The Flee Rekkers

Green Jeans: The Flee Rekkers Anthology

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Given how much of the music Joe Meek produced has been exhumed, reissued and remastered since the early '90s, it's a little surprising that it took this long to get a definitive Fabulous Flee Rekkers collection. The 1997 Fabulous Flee Rekkers CD gathered most of the band's officially released material, but leave it to Castle, who also released the thorough Heinz compilation Just Like Eddie, to come up with "Green Jeans," the Flee Rekkers anthology to end all others. While the Fabulous Flee Rekkers weren't as distinctive as the Tornados, who were responsible for the classic "Telstar" and were one of the other main instrumental rock bands that Meek produced, they worked well as a U.K. equivalent to Duane Eddy, Santo & Johnny, the Champs, the Hurricanes and the rest of the bumper crop of U.S. instrumental rock bands of the '50s and early '60s. The Fabulous Flee Rekkers never made any bones about being heavily influenced by those acts; they were even called "the Statesiders" in an earlier incarnation, and the first demo they recorded (included at the end of "Green Jeans") features their versions of the Hurricanes' B-side "Buckeye," and the Champs' "El Rancho Rock." In particular, the Champs' perky guitars and buzzing sax were a major influence on the Flee Rekkers' sound, especially since they had not one but two saxophonists. "Bitter Rice" and the previously unreleased "Cerveza" are charming "Tequila" wannabes. Likewise, "Sunburst" is a fun rewrite of Eddy's "Rebel Rouser," and the Flee Rekkers do Santo & Johnny's flamboyantly Western "Stage to Cimarron" proud. The band also did clever, sock hop-ready versions of traditional tunes, some of which are well known (even so, it takes a moment to place "Green Jeans" as "Greensleeves" and "Shiftless Sam" as "Drunken Sailor"), others less so ("Miller Like Wow!" is a strangely dour yet sprightly track based on "Miller of Dee," a traditional song from Northwest England). The Flee Rekkers also had a line in being the backing band to Meek's vocal protégés, such as reluctant teen idol turned bodybuilding champ Ricky Wayne, whose Buddy Holly-emulating "Chick A'Roo" is one of Green Jeans' standouts. Another is "Sunday Date," a sweet, shimmery, guitar driven piece written by guitarist Dave "Tex" Cameron that was used in the soundtrack to the film London Nights; elsewhere, Green Jeans nods to the theatrical quality of a lot of the era's instrumental rock with "Fireball XL5," the theme song to the 1962 sci-fi puppet TV series, and "It's a Triumph!" a jingle for Joe Meek's Radio Luxembourg show. While the Flee Rekkers were more on the novelty side of the artists that Meek worked with, the band put their own, very enjoyable, spin on the sounds of their time. Green Jeans is fabulous not only for Meekophiles, but for fans of '50s and '60s instrumental rock in general.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1
2:26
2
2:34
3
1:52
4
1:59
5
0:39
6
2:54
7
2:01
8
1:55
9 3:23
10
2:23
11
2:35
12 2:13
13
1:47
14
2:04
15
2:34
16
3:20
17
2:27
18
1:55
19
2:19
20
2:21
21
1:53
22
2:07
23
2:34
24
1:58
25
3:06
26
2:26
27
2:08
28 2:16
29
2:36
30
2:42
31
2:36
32 3:29
blue highlight denotes track pick