Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Blue Hawaiians - Swaydotdotdotdot
artworkThis new release from the kings of smooth is fluidly gorgeous. The liquid lap steel work is spectacular, and the genuine suave of the bands sound leave no room for doubt that this is the best modern tiki bar band on earth. Taking the general direction set by the first few years of Santo & Johnny, and straining it through the modern cocktail glass of the grass shack set has resulted in a sound so smooth that it slides like silk off a maidens breast. Remarkably sensual.
Picks: Last Days Of Summer, Searchin' For Da Cat, Banzai Pipeline, Deadman's, Quiet Surf, Martini Five-0, Drop The Hammer, Max!, Sharkskin Saddle, Tortolla, Drunk Man Noodle, Da Cat (Reprise), Element 86, Swingin' Hula Man

Track by Track Review

Last Days Of Summer dotdotdot
Tiki Bar Surf (Instrumental)

Slippery airy and floatingly romantic, this track features a distant breezy lap steel under a gently played lead. This song has an instantly familiar feel, not that it's derivative, but rather that it is perfectly crafted in the style you'd expect from the composers of the original exotic era. The island imagery is 20-20. Quite a nice track.

Searchin' For Da Cat dotdotdot
Tiki Bar Surf (Instrumental)

Slightly more exotic, a just a breezy, this is a picturesque track. A cool drive around Big Island on a sultry day. Very pretty melody.

Banzai Pipeline dotdotdotdot
Tiki Bar Surf (Instrumental)

Henry "Hodad" Mancini wrote this back in the crusty daze of the earl;y sixties. The Astronauts brought it to our attention. The Blue Hawaiians have reinterpreted it for the tiki bar nineties. Spirited and infectious, with a fresh arrangement and new understanding, more fluid and less halting than it was intended, which yields a smoother more friendly track.

Deadman's dotdotdot
Tiki Bar Surf (Instrumental)

Eerie ambiance, moody organ, and dramatic sadness flow from this track with remarkable effectiveness. It sounds like it should have been on a Mancini album 30 years ago, but alas, it's a new song. Cool cocktail weirdness and kinky suave.

Quiet Surf dotdotdotdotdot
Tiki Bar Surf (Instrumental)

This is among my very favorite vintage surf compositions, as you may have guessed listening to my show. Its original title was Samoa, and it's been done under several artist names in various arrangement by its writer Richie Podolor. In the modern era, it has been reinterpreted by the Mermen, the Cruncher, 3 Balls of Fire, the Langhorns, and now by the Blue Hawaiians. This is afresh tiki bar sultry approach that is most endearing. Smooth, fluid, and lurid, this gets under your skin without a fuss and stays there. Great cover!

Martini Five-0 dotdotdotdot
Tiki Bar Surf (Instrumental)

Not since the mermen slowed this down to this pace has it been so well played out. Smooth, Polynesian tiki bar fluid, and the distant lap steel adds a whole dimension of island mystery, while the organ brings home the martini. Fine cover.

Drop The Hammer, Max! dotdotdotdot
Tiki Bar Surf (Instrumental)

Tribal George of the Jungle hula war toms, exotic chunka chunka, and a hint of Indian Puddin' & Pipe's trademark organ swirl. This is a damn infectious number, with spirited screams of joy, and a grand tom tom solo. You can see the bon fire, smell the poi, and almost feel the hula skirts. Yikes!

Sharkskin Saddle dotdotdotdot
Tiki Bar Surf (Instrumental)

This is the most surfy track here, and it uses a cowboy rhythm, and a cocktail organ, The melody is quite nice, and it is infectious. Occasional glissandoes grace the transitions, and the whole effect is fun and cool listening.

Tortolla dotdotdot
Tiki Bar Surf (Instrumental)

Don't let the feather weight intro fool you. They quickly drop into a tight little number with plenty of island feel and film score sensibility.

Drunk Man Noodle dotdotdotdot
Tiki Bar Surf (Instrumental)

Ominous tones, twisted visions, dark alleys, and big evil drums. It is a relentless menacing powerhouse track. Like a theme for Danger Man should have sounded. Large, edgie, nerve racking, and threatening.

Da Cat (Reprise) dotdotdot
Tiki Bar Surf (Instrumental)

That theme again, but oh-so sweetly allowed to leave the interments on a quiet tropical night. Great mood piece.

Element 86 dotdotdotdot
Image Evoking (Instrumental)

Just the sound of near silence, fluid ripples, then an echoed dark menacing, and slide twisted tones like Jimi Hendrix on sedatives thinking about writing may This Be Love. Psychedelic, tribal, dramatic, playful, spacie, and pretty darn interesting. Like Victory At Sea for guitars and effects. Drums and wires creating images with sound without notes. Really quite powerful! It's a long track, and completely outside the pale of surf.

Swingin' Hula Man dotdotdotdot

"Swingin' Hula Man" sounds like it was filtered to sound like a
transistor radio on the beach. It appears in full on the Savage Night CD.