The Complete Frantics on Dolton (2004) could be the only necessary CD compendium of the instrumental combo that surfaced in Seattle circa the late 1950s/early 1960s. The reason being, the compilation contains their entire output for the regional indie Dolton Records. Of the 26 selections found here, half are previously unreleased. Although their labelmates, the Ventures became known for their surf guitar antics, the quintet of Ron Petersen (guitar), Charlie Schoning (keyboards), Bob Hosko (sax), Jim Manolides (bass), Don Fulton (drums), and Manolides' replacement Jeno Landis (bass) rose to significance boasting a wider spectrum of styles. That said, the Frantics never came anywhere close to matching the Ventures' longevity or success. Prior to cutting their first single, the ambling mid-tempo "Straight Flush," backed with the languid and moody "Young Blues," the band gained their audience by good ol' fashioned touring in the Pacific Northwest. The platter made it as high as number 91, and the Frantics followed it up with the bouncy boogie "Fog Cutter" (number 93) and the noir and downright creepy "Werewolf" (number 83) -- which was also issued without audible howls and growls as "No Werewolf." They stretched out their sound with "The Whip," an aggressive, edgy rocker that is punctuated throughout with the whir and crack of a real whip. Conversely, the beautiful "Delilah" boasts a shimmering Polynesian vibraphone that wafts over the exotica-tinged tune. The Frantics concluded their run on Dolton with a cover of Bob Wills' "Antonio Rose" and the airy ballad "Trees." In most cases, the bevy of unissued sides are as appealing as those that made it on to one of their half-dozen 45s. Standouts include a sly nod to the Ventures' "Walk, Don't Run" on "Ventura Blvd.," the R&B-infused "Dirty Robber," and the affective "Lost Loland," featuring an interesting tremolo effect from Petersen and a melodic lead from Manolides. Kudos to Collectors' Choice Music for offering up this copious and recommended collection.
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AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer