The bongo may not have become a dominant instrument in rock and roll, but Preston Epps very nearly made it so. Epps, who recorded for the Original Sounds label, had a Top 20 hit in 1959 with "Bongo Rock", a driving instrumental that spotlighted his frantic hand percussion over drums, bass, and guitar. This overview of his recordings for Original Sound demonstrates his unique style.
1.Bongo In The Congo
4.Doin' The Cha Cha Cha
5.Bongo, Bongo, Bongo
6.bongos In Pastel
7.Call Of The Jungle, Full Version
9.Hully Qully Bongo
Liner Note Author: Mark Marymont.
Besides Sandy Nelson's "Teen Beat," can you name another instrumental rock & roll hit from the '50s that features the drums as its lead instrument? The answer is Preston Epps' "Bongo Rock," which put Epps' frantic bongo-slapping in the Top 15 in 1959. The follow-up single, "Bongo Bongo Bongo," was a minor hit that set Epps' bongo artistry to a lazy boogie beat. Bongo Rock reissues Epps' Top 40 album Bongo Bongo Bongo in its entirety along with a few cuts from singles. Many of the tracks exude a mellow exotica vibe with flutes and, in one case, jungle sound effects, placing the emphasis on the "bongo" rather than the "rock." The disc is just a little over a half-hour in length, which leads one to wonder why Epps' 1963 album, Surfin' Bongos -- which was made for the same label as the rest of the material here -- wasn't included. ~ Greg Adams