Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Aqua Velvets - Electric Suave!dotdotdotdot
artworkThis unreleased live double CD-R captures both of the Aqua Velvets performances at KFJC. They first played on May 9, 1992, and then again on January 15, 1994. Live shows from this band are rare enough, and to have both is a real treat. Their studio material, while very good, does not capture the intensity of the band live. They are electric! From these sessions and a few others will come their live CD release scheduled for first quarter 2001. This is an advance peak at things to come from a truly great instrumental band.
Picks: Pipeline Penetration, Spy In The House Of Love, Pipeline Penetration, Spy In The House Of Love, Diamond Head, Spanish Blue, Mr. Moto, Blue Rumba, Night In Paamul, Surf Boogie, Beauty And The Beach, Gringo, Swampabilly Hop, Tango DeMilo, Bravado, Surf Boogie, Spies In The House Of Love, Surf Boogie, Spies In The House Of Love, Diamond Head, Spanish Blue, Blue Rumba, Night In Paamul, Gringo, Martini Time, Green Sunshine, Surf Nuveaux, Hawaiian Blue, Mr. Moto, Mexican Rooftop Afternoon, Swampabilly Hop

Track by Track Review


Pipeline Penetration dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Aqua Velvets opened their soundcheck (May 9, 1992) with a pairing of two surf classics. While the mix is "in development," the band gelled quickly, warming their fingers and oozing fine surf sounds. What's funny is that it opens with the main riff from "Smells Like Teen Spirit."

Spy In The House Of Love dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This mid tempo AV original is as smooth as it gets... twangy and suave, fluid and moody. The bugs get worked out of the mix and the band gels. As Miles Corbin and Hank Manninger trade lead lines, it comes together in a liquidy flow.

Pipeline Penetration dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Aqua Velvets opened their soundcheck (May 9, 1992) with a pairing of two surf classics. While the mix is "in development," the band gelled quickly, warming their fingers and oozing fine surf sounds. What's funny is that it opens with the main riff from "Smells Like Teen Spirit."

Spy In The House Of Love dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This mid tempo AV original is as smooth as it gets... twangy and suave, fluid and moody. The bugs get worked out of the mix and the band gels. As Miles Corbin and Hank Manninger trade lead lines, it comes together in a liquidy flow.

Diamond Head dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Aqua Velvets are one of the few bands that play the intro correctly and make seem effortless while they're at it. This is crisp and precise, liquid and sparkling. It sports more spirit than the Ventures' original, while precisely delivering the goods. Excellent!

Spanish Blue dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This silky number sports one of the great bass lines which runs perfectly beneath stellar guitar work. The drums provide a perfect tango counterpoint to the guitars as well. An exceptional take.

Mr. Moto dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Belairs' classic gets the AV treatment... precision while retaining the magnificent balance between lead and rhythm that is the hallmark of Paul Johnson's writing. The guitar embellishments add to it, as does the silky whammy.

Blue Rumba dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The classic rumba drums, the spiffy melody line, the solid bass, the chords... it's, well, inspired! "Blue Rumba" shows of the budding lounge influences the Aqua Velvets were developing long before it was "cool."

Night In Paamul dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Night In Paamul" is silky smooth, sinewy to the point of liquid, with a suave faraway places sound and ultra travelogue feel. Quite nice.

Surf Boogie dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A couple of opening chords introduce one of Miles Corbin's more rockin' compositions. The bands pumps out the sound in tight formation as the solid drive of "Surf Boogie" evidences itself. Ultra twang.

Beauty And The Beach dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This song is one of their most interesting, with the warmth of the guitar tone balanced against the subtle borrowings from Del Shannon's "Runaway." The spectacular melody line in "Beauty And The Beach" portrays exactly what the title suggests - liquid body lines in the warm sun. A fine track.

Gringo dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This gently rhythmic track sparkles with warm Mexican themes laid out on long flowing notes. The delicate balance between lead and rhythm is a necessary part of the success of this tune, as is the excellent drum work and softly flowing bass.

Swampabilly Hop dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This early version of "Swampabilly Hop" opens on guitar, gradually increasing in intensity until the crescendo is reached. Totally infectious, this cross between swampabilly and surf ripples with energy and drives for the jugular.

Tango DeMilo dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With a grin and a dare, the Aqua Velvets flawlessly deliver "Tango DeMilo" with all the charm and emotional content required of the dance of love. An excellent track.

Bravado dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Great chunky jangle, pumping beat, solid bass... The Aqua Velvets display bravado as they deliver "Bravado." Precise, yet very spunky. The dry chop chords in the bridge are very infectious.

Surf Boogie dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This driving rendition is from their soundcheck on January 15, 1994. This great rockin' take is marred only by the soundcheck tweaking underway.

Spies In The House Of Love dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Also from soundcheck, this nonetheless displays the Aqua Velvets' trademark liquid sound.

Surf Boogie dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This driving rendition is from their soundcheck on January 15, 1994. This great rockin' take is marred only by the soundcheck tweaking underway.

Spies In The House Of Love dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Also from soundcheck, this nonetheless displays the Aqua Velvets' trademark liquid sound.

Diamond Head dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Another letter perfect delivery of Danny Hamilton's most familiar composition. Great energy and power.

Spanish Blue dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Spanish Blue" finds an even smoother delivery, with a more liquid feel and an even bigger helping of suave. Amazing.

Blue Rumba dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Segueing immediately out of "Spanish Blue," this rocks with an infectious pace and rhythm. "Blue Rumba" is more developed and played in a much hotter style. Excellent!

Night In Paamul dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This slow moody piece displays sultry guitar tones and a truly scenic quality. As the sun sets slowly in the West, the Paamulians drift down onto the pampas, where the drifting breezes cool and the sent of open air is strong and clean. It's a very picturesque piece, simple but effective, waiting for a film score to gather it up.

Gringo dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This gently rhythmic track sparkles with warm Mexican themes laid out on long flowing notes. The delicate balance between lead and rhythm is a necessary part of the success of this tune, as is the excellent drum work and softly flowing bass.

Martini Time dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This grand tune is infectious and rhythmic, with a very fine melody line. The power of the track grows from merely infectious into intensely magnetic as the song develops. Fine guitar work and solid bass and drums throughout.

Green Sunshine dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This take has been released twice (Sounds From The Inside and Reverb Central), and deserves as much exposure as it can be given. Like a liquid merger of the Grateful Dead and surf. Psychedelic, aquatic, and magical, "Green Sunshine" is pure gold.

Surf Nuveaux dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This fine track is a natural follow-on from "Green Sunshine," with a ringing shine to it, as well as a powerful rhythm. "Surf Nuveaux" is a solid merger of surf and liquid psychedelia. The sparkling melody and solid beat ooze Hawaiian big surf from every note.

Hawaiian Blue dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Soft tropical evenings flow from this very romantic island piece. Like a vacation stroll on the beaches of Waikiki, "Hawaiian Blue" slowly floats across the mind like a warm and gentle breeze. Very pretty.

Mr. Moto dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Belairs' "Mr. Moto" is precisely played with warm whammy and great guitar interplay. Very infectious and delicate, yet powerful.

Mexican Rooftop Afternoon dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Mexican Rooftop Afternoon" is a slower tune with a sinewy melody line and romantic getaway feel. This performance is very clean and emotional. The verse where the harmonics are unleashed is entirely too cool, as is the choppy following verse. It is the variations verse to verse that make this so much more than just great.

Swampabilly Hop dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Featured on Water Logged, this take of "Swampabilly Hop" is downright infectious. High energy and pristine playing, with a huge finally. Yikes!