Producer Norman Petty may have been a freakin' a-hole, but he helped a number of West Texas musicians get their sounds onto record. From seminal rock-gods like Buddy Holly and Roy Orbison to "who's that?" folks like Terry Noland and "Peanuts" Wilson, Southwestern rock 'n' roll owes a tip of the Hatlo hat to Petty's precise, sympathetic production work.
The Fireballs were the best guitar instrumental group in US rock 'n' roll. [We are talking non-surf guitar groups, lest some beach-nuts jump my baggies for this statement.]
The Fireballs were built around the harmonic, tough, deft and soulful pickin' of leader George Tomsco. Tomsco is one of the best rock guitarists, IMHO. His is an instantly recognizable sound, equally full of subtlety and fire. He wrote much of the group's repertoire, and despite a swinging-door policy that reduced the group, at one point, from quintet to trio, Tomsco's musical vision saw the group through many changes with grace.
This disc is a spot-on compilation of the Fireballs' best work with Petty. There are a couple of gems missing, of course. Ace had several other Fireballs discs out in the 1990s, including a fabulous disc containing the unissued 1961 LP BLUE FIRE plus about a dozen rare/unissued/alternate tracks. A promised second volume never surfaced. They also put out two two-fers containing the band's four major LPs. Also well worth the search is GEORGE TOMSCO: THE TEX-MEX FIREBALL, a groovin' 30-track tour of obscure Tex-Mex rockers and instrumentals featuring the guitarist's touch, from a track by R&B cult hero Arthur Alexander to a couple of 1995 instros.
If you like guitar instrumentals, you will have kittens repeatedly whilst listening to this disc. Choice tracks such as PEG LEG, FIREBALL (a super minor-key gem), YACKY DOO, VAQUERO, NEARLY SUNRISE, et al, will guide you to guitar heaven!
The disc has good, informative liner notes by Trev Faull, augmented by some cool vintage photos and memorabilia.
I believe this disc is out of print by now. Don't hesitate to acquire it. You'll never be able to stomach the Ventures again after hearing a truly class act like the Fireballs!