Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
John Barry Seven [JB7] - Beat Girl [Soundtrack] / Stringbeatdotdot
artwork

John Barry wrote many an epic soundtrack, including several of the much-covered James Bond flicks. His big Shadows-esq guitar leads on such tunes endeared his work to many an instro fan. This is NOT A SURF CD, AND CONTAINS NO SURF TUNES. It is, however, and interesting sample of John Barry's pioneering work, which influenced a lot of musicians to follow, including plenty of surf bands.

How many times have you heard a surf band play the James Bond theme? This CD is a 2-fer, with the mono soundtrack from "Beat Girl", which was originally issued in 1960, c/w the JB7 1961 stereo lp "String Beat". John Barry's big guitar sound, somewhere between Duane Eddy and the Shadows, is center stage on most of his early signature work, and is the reason his work is often included in surf sets, in a similar way one often finds Enio Morricone compositions. Adam Faith's "Beat Girl" vocal is just too period. This is mostly of little interest from a surf perspective, but there are some tasty guitar licks here and there, and a couple of gems waiting to become surf classics.

Picks: Beat Girl (Main Title), The Off Beat, Lindon Home Rock, Time Out, The Sharks, The City 2000 A. D., The Stripper, The Cave / Beat Girl / Kids Stuff, Car Chase / Night Chase, Chicken, Blues For Beatniks, The Immediate Pleasure, Blondie’s Strip, End Shot / Slaughter In Soho / Beat Girl (Main Title), It Doesn’t Matter Anymore, Sweet Talk, Moody River, There’s Life In The Old Boy Yet, A Handful Of Songs, Like Waltz, Rodeo, Donna’s Theme, Starfire, Baubles, Bangles and Beads, Zapata, Rum-Dee-Dum-Dee-Dah, Spanish Harlem, Man From Madrid, The Challenge

Track by Track Review


Beat Girl (Main Title) dotdotdot
Brit Movie Rock (Instrumental)

Listening to this ultra twangster, it's easy to see why Laika and the Cosmonauts covered it. Despite the horn leads, it's full of fire and flair, and the low-E guitar is very cool, as is the infectious riff.

The Off Beat dotdotdot
Brit Movie Rock (Instrumental)

This is a Henry Mancini-ish composition, a Pink Panther-ish beat-gen thing without a distinct personality.

Lindon Home Rock dotdotdot
Brit Movie Rock (Instrumental)

Fifties boogie blues, with horn leads and a little too much white break, like a shallow imitation of Graham Bond without that organ. The pumping piano is very cool.

Time Out dotdotdot
Brit Movie Rock (Instrumental)

Saucy cool jazz before there was such a thing. A quiet storm of restrained soul sacrifice.

The Sharks dotdotdot
Brit Movie Rock (Instrumental)

Raging sax, tough restrained low-E guitar, and a sense of fifties street toughs on stage. It's a cool enough track, and it has quite a bit more edge than many here. The big kettle drums are cool too.

The City 2000 A. D. dotdot
Brit Movie Rock (Instrumental)

Flutes and eerie semi regal horns hearken to the turn of the century... he missed the whole feel of the new dawn by almost 50 years of musical evolution.

The Stripper dotdotdot
Brit Movie Rock (Instrumental)

This is not David Rose's big band classic. It's a real pre-surf number, at least until the French horn comes in. Then, it loses it's edge. Still, this is a cool tune for some enterprising surf band to work over.

The Cave / Beat Girl / Kids Stuff dotdotdot
Brit Movie Rock (Instrumental)

With almost double picked guitar, this hot and fiery medley takes no prisoners. Horns and all, it's a pumped up slaughterhouse of activity. The downside is that the segues are just that, sloppy fade-outs and off-time startups. Still, it has real charm, especially the plinky piano jive in "Kids Stuff." The fifties guitar riffs are tasty.

Car Chase / Night Chase dotdot
Brit Movie Rock (Instrumental)

Big pompous kettle drums and drama, with black stockings and barrettes with purple bands.

