Hope you all enjoyed Part 1 of my Allentown Finds piece. Now, I've got some cool instrumentals to lay on you:
The Monarcs: Cuckoo (Yucca 45-172)
This 1964 effort comes from a New Mexico label notable as one of the first labels Bobby Fuller recorded for. Long John Hunter also recorded for this label. (Blues fans should seek out Norton's excellent collection of Hunter's Yucca sides, "Ooh-Wee-Pretty-Baby.") Don't know much about the group itself, but I do know this is one swell surf 'n' roll instro. It opens up with some stacatto notes representing the title beast. Then the bass rumbles in and the drummer shifts things into gear. And, of course, you get lots of moody surf guitar twang. Everything charges along at the pace of a road runner being chased by a coyote. Pure instrumental nirvana awaits you on this one, easily one of my very fave pick-ups at Allentown this year.
The Crew: Hot Wire (Brass 45-2900-V)
Let me just start off by saying "WOW!" What a great piece of Link Wray-inspired rockin' boogie! This one goes at you full speed and doesn't stop for nothing. I know what you're saying: oh, no, here we go again! And you know what? You're right. It also chugs along like a train bound for nowhere with chunks of twangy electric guitar mixed in with a rumbling acoustic rhythm guitar, a pounding bass and an insane drum beat all mixed together for a tasty gumbo of a crazed instro bloodbath. Too bad the other side's a stinker called "The Big Junk." It opens with a toilet flushing (literally) and doesn't get any better. Stick with "Hot Wire" and you'll go through life a happy man.
The Mad Ladds: Midnight Terror (Trey 45-300)
More surf 'n' roll mayhem, this time from Ohio. Okay, okay, I know, Ohio's not a surf state. (But then again, they ARE on the shores of Lake Erie....nah, doesn't count.) Whatever the case, this is a decent, moody surf guitar rocker with 135 MPH drumming and lots of stinging guitar twang. What I can't figure out is why this is called "Midnight Terror." The song itself is too upbeat to evoke the images that the title suggests. Maybe they should've called it "Midnight Joyride." Oh well. The B is a straightforward teen cover of Bobby Darin's "Dream Lover" and well, the less said the better. It isn't bad per se, just not too happening either.
The Channels: Earthquake (Mercury 71501x45)
EEEYOWZA!!! This 1959 record's got it all: a swingin' beat, loud, crude guitars and maximum power! Plus, it's got a nice touch of sax that accenuates the guitar parts at crucial moments. And it all ends with a blast of echo, representing the title catastrophe. Don't know anything about this group, but you can't deny that they didn't leave behind a stunner with their sole 45.
The Kelly Four: Guybo (Silver 45-1001)
This rockin'instro is notable for being written by Eddie Cochran and Jerry Capehart, as was its b-side, "Strollin' Guitar." Don't know if their involvement went any further than that, but I will tell you that this one's a swinger. That's really about all I can say about it, except that it's a bit crude and it does charge at you with the required amount of full speed. So, I'd say it's worth a spin or two. Unfortunately, my copy is a worn styrene pressing with a lot of surface noise. Just my luck.
Travis Wammack: Distortion Part 1/I Ain't Lying (ARA 45-209)
Ahh, Travis Wammack, he of the "Scratchy" ways! Wammack's work for Ara and Atlantic has made him one of my very favorite guitarists and this piece helps to demonstrate why. Saying something rocks may be an overused, cliched phrase, but both of these songs do just that. And Wammack simply locks, loads and opens fire, running off an impressive array of wild riffs, incredible stacatto runs and machine-gun solos on his guitar. I wouldn't be too surprised if he had to leave that guitar in a bucket of water when he was done by the way he smokes and scorches on it here and other records. Whenever you see a Travis Wammack 45 on Ara or Atlantic, by all means GET IT!
Willie Mitchell: Crawl Parts 1 and 2 (Hi 45-2044-V)
Here's one from Mr. Mitchell that I don't think I've ever seen before. And while it's not quite as great as such Mitchell classics as "Check Me," "Bad Eye," "Up Hard," "Kitten Korner" and "Ooh Baby (You Sure Turn Me On)", it's still a nifty little shaker in its own right. As with a lot of Mitchell's records, loads of snarling sax heat up the grooves, this time backed up with oodles of pumping piano and a rumbling bass line. The reason I say it's not as great as some of his others is that I think his best ones reach out and grab you, while this one kind of just plods a bit. But even lesser Mitchell is better than the best of a lot of others, and this is still a good one, so you win no matter what.