Manuel & the Renegades Rev-Up 45 (Piper, 1963)
Cheerful Earfuls The Drag - Number One 45 (Stepheny, 1960?)
I can't think of any genre of rock & roll that has spun off as many absurd subgenres as 60's surf instrumentals. Yeah, the fact that punk rock is responsible for ska punk, emo, mosh metal, NYHC, and funk metal makes it rock & rolls biggest abortion provider, but inspiring morons to rawk is not quite the same as being an incubator of absurdity. From surf music's loins popped snow skiing music, water skiing music (home of Duane Eddy's worst record - Water Skiing - a classic!), slot car music, motorcycle music, and hot rod music. Who cares if the only difference between the subgenres is what sound effect is featured in the song, what matters is that the sound effect is there.
Manuel & the Renegades start Rev-Up with a great grunted "Rev-Up" and a smart rev of a motorcycle. A Wipe-Out style drum intro follows and we are off into a great jam and some cool picking, accented, of course, by more sound effects! By the name of the band leader (Manuel), the songwriter (Rodrigues), and the publishing company (Noneca), I am gonna guess that Manuel & the Renegades were part of the great Chicano instrumental rock & roll scene that called Los Angeles home. (A fantastic vinyl comp of Chicano instros is Original Surfin' Hits released by GNP-Cresendo in the 1960s and still in print at the turn of the century.)
Do vocals count as sound effects? When they are in an instrumental song and I am trying to stretch the definition of "sound effects" while doing a write up they sure do. Evanston, Illinois' Cheerful Earfuls make some great Duane Eddy-inspired noise - a very cool stroll, which, I think is trying to create the mood of the drag strip. Sure. The Drag has a great groove and an even better guitar. A Stepheny Records discography states that Stepheny went out of business in 1960, so I will peg the date of this pup there, something that would make it pre-date surf-inspired hot rod music. Hmmm maybe this is the first hot rod themed instrumental. Then again The Drag might be the name of a dance. For my sake and to hold the theme of this post together, let's go along with what I just wrote and listen to the songs. Okay?
The Cheerful Earfuls thing is great for the guitar alone.
For the record, Manuel & The Renegades weren't part of the LA Chicano scene. We were all from the Ontario/Chino area in SoCal's San Bernardino County. Manny (vocals, guitar) and Johnny (Manny's cousin, rhythm guitar) were Portuguese. The rest of us (Corky on drums, Roger on Bass and me on sax) were just white guys!
Cinnamon Cinder, Rainbow Gardens
in Pomona every Friday Night where so many stars were born and performed. I knew the guys in this band. They were well known in So Cal. Yes, they were from Chino, and so was I. Manual and I, well lets just say it didn't work out. We were all so young,and free. d.
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