The Routers were less of an organic band as they were an aggregate of studio stalwarts under the direction of producer Joe Saraceno. Although his name might not instantly recall his previous pop rock acclaim, by the time he'd commenced the Routers project, Saraceno's success included the "Freeze" -- which had spawned a minor dance craze of the same name -- as well as co-collaborator on another primarily instrumentally-based combo called the Marketts. Partner Mike Gordon -- who owned a string of music publishing companies -- was the band's guitarist as well as the impetus to form a real group to tour behind the Routers moniker. This occurred circa late '62/early '63 after the single "Let's Go" became an unqualified smash, charting as high as the Top Twenty. On the 1963's Great Instrumental Hits a collection of seasoned session musicians including Hal Blaine (drums), Leon Russell (keyboards) and Tommy Tedesco (guitar) gathered to re-record recent chart-toppers and teen oriented pop hits -- many of whom had also worked on the originals. The album features a dozen such tracks ranging from the folkie "Washington Square" to full blown rockers such as Chuck Berry's "Memphis" -- which was a hit for burgeoning blues guitarist Lonnie Mack. There are also a number of reworked tracks that had began their lives as instrumentals. Prime examples are the west coast surf smashes "Wipe Out" and "Pipeline"." Particular stand out performances include a driving yakety sax-driven reading of the Rebels' "Wild Weekend" and bouncy R&B influenced "Watermelon Man" -- which arguably bests the Mongo Santamaria original. Enthusiasts of the arguably generic sounds that drove AM radio in the days of pre-Beatle pop music will undoubtedly revel in not only this, but all Routers' LPs -- many of which have been resurrected on CD by Collectors' Choice Music.
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer