Great British Rock'n'Roll Instrumentals - Just About As Good As It Gets!
Smith & Co
Showing for the largest part of many dark nights untill the Telstar to(ta)lled that Britain should have kept it's mouth shut as a fair proportion of these instrumentals are stackable alongside the States-ilk of the times. While many have the usual verging on greying verdigris in comparison to their largely sun-dappled cousins and maybe not quite as unbridled, there's plenty of gusto, freedom and abandon missing in a lot of the early vocal tracks, an obvious case of being uncomfortable with the source material. Here though music does what music is and vice versa and allows the slurry to slink out in smock-straying, cocktail shaking, spy-stalking, peremptory map-reading, umbrella S&M session style, whatever lather is the theme of your retro kitten kitsch dinner party. Though, as this covers '49-'59 there's still an adundance of Thames-tense, exasperatingly ersatz jazz-tradders trading as new-fadders lacking any natural rockin ruckus that their Americano compadres chucked away with whole counties of apple-carts and still had in continental-sized spades, swaying like quivering arrows barely scratching marks that couldn't scare Bill & Ben and seem for all the world to be out-takes for Playschool soundtracks and stern-faced matron cooks a crumble. No wonder some of these guys sound scared, not jumping with post-war shackle-shaking. So there's mucho watered-down-in-need-of a whisk & some sort of fry-up, or fly-down, endless nameless doing not-as-listless-as-expected versions of Peter Gunn, Reveille Rock, Rebel Rouser, Tequila (did we even have Tequila in 1950-plonk??) and the like. That'll still pass pleasingly by as incidentally as the more mundane Maidstone-Dixon dinner skiffle that proliferates at times, as the tremelo tornadoes & cattle-train cat-calls that filter through like The Sleepwalkers Golden Mile, Bert Weedon's Lonely Guitar, The Shadows' Bongo Blues and the bonkersly Beefheart quack-sax vibrant tonic trumps of Son of Honky Tonk by The Ted Taylor Four - all make your money itch in your wallets and dust rustle like the Navajo in NW3 and there's some skiffly slink such as the gypsy-tinged jazz-jaunt of the Bob Cort Skiffle's Bouncing Around, rag-time romps, boogie-woogie bluster, Missus-suppin' steamship cruisers and space-rock contenders (notably the reverb-addled preter-Thunders skidfrettlin of Victor Silvester's Society Rock) plus a hilarious meets haunting Hawaiian howlaround take on Blue Moon that is The Sleepwalkers Sleepwalk. Of note are the pre-Shadows Drifters with Driftin' and Jet Black - succinctly demonstrations of Hank Marvin's original gifts, though not excuses for subsequent safe-zone insincerities, though likewise (sort of) Mr Crowley does not pardon Kelly. Quaint if not cobbled and respectfully, eloquently crumpled - all in all, the one to go for so far out of the British side of these masterly crafted compilations.