Teen Beat Volume 6.

Label: Ace Records.

When a new compilation series is launched, the compiler and record company always hope that this is the start of a long running and successful series. That was the case when Ace Records released Teen Beat-30 Great Rockin’ Instrumentals in September 1993. Nearly twenty-five years later, and Ace Records released Teen Beat Volume 6 in January 2018, which is the first instalment in eighteen years.

It was back in July 2000 when Ace Records released Teen Beat Volume 5 to plaudits and praise. Since then, fans of this popular compilation series have waited patiently for the next instalment of this much-loved series. Some doubters thought that there was as much chance of a new instalment in the Teen Beat series being released as Glen Miller landing his plane safely and wondering what all the fuss was about? Thankfully, the doubters have been proved wrong with the recent released Teen Beat Volume 6, which marks the welcome return of this hugely popular series that has focused on the oft-overlooked world of instrumentals for a quarter of a century. 

Just like on previous volumes, Dave Burke and Alan Taylor of Pipeline magazine stick to what has been a winning formula on Teen Beat Volume 6, and combine classics, hits, rarities and sometimes, throw a curveball or spring a surprise. This is what they’ve done on the five previous volumes. It’s definitely a case of you don’t change a winning formula.

Teen Beat Volume 6 features twenty-six tracks from familiar faces who enjoyed long and successful careers to what will be new names to many people. There’s instrumentals by Duane Eddy, His ‘Twangy’ Guitar and The Rebels, Johnny and The Hurricanes, The Rondels, The Titans, The Ramrods, Bobby Darin and His Orchestra, The Mus-Twangs, The Frantics, Chet Atkins, The Invaders, King Curtis and The Noble Knights, Don Cole and The Ventures who contribute two tracks. These are just some of the artists that feature on Teen Beat Volume 6,  which marks the comeback of a compilation series that has been much missed for nearly eighteen years.

Duane Eddy, His Twangy Guitar and The Rebels open Teen Beat Volume 6 with a cover of the Henry Mancini composition Peter Gunn.  It was produced by Lee Hazelwood and Lester Sill and was released on the Jamie label in July 1959, reaching number six in the UK and twenty-seven in the US Billboard 100. Later, in 1959, featured on the album Especially For You which reached number six in the UK and twenty-four in the US Billboard 100. Nowadays, Peter Gunn is regarded as a classic rock instrumental, and is the perfect way to open the compilation.

The best way to follow a classic rock instrumental is with another. This time, it’s Reveille Rock which was released by Johnny and The Hurricanes in 1959. By then, they were well on their way to becoming one of the most successful instrumental bands of the late-fifties early sixties, eventually chalking up nine singles in the US Billboard 100. Reveille Rock released in America in October 1959 reached and twenty-five in the Billboard 100 and seventeen in the US R&B charts. Across the Atlantic, the single reached fourteen in the UK, nearly sixty years later is regarded as a classic instrumental.

Way before Bobby Vee became a teen idol, received six gold discs he recorded one of the greatest instrumentals released in the late-fifties, Flyin’ High. It was recorded by Bobby Vee And The Shadows in Minneapolis, and released on the recording studio’s in-house label Sona in 1959. Not long after the its release, Flyin’ High was picked up by Liberty, and reissued in August 1959. Sadly, this memorable and oft-overlooked hard rocking instrumental stalled at a lowly seventy-seven in the US Billboard 100, and before long, Bobby Vee had embarked upon a successful solo career. However, this hard rocking instrumental of the late-fifties, Flyin’ High, shows a very different side to Bobby Vee.

Although Massachusetts is better known as the state where basketball and volleyball were invented in the nineteenth century, in October 1963, The Busters from Greenfield, released a stunning surf instrumental All American Surfer on the Philly based Arlen label. All American Surfer was The Busters’ sophomore single, and the followup to Bust Out which had been released in August 1963. Sadly, neither single troubled the charts, and The Busters only ever released another three singles over the next ten years. However, All American Surfer which is exhilarating hidden surf gem is by far The Busters finest hour, and a welcome addition to Teen Beat Volume 6.

The same can be said of The Ramrods from Alabama, who released the surf single Night Ride in 1963. This was The Ramrods sophomore single, which was released on the R and H label. It’s a A Rick Hall Production and the late, great producer is partly responsible for crafting the track’s authentic surf sound. However, Night Ride doesn’t have as full-on a sound as The Busters’ All American Surfer, but still epitomises the surf sound.

