Various Artists

Strictly Instrumental, Vol. 6

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This is the sixth volume in German label Buffalo Bop's instrumental rarity series, and it follows the template of the earlier releases, featuring mostly obscure R&B and surf combos from the mid-'60s. A lot of these bands never got past having a regional single or two, and the sheer rarity of these tracks is the biggest part of their charm, since most of these cuts are rote guitar and/or saxophone workouts played over fairly generic blues progressions. All of this leads to a mind-numbing sameness in tone if you listen to the album in sequence, but there are several highlights, including some speedy guitar work (more Chet Atkins than Dick Dale) on "Rocking" by the Darts, the utterly bizarre soundscape of "Midnight And Paul Revere" by the Red Coats, and the sheer, ragged charm of "One Armed Bandit" by the Nevegans. Two other intriguing tracks here are "Tinkel Bones," by the Tree Tops, which adds wordless doo wop vocals to the mix, and the baffling "Clumsy Dragon," by the Five Sounds, which verges on noise rock. If you like this sort of thing, then Volume Six is a treasure trove of valuable rarities, but if you don't, or are only mildly interested in instrumental combos from the 1960s, then this collection will literally rock you to sleep.

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