Jan 3, 2009
HAL BLAINE & THE YOUNG COUGARS - DEUCES,"T's",ROADSTERS & DRUMS ###### (RCA VICTOR 1963) Japan mastering cardboard sleeve + 12(!) bonus
Hal Blaine was one of the most innovative and gifted session drummers ever to come down the pike, at least the pike that was the L.A. studio scene in the '60s and '70s. Being a talented man with friends in high places, it was perhaps only natural that he managed to record a solo album or two. However, his career as a highly used session drummer and percussionist didn't leave him a whole lot of time to develop as a songwriter or singer, so it's not surprising that his solo albums are nothing to write home about, including this one. Deuces, "T's," Roadsters & Drums is the better of the two albums Blaine recorded, and it also contains the most original material. The songs are solid surf instrumentals that Blaine mostly co-wrote with album producer Lee Hazlewood, no slouch himself in the surf music composing department. In this case, the surf genre appears in the guise of the car genre, and every song on the main portion of the disc is preceded by loud drag-racing sound effects taken from the RCA library. Bad move -- the music would be much more listenable without them. It's jaunty, catchy stuff, if not terribly memorable. Blaine's percussion work lends a touch of exotica to the surf-and-drag twang of the guitars. The album sounds at times like a cross between Duane Eddy and Martin Denny. There are also 12 bonus tracks recorded at a different session, and they're better than many of the main album tracks. There's an R&B flavor to the latter part of the CD, with a female vocal chorus on some of the songs. And at least the extra tracks are free of car-racing sound effects...