Various Artists

Telstar! Instrumental Diamonds '58-'77

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As its title indicates, this two-disc set from the U.K.'s Castle imprint features instrumental rock from the genre's early-'60s heyday through 1977. Obviously, the Tornados' "Telstar" is the centerpiece. It was the most popular side to come out of the scene, and remains the most resonant -- Joe Meek's fantastical production is still crazy and unique. All of the Tornados' Decca singles are here, including "Jungle Fever" and "Love and Fury." Instrumental Diamonds is pretty U.K.-centric; for example, it begins not with the Champs' "Tequila," but with a cover of the definitive track by the Bill Shepherd Orchestra. Likewise, you won't find anything by heavyweights like the Ventures or the surf sounds of Link Wray (barring the Eliminators' weird, spy guitar version of "Wipeout" and moody take on "Pipeline"). Instead, the set concentrates on the light pop sound typical of the U.K. at the time. Essentially, it's that finger-snappin' cocktail sound associated with swanky bachelor pads or stag film soundtracks. Cherry Wainer's "Iced Coffee" features a ballpark organ trading licks with a guitar over a loping, Mancini-inspired beat, while the Organisers turn in the bump 'n' grind of "Lonesome Road." There are themes to British shows like The Thunderbirds and Z Cars, a nice Spanish-influenced section highlighted by the Eagles' "Lonely Bull," and one of the best-named songs ever by a band with one of the coolest names, "I Wish I Could Jerk Like My Uncle Cyril" by Timebox. The track has a nice, jammy R&B feel, complete with rowdy voices yelling things like "Nice man nice!" and "Go baby go!" There's even the requisite instrumental runthrough of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction." Instrumental Diamonds might not have the most hits, but it's consistently entertaining and keeps its mood constant, making it worthy of your next cocktail nation shindig.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 2:15
2 2:54
3 2:21
4
1:34
5 2:45
6 2:35
7 1:45
8
2:26
9 3:13
10
2:09
11
2:42
12
2:53
13 2:33
14
3:26
15 2:10
16 2:08
17
2:08
18 3:18
19 3:18
20
1:56
21 2:30
22 2:24
23
3:05
24 2:57
25 2:03
26
3:08
27 3:05
28 1:40
29 2:43
30 3:58
blue highlight denotes track pick