano and sax squankin' R&B track. Wonderful!

Limbo Twist dotdotdot
Northwest Rock (Instrumental)

"Limbo Twist" seems to me to be a typical Wailers riff rocker. It's spirited, but just not very melodic.

Zig Zag dotdotdot
Northwest Rock (Instrumental)

A cha cha for your frat party. A progression without a melody. Chunky, but it just doesn't really go anywhere. Even when Rich Dangel comes in for the guitar kill, it's just a blues jam.

Soul-Long dotdotdot
Northwest Rock (Instrumental)

"So long darlin', I hate to see you go..." but with no vocals. A bluesy jam, sluggish and soulful.

Seattle dotdotdot
PNW Rock (Instrumental)

Great drums, and a sound more like Seattle's Viceroys than the Wailers. It's a progression, funky, tough, and tribal.

Doin' The Seaside dotdotdot
Blues (Instrumental)

This is a bluesy number that approaches but does not reach surf. It is infectious and interesting, rhythmic and fun.

We're Goin' Surfin' dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Like every other band on earth at the time, the Wailers tried to move into the pop consciousness on the wave of the surf sound. Their vocal attempts (Party Time U. S. A.) were pretty lame, but this instro is quite good, though not very surfy in the traditional sense. No double picking, and no Fender reverb, but plenty of watery groove. The girls chorus singin' "everyone's surfin', we're going surfin..." etc. could have been dropped, but still, it was a great single, and stands up well over time. The melody is the same as Dave Myers and the Surftones "Aqua Limbo Luau."

Frenzy dotdotdot
Big Band (Instrumental)

A big band number with Cozy Cole overtones. Sax, organ, and guitar all grooving and vying for the front line position.

Shakedown dotdotdot
PNW Rock (Instrumental)

Guitar boogie progression with a swingin' melody for the bachelor pad. Spunky fun, but doessn't rise above the jam.

Tough Walk dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A growling organ and piano jam, with a "Have Love Will Travel" backtrack.

Mashi dotdotdotdotdot
Grodie Organ (Instrumental)

This is my all time favorite organ based instro. "Mashi" has a distinctive sound, with the organ literally growling along, and Rockin' Robin Roberts shoutin' "Mashi" from time to time. Melodic, evil, infectious, nasty, and lasting.

Velva dotdotdotdot
Last Dance (Instrumental)

"Velva" moves slowly through the night. Sensual piano, a walking blues bass, soft drums, and a late night feeling. It's a very smooth and groovy night-ender.

Stompin' Willie and the Hand Jive dotdotdotdot
PNW Rock (Instrumental)

Johnny Otis' classic "Willie and the Hand Jive" gets an instrumental treatment. The lead is carried on organ, and the Bo Diddley beat is rhythmic and infectious.

Tall Cool One dotdotdotdotdot
Pacific Northwest Bachelor Pad Club Instro (Instrumental)

This final cut of "Tall Cool One" recorded in '64 got significant chart action amid the British Invasion. A remarkably enduring and cool track, with piano lead and a funky beat.