In July 1960, The Shadows released their cover of Bert Weedon’s Apache, which showcased Hank Marvin’s distinctive guitar playing. The Shadows cover of Apache topped the UK, Ireland, New Zealand and South African charts and was a hit all over Europe and as far afield as Australia. One of the few places Apache failed to chart was in America. Despite that, Jorgen Ingmann and His Guitar released his cover of the classic instrumental on Atco in November 1960. This lovingly honed homage to The Shadows classic instrumental reached number two in the US Billboard 100 and nine in the US R&B charts and topped the Canadian charts.

Many people remember Bobby Darin as a great vocalist. However, he was also a talented arranger, musician and composer. Proof of this is the Theme From “Come September” which was released by Bobby Darin and His Orchestra in 1961. Bobby Darin’s guitar plays a leading role in the cinematic sounding title-track to Theme From “Come September” where the singer enjoyed an acting role in this romantic comedy. However, while his guitar played a leading role in Theme From “Come September,” Bobby Darin’s played just a supporting role in the film.

At least 256 artists have covered Frankie and Johnny, including  Big Bill Broonzy, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley, Stevie Wonder, Van Morrison and actress and sometime singer Lindsay Lohan. However, nobody has recorded Frankie and Johnny like The Mus-Twangs. It was released on Smash in 1961, features a fleet fingered blistering guitar and wailing saxophone. By doing this, The Mus-Twangs reinvented Frankie and Johnny and took this oft-covered and familiar tracks and managed to totally transform it.

Teddy And The Rough Riders from Drayton, Ohio released Path Finder on the Huron label in June 1961. By then, they had been playing locally for three years and had already released their debut single Tomahawk in November 1960. Tomahawk failed to make any impression on the charts, and it was a similar case when Path Finder was released. Forty-seven years later and Path Finder, which is a rollicking hidden gem makes a welcome return on Teen Beat Volume 6, and is a reminder of what Teddy And The Rough Riders were capable of.

In September 1966, guitarist Travis Wammack released the explosive Have You Ever Had The Blue on Atlantic Records. This was his third single for the label after he left Tennessee ARA. Have You Ever Had The Blue was also Travis Wammack’s finest moment as he unleashed a fleet-fingered guitar masterclass while brassy horns augmented the driving rhythm section. Sadly, commercial success eluded the single, which is a reminder of a truly talented guitarist who later,  enjoyed four hit singles and for a while was producer Rick Hall’s go-to-guitarist. 

As drummers go, Sandy Nelson was one of the best, who released over thirty singles during the sixties. Despite that, there’s still unreleased Sandy Nelson tracks in the vaults. This includes Drum Shack, which makes its debut on Teen Beat Volume 6 was drum shack. It’s not only a reminder of why Sandy Nelson is regarded as one of the greatest drummers of his generation, but one of the rarest tracks on the compilation. Indeed, nobody was sure the track even existed until the maser tapes arrived at Ace Records’ headquarters. However, after only one play everyone realised that discovering Drum Shack was akin to striking musical gold.

Six years after releasing their debut single, The Astronauts released their cover of Heartbreak Hotel as a single on Victor in Japan in March 1966. Tucked away on the B-Side was a cover version of Big Hunk O Love. Sadly, the single was only released in Japan, and record buyers in Britain and America didn’t discover the delights of The Astronauts’ latest single and especially the B-Side Big Hunk O Love. It  was another carefully crafted guitar instrumental from The Astronauts who had been formed at Boulder High School, in Colorado in 1956, and ten years later, were one of the top surf bands in Japan.

One of the most successful surf bands in Japan in 1962 were The Ventures, who released The 2000 Pound Bee (Pt 1) as a single on Dolton. On the B-Side was The 2000 Pound Bee (Pt 2) which closes Teen Beat Beat Volume 6. Both sides were written by new Dan Wilson and new drummer Mel Taylor who showcases his considerable skills. However, it’s the fuzzy guitar that played an important part in The Ventures’ now trademark fuzzy guitar sound, as they became one of the most successful surf bands in America, Britain and Japan. A reminder of that can be found on The 2000 Pound Bee (Pt 1) and The 2000 Pound Bee (Pt 2) which closes Teen Beat Volume 6 on a resounding high. 

After an eighteen year wait, the latest instalment in the Teen Beat series was released by Ace Records. This was Teen Beat Volume 6 which is another lovingly curated compilation of instrumentals. They’re a mixture of classics, hit singles, hidden gems, rarities and obscurities from familiar faces and new names. They released the majority of these tracks between 1958 and 1966, apart from Sandy Nelson’s Drum Shack which has lain unreleased until the release of Teen Beat Volume 6. It’s one of several hidden gems on Teen Beat Volume 6 which was released by Ace Records and marks the comeback of this long-running and successful compilation series. Just like on previous volumes in the series, it’s another case of all killer and no filler on Teen Beat Volume 6.

Teen Beat Volume 6.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: