11 >Kid Ramos, "Cold Chicken and Beer." How did Albert Collins manage to come back from the dead and play on this tune? It ain't the Iceman, it's Kid Ramos, who can invoke the sound, style and spirit of virtually any great blues guitarist you can name. Here, he jumps it up with a snazzy, jazzy instrumental, featuring a tight-assed horn section and Dave Mathews (no, not that one) making like Jimmy McGriff on the B3.
12 >Rascalin & the Roots Rockers, "Lyin' Eyes." Melodic roots-reggae, masterfully arranged and executed by San Clemente-based Rascalin's 12-piece band. Horns punch smartly, guitars chunk insistently, voices harmonize sweetly, and percussion and bass carve a well-deep groove. It all skanks my pickle quite nicely, thank you.
13 >Lee Rocker, "Love Me Good." Bass-humping Rocker serves up a rollicking live track that's one part Tex-Mex, one part rockabilly and one part Marshall Crenshaw-like pop, accented by a swell guitar solo courtesy of Adrian DeMain. Bonus: unlike another former, more famous Stray Cat, Rocker does not bear a disturbing resemblance to Angela Lansbury.
14 >Rod & the Pistons, "Dashed Upon the Rocks." A beautiful minor-key blues ballad channeling the spirits of both Carlos Santana (with its fat, ethereal guitar tones) and Janis Joplin (with its final, climactic, bone-chilling vocal scream). Rod and all them Frias brothers deserve far wider recognition in local blues circles—here's all the proof you need.
15 >The Torquays, "Trilobite." Why do I get a mental image of Herman Munster on a longboard whenever I hear this tune? Incredibly, the Torquays have been together since surf rock first burst on the scene nearly 40 years ago, and they remain a big part of OC's musical history and heritage. "Trilobite" is a typically rockin', tuneful and to-the-point offering.
16 >Billy Zoom, "Crazy Crazy Lovin'." A great way to close things out: X's Billy Zoom, tearing it up on a classic Joe Carroll rockabilly number that he recorded back in 1975, several years before anyone thought 'billy was cool again. Was Zoom the best singer in X, even though he didn't sing in the band? And what will it take to make him record more solo records this ragin'?