The Rumblers

It's a Gas

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The Rumblers only had one hit (the 1962 instrumental "Boss," which rose to around the middle of the Top 100 and was a big smash in parts of Southern California), but recorded quite a bit for the Downey label in the next couple of years. This 28-track CD is likely the most thorough single-disc compilation that could be produced for the group, including numerous 1962-1965 singles; cuts that appeared only on their LP; four previously unreleased sides; a number recorded under the name Bel Cantos; and a 1967 single by a later version of the band, the Interns. Playing mostly instrumentals (though they did some vocal tunes as well), the Rumblers were sometimes lumped in with the surf scene due to their Los Angeles suburban base and sharing a label with the Chantays (famous for the surf instrumental hit "Pipeline"). They nonetheless thought of themselves more as an R&B-oriented straight-out rock & roll group, but the material on this compilation does have some surf flavor in the twangy, echoey guitar tones and frequent cool propulsive rhythms. At their heart they were a fairly typical early-'60s instrumental rock combo, however, including sax as well as guitar. The workouts on this anthology are on the basic side melodically, and likely to appeal primarily to surf/instrumental enthusiasts rather than more general rock & roll fans, who might be satisfied with sampling "Boss" on various-artist compilations. Still, the Rumblers were above average, if not hugely so, than the usual such instrumental-oriented outfit, playing with more gritty raunch than the typical such band. A young Barry White helped out with some of the recordings, and the Interns single (issued on Uptown) found them moving into Yardbirds-influenced rock on the minor-key "And I'm Glad" and Paul Revere-ish garage pop on its flip, "Hard to Get." The 20-page booklet is most impressive, with rare vintage graphics; extensive liners based around interviews with bandmembers; and a few appreciative paragraphs from the Blasters' Dave Alvin, who like the Rumblers grew up in the Los Angeles suburb of Downey.