Chicken dotdot
Brit Movie Rock (Instrumental)

No clucking here, it's head-on crash dodging scaredy-cat fluff for a high school stage show. To brash and too put-on.

Blues For Beatniks dotdotdot
Brit Movie Rock (Instrumental)

Sultry horns, bluesy riffs, and an almost surfish guitar. "Blues For Beatniks" is an odd piece, not even slightly hinting of beat-gen, but more like a jazzy beachcomber stroll.

The Immediate Pleasure dot
Brit Movie Rock (Instrumental)

Very slow piano bar blues, walking gently through the tavern... way too trite.

Blondie’s Strip dotdot
Brit Movie Rock (Instrumental)

Slow and almost sultry... I said almost because, despite it's derivative stripper roots, it just doesn't invoke images of slowly exposed curves.

End Shot / Slaughter In Soho / Beat Girl (Main Title) dotdotdot
Brit Movie Rock (Instrumental)

"End Shot" is a brief interlude piece, while "Slaughter In Soho" is a Rogers and Hammerstein inspired dangermobile, but with a great deal of sadness instead of brash and flash. Very moody. The transition into "Beat Girl (Main Title)" is gradual and very suave just before it dives in headlong for the rockin' kill.

It Doesn’t Matter Anymore dotdotdot
Brit Movie Rock (Instrumental)

Buddy Holly's romantic ballad with all the soul removed, the guitar guts stripped out, and the strings even more syrupy. It does have a strange magnetism about it.

Sweet Talk
Brit Movie Rock (Instrumental)

Too slushy for works...

Moody River dot
Brit Movie Rock (Instrumental)

Who was it, Bobby Darin that hit with this? It's a great moody ballad with all of the charm replaced by cheese cloth.

There’s Life In The Old Boy Yet dot
Brit Movie Rock (Instrumental)

You wouldn't know that "There’s Life In The Old Boy Yet" from this. Plucky pop for antiquarians. It's too cutesy to survive.

A Handful Of Songs dot
Brit Movie Rock (Instrumental)

Lawrence Welk did better than this... The plucky violins and the light weight guitar lines... oh my!

Like Waltz dotdotdot
Brit Movie Rock (Instrumental)

With a vague sense of "Walk On The Wild Side," this floats along without the slightest hint of an edge, though the theremin-like keyboard is cool against the vibrato guitar. It has a spooky something that endears it to you.

Rodeo dotdotdot
Brit Movie Rock (Instrumental)

A very simple progression repeated repeatedly with repetition, interrupted occasionally by occasional sax... repetitious and only slightly interesting. 1958

Donna’s Theme dotdot
Brit Movie Rock (Instrumental)

More strings and soothing sounds... with some tasty guitar. It seems so strange to combine the two.

Starfire dot
Brit Movie Rock (Instrumental)

More like "Swingin' Shepherd Blues" that "Starfire," this whistles along like it's looking for Perez Prado in vane.

Baubles, Bangles and Beads dot
Brit Movie Rock (Instrumental)

Nothing worse than a serious read of a playful piece. It's too pretentious. The playfulness seems dishonest.

Zapata dotdotdot
Brit Movie Rock (Instrumental)

"Zapata" is a relatively Shadows-like piece, with charm and fine whammy. The arrangement isn't too lush, somewhat like a spaghetti western. very cool track.

Rum-Dee-Dum-Dee-Dah
Brit Movie Rock (Instrumental)

Sophisticated inebriation... need I say more.

Spanish Harlem dotdotdot
Brit Movie Rock (Instrumental)

There is a rose in "Spanish Harlem," and it's drowning is suave. Too restrained, but very well played guitar.

Man From Madrid dotdot
Brit Movie Rock (Instrumental)

Strings and guitar, an intentional composition, and a smooth delivery. Overall, just fluff.

The Challenge dotdotdot
Brit Movie Rock (Instrumental)

Big screen drama, an almost Carl Davis feel to the arrangement, and excellent strings. This is really a nice piece. It would make a great guitar instro for a two or three guitar band.