Various Artists

Golden Crest Instrumentals: Wailin' Featuring the Wailers

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The Golden Crest label of Long Island, NY is most known for issuing the Wailers' instrumental hit "Tall Cool One" in the late '50s -- an admittedly modest credential. From the late '50s to the British Invasion, however, it and its affiliated Shelley label issued plenty of basic, raunchy instrumental sides by the Wailers and various other combos. Thirty of those productions are on this compilation, some previously unissued (there is also a stray cover of "Wipe Out" from 1971 by Billy and Gary Mure). Just because most of the Golden Crest instrumentals were rawer than much rock & roll of the period, it doesn't necessarily follow that they were that interesting. These are simple vamps, usually with growly sax and guitars, very suitable for mood music if employed as a soundtrack for a set-in-1960 movie, but kind of dull to listen to all at once. Wailers fans will want to note the inclusion of six tracks, among them four from a previously unissued 1958 session (two of which are early versions of "Tall Cool One"). Little Jerry Williams, later to become known as Swamp Dogg, shows up with two previously unissued early-'60s sides. The ears perk up more than usual on several tracks with silly novelty yells, like Lord Dent & the Invaders' "Wolf Call," Baby Sticks & the Kingtones' "Pigmy," and Williams' "Jerry's Monkey."

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