As compilation CDs of 1960s instrumentals go, this one is pretty special. Actually, it’s unique, as half of the 26 tracks have never been released before. It’s just like going back to the heady days of the early 60s and buying a brand new LP of exciting instrumentals that are entirely new to you. Is that Christmas or what?
So what goodies have we conjured up for you? How about the fascinating original demo of ‘Walk Don’t Run’ showing the Ventures still busily working out exactly how the arrangement should go, and it’s every bit as thrilling as the band’s later hit recording. Plus there’s another four unreleased titles from the world’s premier instrumental group: the Latin-spiced ‘The Spur’ and ‘Sabrosa’, plus the fine Danny Hamilton compositions ‘Murfreesboro’ and ‘Run Don’t Walk’. If that’s not enough for Ventures fans, we’ve also added two hitherto unknown performances from their later star guitarist Gerry McGee working uncredited on a Billy Joe & the Checkmates 45 from 1963.
The Fireballs are represented by two typically superb tracks – an instrumental version of their memorable vocal outing ‘Ain’t That Rain’ and a bright, sunshine treatment of ‘La Pobracita’ which is so much better that the version they waxed under the name of the String-A-Longs. There are also two from the Rondels who enjoyed a US Top 100 hit with ‘Back Beat No.1’ in 1961: the wild sax-feast ‘Showboat’ and the unworldly beat of ‘Zombie’.
The Reveliers are much respected in surf music circles for their ‘Hangin’ Five’ / ‘Patch’ 45 on G-Clef. ‘Patch’ is included here as well the dynamic ‘White Water’ and ‘Flat Tyre’, both previously unissued. There are two unreleased recordings from the Titans who are feted in instrumental circles for the blistering power of their ‘Reveille Rock’ and ‘Noplace Special’ 45s. Here we feature a super version of the South African favourite ‘Skokiaan’ and an unexpectedly moving treatment of the Everly Brothers’ ‘Crying In The Rain’.
There’s also a whole bunch of exhilarating rarities, including Johnny & the Hurricanes’ final instrumental 45, ‘The Psychedelic Worm’ and ‘Red River Rock ’67’, which we have never seen on CD before; Richie Allen (alias Richie Podolor) exploring the twangy depths of his Danelectro along with an uncredited Sandy Nelson on drums for the little-known ‘Goochy Bamba’; the Ramrods’ barmy bagpipe extravaganza ‘Loch Lomond Rock’; surfing rarities like the Impacts’ ‘Tor-Chula’ and the Avantis’ ‘Wax ‘Em Down’; the catchy ‘Car Hop’ hot-rod fave from the Exports; the Gigolos with the twangy ‘Night Creature’; and finally the cross-genre cult classic ‘Ghost Train’ from the Swanks – as wild and raw as it gets, and taken from the original master tape, natch.
The 20-page booklet features comprehensive notes by myself and fellow Pipeline Magazine co-editor Alan Taylor based on in-depth interviews with original members of the bands, plus many never-before-seen photos. There are just 1,500 being pressed and once they’re gone they’re gone. So, fellow instro fans, do not hang around on this one.
By Dave Burke Pipeline Magazine