Various Artists

Lost Treasures! Rarities From the Vaults of Del-Fi

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In the years just prior to the British Invasion, the L.A.-based Del-Fi label was apparently willing to take a chance on almost anything, if the 22 rarities on this CD are any guide. A mixture of very rare singles and unissued material, there ain't no hits to be found here, although bongo player Preston Epps did once have a big hit, "Bongo Rock," for another label. Mostly these are gutsy instrumentals in the R&B, surf, and twist styles, or really strange novelties, the kind from which even Dr. Demento might shy away. If that sounds like a tall order to fill, check out Bob Ridgley's "The Way Out Mummy," the Bedwells' "Karate," or Yo Yo Hashi's "Yo Yo's Pad," the last of which breaks up standard energetic three-chord instrumental vamps with Asian dialog straight out of your basic Hong Kong exploitation movie -- real hitbound stuff, to be sure. Then there's the non-LP B-side by exotica weirdo Eden Ahbez, an instrumental with whacked-out and (for circa 1960) adventurous phasing effects. There are also extremely rare pre-fame appearances by Love's Arthur Lee (as part of the American Four, who offer a sub-Booker T. & the MG's instrumental), and two of the Walker Brothers (who play on the Moongooners' raunchy instrumental, "Moongoon Twist"). These might have been throwaway sessions, but the resulting CD, though certainly geared to a narrow market, isn't a throwaway at all. It's a cool and occasionally glorious reminder of the days when rock & roll indies let the musicians blast away in search of that left-field hit, conventional pop standards of taste and song construction be damned.

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