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Teisco Del Rey "The Many Moods of Teisco Del Ray" Texicalli Records

August 12, 1993|JIM WASHBURN

Trolls and Rat Finks have made a comeback. Can mood rings be far behind? And while we're at it, whatever happened to the rock instrumental?

Back in the '50s and '60s, ripping instrumentals by Duane Eddy, Link Wray, the Ventures and others routinely topped the charts. On Austin, Tex., guitarist Teisco Del Rey's ultra-cool album there are 12 "tuff" reasons why they should still be ruling.

The mood-ringed Del Rey took his name from a '60s brand of cheap guitar, a subject, among others, upon which he expertly expounds in Guitar Player magazine, for which he writes regularly. On his album, the writer puts his monkey where his mouth is, so to speak, applying a primal passion and a wicked array of tones to covers and originals that make up a smoking smorgasbord of styles.

"Camel Walk" is a manic blend of tremeloed guitars and barfing sax, played by none other than Clifford (Honky Tonk) Scott. "Teisco Redentor" is a remake of the '60s Harvey Mandel staple "Christo Redentor," but played on a Guitorgan, a rare and ill-considered hybrid of guitar and organ that sounds at once eerie and cheesy in Teisco's hands. There also is a generous helping of Charlie Musselwhite's harp on the number.

He and Scott are but two of several well-picked sidemen on the album. Along with Teisco's fervent 12-string guitar, Texas psycho-rocker Roky Erickson's "You're Gonna Miss Me" is sent spaceward by John Mellencamp guitarist David Grissom's rampaging solo.

Jimmie Vaughan and the original Fabulous Thunderbirds rhythm section join up for John Lee Hooker's "Dimples," on which Teisco's terse leads are a perfect complement to Vaughan's spare "just the facts, ma'am" style. The resulting groove is greasier than Slim Harpo's pillow.

Teisco's surf instrumentals similarly enlist some of the original saltwater showmen.

Ventures' drummer Mel Taylor, Bel-airs' leader Paul Johnson and ex-Deltone Steve Soest underpin Teisco's twang-toned leads on Johnson's "Small Fry" and Dick Dale's "The Wedge," which he attacks with a flippant whimsy, if not all the drive of Dale's assault.

The guitarist also gives ample space to the other great voice of instrumental rock, the saxophone. Along with Scott's sax, the recently departed great Steve Douglas (who played on Duane Eddy's records and oodles of other hits) lends his rich tenor tone to "I Almost Lost My Mind," which also features O.C. blues guitarist Junior Watson.

Teisco's album, curiously, is a runaway hit in Finland. It's not quite so widely available stateside, though you can turn it up locally at Soest Guitar Repair, 760 N. Main St., in Orange. It also can be ordered by mail for $15 (postage included) from Box 33331, Austin, Tex., 78764-0331. Make checks payable to Dan Forte, who doesn't want you to know that he's really Del Ray.

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