A much-anticipated new collection of rockin’ instrumentals from the Golden Age of American Rock’n’Roll. Compiled by the Pipeline magazine team.
There should be fireworks. Or at least a roll on the drums accompanied by a ringing peal of bells. Yes, after an 18-year hiatus a new volume in Ace’s much-loved “Teen Beat” series is finally here. Relying on the old maxim “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”, we have faithfully adhered to the proven winning mix of top-class classics, hits and rarities, with the odd surprise thrown in for good measur
Rock instrumental classics do not come any greater than Duane Eddy’s ‘Peter Gunn’ or Johnny & the Hurricanes’ ‘Reveille Rock’, which get the compilation off to a flying start. Less well known are the Rondels’ riotous assault on ‘Caldonia’, which rocks like there’s no tomorrow with its stomping beat, driving guitar and raucous sax; ‘All American Surfer’ by the Busters, the equally thrilling follow-up to their great ‘Bust Out’; and the Ramrods’ glorious ‘Night Ride’, a totally authentic wedge of surf – even though the band came from Alabama.
You might not expect to see teen heartthrobs here but we have two. Bobby Darin’s catchy composition ‘Theme From Come September’ was a hit for cover-specialist Billy Vaughan but here you can enjoy Bobby’s much better original version. Could Bobby Vee really have been at the heart of one of the 50s most rockin’ instrumentals? Yup, his band the Shadows (with Bobby on rhythm and brother Bill on lead) produced the meaty ‘Flyin’ High’, making ‘Rubber Ball’ seem a world away.
When it comes to rarities we have two definite aces up our sleeve. Sandy Nelson’s ‘Drum Shack’ is so rare that we were not even sure it really existed until we got the master in our hot little hands, while the Astronauts’ ‘Big Hunk O’ Love’ was issued in 1966 but never got beyond Japanese shores. Other obscurities include the Invaders’ ‘Disc Jockey’, which is as clever as it is calculating (what DJ could resist?); the Mus-Twangs’ rock-up of ‘Frankie And Johnny’ featuring Paul Cotton of Poco when he just wanted to be Duane Eddy; Don Cole’s exhilarating guitar work on ‘Free Flight’; and the Titans’ ‘The Noplace Special’, which is actually a very special place indeed.
Never mind those fireworks, drums and bells – what we really need is a broadside of cannons. BOOM!! “Teen Beat” is back!
DAVE BURKE & ALAN TAYLOR