Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Frantics -- Complete

The frantics
The Complete Frantics on Dolton (2004) could be the only necessary 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. Lindsay Planer

Werewolf is the howler!!!!

1. Straight Flush 2. Young Blues 3. Fog Cutter 4. Black Sapphire 5. Werewolf 6. Checkerboard 7. No Werewolf 8. The Whip 9. Delilah 10. Yankee Doodlin' 11. One Minute Of Flamenco (For Two Minutes) 12. San Antonio Rose 13. Trees 14. Oh Yeah! 15. Walkin' The Beat 16. Richmond Stomp 17. Ventura Blvd. 18. Dirty Robber 19. Sweet Cucumber 20. Hold It 21. Lost Loland 22. Mio Amore 23. Letter From Jennie 24. Love Of My Life 25. Don's Tune 26. Lost Love




Unknown said...

Werewolf has got to be one of the all-time great instros, yet one of the least known. My dad used to play the Ventures version when I was but a lad and scarred the hell out of me.

DaBoss said...

Agreed. I heard it on a comp of NW bands over 30 years ago and couldn't get it out of my head. Still incredibly chilling and haunting. Have heard a few covers of it, and the original still gets the heads up as the best for me. What I think is really sneaky is that the Ventures covered the "No Werewolf" version on their Ventures in Space album as "Fourth Dimension". Talk about the Frantics getting no respect! The Rumblers and the Revels are also from the same era, both killer instro groups, both very underappreciated. Might have to address that in the near future. Keep listening and thanks for checking in -- as Brandonio said -- it's gettin' lonely out here. Comments are always appreciated.

Brandonio! said...

The Rumblers are one my favorite instro bands from the 60's. Great songwriting.

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