Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Blue Stingrays - Surf-N-Burndotdotdotdot
artworkGenerally, these a laid back performances, well played, and listenable, but not exciting. Low energy, more than ambient, less than central to your library. The stereo is nicely balanced, but the drums sound like cardboard in the next room... ambient I guess. Because of the mañana nature of the CD, I found most tracks to be too long. They probably have more chemistry and energy with an audience than on disc (just a guess). They owe a lot to the Ventures stylistically.

Visually, the artwork is nice, but the failure to change the artwork on a CD to reflect the actual track numbers is just plain annoying. With claimed surf instrumental roots under this name back to 1959, one can only speculate that Mike Campbell (Tom Petty & the Heartreakers guitarist) is either making it up, knows not the difference between the Ventures (whom he would claim to predate) and surf, or has the imaginary past of Dick Dale. I don't mean to turn you off this CD. It is enjoyable listening, but is a long LONG way from essential.
Picks: Monsoon, Echo Park, Gold Finger, Brave New World, Russian Roulette, Moon Over Catalina, Malibu Babylon, Blue Venus, Land Of The Unknown, Surfer's Life, Stingray Stomp, Zuma Sunset, Ju Ju Beads, Green Sea, Super Hero

Track by Track Review

Monsoon dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Melodic Shadows-like track with a rhythmic second guitar. Not very surfy, and pretty tame delivery. The crowd noise off of a noisy vinyl disc just annoys. This is not a cover of the Chantays great second single.

Echo Park dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Light weight plucky backtrack, and a semi-King Of Hawaii sounding melody line, but not quite as interesting. Inadequate changes lead to wandering minds.

Gold Finger dotdotdot
Spy (Instrumental)

The string finger-drag and laugh are left in at the beginning. This is a respectful version of this James Bond spy classic. Dry, tame, but nice.

Brave New World dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Twisted twango and a tad more edgy than anything else on this release. Shimmering mixed with dementia and edge. Nice changes, both in texture and in imagery.

Russian Roulette dotdotdot
Surf-ish (Instrumental)

Slow shimmering vibrato lead, dry rhythm track, and a melancholy feeling. A mood piece for the lazy rainy daze ahead. Not the Nevegans great track.

Moon Over Catalina dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A lot of "Blue Moon" comes to mind when I listen to this track. Not that it is a clone or anything, just that it has a certain feeling and a couple of hints that bring it to mind. Nice, vibrato backdrop.

Malibu Babylon dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A really cool rhythmic track, unusual melody, and great brushed rockabilly backtrack. Very infectious, and a cut above the rest of the CD. My fave here!

Blue Venus dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Gentle vibrato shimmer, slow moody vision of a lagoon in winter between storms, but still drizzling, like a slow "Blue Moon" and drifting on an inner tube. very nice.

Land Of The Unknown dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Reminiscent in feel to some of Richie Podolor's work, but less melodic. The rhythmic nature of the track is infectious, and its quite nice. The glissandoes are not too smooth - sloppy meter.

Surfer's Life dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A slowdance paced number with a bundle of shimmer. Very pretty, and enjoyably arranged. Visions of a couple moving in sync at sunset behind the final credits ooze from this very nice track.

Stingray Stomp dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Rough and uneven glissandoes, rhythmic progressions, country twang, and a Ventures feel.

Zuma Sunset dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Cool damped pluckage, slow paced shimmer and dawn patrol sleep in the eyes. Great early morning music.

Ju Ju Beads dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Country Memphis studio thing... nifty but not enduring. Sorta like you might expect from Chet Atkins, but less polished and creative.

Green Sea dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Synchronized damped picking between the lead and rhythm open the track, and thereafter, they play a simple melody line accented with vibrato chords. Pretty, but unremarkable. The ska-like chords are a nice touch.

Super Hero dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The trotting rhythm track is great, and the melody is good, with a lot of Hank Marvin in it. More crowd sounds, which they could do with out, keep it from being a pick.