Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Black Arrows - The Story Of...dotdotdot
artworkThis is an interesting indo-rock release, with 16 instros that straddle surf and Euro sounds. Most are crudely recorded and mixed, not muddy, just with the backtrack so low that the inherent energy is somewhat masked. The band does some very interesting things with nontraditional songs.
Picks: The Big Adventure, Ballad Of A Soldier, Gandy Dancer, Mr. Moto, Johnny Guitar, Midnight Blues, Hernando's Hideaway, Jumbo, Slave Girl, September Song, Rococo, Tulip Fields, Little Lonely Train, Lady Of Spain, World Of Fire, Wonderland By Night

Track by Track Review

The Big Adventure dotdotdot
Ventures / Shadows (Instrumental)

This instrumental sports a big twangy guitar, somewhat in the Shadows tradition and somewhat in the Ventures camp. The melody adventurous and the "Perfidia" beat and arrangement is an interesting touch. The damped guitar parts are particularly cool. Spunky and fun.

Ballad Of A Soldier dotdotdot
Pop Film Theme (Instrumental)

"Ballad Of A Soldier" is in the mold of spaghetti westerns and TV themes, with a great beat and melody, and a period chorus. haunting, yet spunky, this track is fun and ripe for covering.

Gandy Dancer dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a fine version of "Gandy Dancer" with a chunky damped dry rhythm guitar. The lead is too low in the mix, but overall it works anyway. fast and sporty, this prances with cool whammy and an innocent intensity.

Mr. Moto dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

I wonder if Paul Johnson ever heard this version. Strings and a chorus... pretty funny. Somehow I can just hear this in an elevator in the Brille Building. Pretty strange.

Johnny Guitar dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This often covered tune is played reverently, with a cool tone and sad meter. There's enough reverb to let this fall into the surf camp. Quite nice. The sound is a little like a faster Safaris "Lonely Surf Guitar" (on Valiant).

Midnight Blues dotdotdot
Blues (Instrumental)

Echoed blues, not very soulful, but darn reverby. "Midnight Blues" is quite listenable, just not remarkable.

Hernando's Hideaway dotdotdot
Surf Tango (Instrumental)

Spunky drums, cool guitar tone, and a non-silly arrangement take this classic into credible territory. Very cool and innocent, "Hernando's Hideaway" will bring grins of satisfaction.

Jumbo dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This slightly sad, somewhat islandic, and very pretty piece evokes images of sandy beached and swaying palms. A great Saturday afternoon track.

Slave Girl dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Santo and Johnny's incredible "Slave Girl" is played with whammy in active mode. While not as suave and intense as the original, or as shiny as the Blue Hawaiians, this version is very smooth, and the double picked break brings it into the surf camp.

September Song dotdotdot
MOR Surf (Instrumental)

This version of the MOR classic "September Song" is slow and almost silky, but relatively unremarkable.

Rococo dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Surf and rock and damped reverbed picking... this is a fine version of "Rococo." Great raging drums and round surf tone, all placed squarely in front with energy and a grin.

Tulip Fields dotdotdot
Euro Big Guitar (Instrumental)

Big guitar European surfish and shiny... yup, that says it. A little Chuck Berry-ish, intensely whammied, echoed and jammed. Quite fun.

Little Lonely Train dotdotdotdot
Rail Road Rock (Instrumental)

Intensely whammied guitar, disturbingly twanging out a progression that borrows from many standard fifties rock instros, yet in this format seems fresh and inspired.

Lady Of Spain dotdotdot
MOR Rock (Instrumental)

'Bout time there was a rock instro version of this... fast and just plain fun. Big twang lead, and a energetic backtrack with a fine walking bass.

World Of Fire dotdotdotdot
Surf / Rock (Instrumental)

Like some Shadows tracks, this relies on long sustained echoed notes and a somewhat sad melody to convey its message. There's a hint of "Apache" here, with tasty whammy and some Johnny Fortune tone and double picking.

Wonderland By Night dotdotdot
MOR Rock (Instrumental)

Walter Wanderly's MOR hit is delivered in a slow and restrained format, just right for the prom.