Compilation producers: Cary E. Mansfield, Steve Massie, Marty Wesker.
Includes liner notes by Bill Dahl.
This is part of Varese Sarabande's "Vintage" series.
Personnel: Dave "Baby" Cortez (vocals, piano); Dave Burgess, Frank Virtue, Duane Eddy, Jimmy Spurill, Skip Mercer, George Tomsco, Don Wilson , Jim Kipler, Dave Yorko, Jimmy Bruno, Link Wray, Lonnie Mack, Richard Podolor, Sid Manker, Tommy Tedesco , Billy Butler, Bob Bogle (guitar); Clifford Scott, Bill Bernal, Mick Kipler, Danny Flores, Johnny Paris, King Curtis (saxophone); Bill Justis (alto saxophone); Ernie Freeman Combo, Kent Morrill, Bruce Johnston (piano); Paul Tesluk, Bill Doggett (organ); Nokie Edwards (electric bass); Earl Palmer , Fran Parda, Sandy Nelson (drums); Preston Epps (bongos); Art Laboe (percussion); The Sharps (background vocals).
Liner Note Author: Bill Dahl.
Director: Bill Justis.
Arranger: Rene Hall.
Perhaps the selection, running order, and packaging aren't perfect. But this is a very good compilation of 25 early instrumental rock & roll hits, all but one originating between the mid-'50s and mid-'60s, containing most of the key hits and performers in the genre. Bill Doggett's "Honky Tonk," Duane Eddy's "Rebel Rouser," Lonnie Mack's "Memphis," Dick Dale's "Misirlou," Bill Justis' "Raunchy," the Champs' "Tequila," the Ventures' "Walk Don't Run," and the Pyramids' "Penetration" are all here, and are all undisputed classics of the style. There are also numerous slightly lesser-known hits that nonetheless deserve a spot on anyone's list of the most exciting and influential instrumentals of the time, like Preston Epps' "Bongo Rock" and Sandy Nelson's "Teen Beat." And for variety if not as top-notch quality, there's B. Bumble & the Stingers' novelty "Bumble Boogie B" and the not-quite-rock of Kokomo's orchestra-with-a-beat "Asia Minor." There's nothing in the way of total obscurities, but it's worth noting that the Busters' pretty tough 1963 number 25 single, "Bust Out," is rarely heard on oldies radio or placed on this kind of anthology; the same goes for the far less exciting Billy Joe & the Checkmates' "Percolator (Twist)," even though the latter tune actually made number ten in 1962. What's to complain about? Just minor things -- Booker T. & the MG's' "Green Onions" would have fit better chronologically than their admittedly excellent 1969 hit "Time Is Tight," and some notable artists and songs (the Surfaris' "Wipe Out," the Chantays' "Pipeline," Santo & Johnny's "Sleep Walk," the Shadows' "Apache") aren't here. But it's a generous scoop of much of the best that early instrumental rock had to offer. ~ Richie Unterberger