30 instrumentals from the late '50s and early '60s, the era when instrumental rock was at its peak. Most of these were hits, though a few of them didn't make the Top 20, and some didn't even make the Top 100. Hence the selections are often more obscure than what you'll find on Rhino's Rock Instrumentals series. The Rhino series, however, remains not only a much better introduction to this nifty genre, but considerably higher in overall quality. The best songs on Teen Beat are often on the Rhino series as well (the Ventures' "Walk Don't Run," Preston Epps' "Bongo Rock," Link Wray's "Rumble"); the lesser-known ones, though a boon to collectors, simply aren't as good or imaginative. It's a serviceable supplement, though, if you're looking for more of the style, and the best cuts are certainly dynamite.
LINK: VOLUME 1
This digs way deeper into the cobwebs of history than the first volume of the series. Although a few of these were big hits, over half of the 30 tracks didn't even make it into the Top 100. That doesn't mean they should be dismissed. But in the case of these selections at least, they're simply not nearly as memorable as the best early rock & roll instrumentals, whether hits or flops. There are some nifty highlights, like two raw, bluesy '61 cuts by a young Roy Buchanan, uncommonly rocking items by Chet Atkins, and the early Danelectro bass workout by the Fireballs ("Carioca"). But a lot of these are standard-issue three-chord instrumentals by no-names like the Atmospheres, or forgettable flop followups by one-hit wonders like Dave Cortez, Floyd Cramer, and the Champs. The energy level is always high, but that in itself isn't a high recommendation, although devotees of instrumental rock will certainly find a lot of cuts here that are hard to locate on CD.
LINK: VOLUME 2