Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Breakaways - Cowa-Bongo!dotdotdot
artworkInventing Soft Surf for special performances at hospitals and youth shelters, the Breakaways play with precision and a knack for arrangements. Replacing drums with bongos, and using small practice amps, they deliver pristine surf with a soft edge. Many covers that you'd expect not to work in this mode are perfect slices of shimmering sea shore vibrato.
Picks: Karina, Out Of Limits, Baja, Sukiyaki, Diamond Head, Waimea, Perfidia, Surf Rider, Ocean View, Telstar, La Nina, Driving Guitars, Walk, Don't Run, Wild As The Sea, Apache

Track by Track Review

Karina dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Karina" is a melodic tune, with warm whammy chords and crunchy guitar tone. It hints of "Endless Summer" style, but not necessarily sound. It's a very friendly track, with an endearing ambiance, full of gentle openness and slight hints of "Walk, Don't Run." An excellent track.

Out Of Limits dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A warmly fluid performance of Mike Gordon's classic studio surf track. It is much more sincere than the original, and the double picked bridge is very cool.

Baja dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a rhythmic and plucky rendition of the Lee Hazelwood most familiar surf instro. It's even more damped and suave than Half Tribe's version, with warm tone and excellent damped rhythms. Infectious and very cool.

Sukiyaki dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This Japanese MOR tune from the sixties has been surfed up a couple of times, but never with such humility and beauty. This is just plain pretty.

Diamond Head dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With an almost eleki nod to the Ventures, the Breakaways deliver "Diamond Head" with Nokie-isms in tact, and with poise and grace not found in other versions. Very cool.

Waimea dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A rough glissando opens this very original tune. It is delicately driven through a splendid riff and warm rhythms. Quite appealing.

Perfidia dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Venturisms abound in this warm and whammified deliverance of the standard. Pretty cool.

Surf Rider dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

In some ways, this is what Nokie Edwards' tune was meant to become. Softer than the Lively Ones, and rounder than the Ventures. This tune lends itself to soft surf.

Ocean View dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Ocean View" is a really pretty surf tune, with warm deep rich vibrato and dry ringing chords. The riff is vintage perfect. The clarity of the guitar tone is stunning. I found myself coming back to this track repeatedly. It is pretty, interesting, and very well played.

Telstar dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Joe Meek's claim to fame is laid out in a rich and fluid form. I didn't think I'd like this softened up, but I do.

La Nina dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Rich ringing tones, Spanish feel, glissandoes, and a Fireballs' sorta riff combine to form a rhythmic and damped pleasure event. Borrowed "Malaguena" bits and crunchy tone... too suave.

Driving Guitars dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Ventures in motion, bongos exoticised, and solid country feel keep this afloat. Fun.

Walk, Don't Run dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

At the hands of the Breakaways' unique low key style, this venerable classic finds a new warmth. This is the Ventures' 1960 arrangement, richly toned and warmly whammied. This is pure and perfect. Very smooth.

Wild As The Sea dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This Sandals' tune is perfect for the soft surf sound (after all, it was played this way in the sixties). The shimmering vibrato and bongos are really nice for this tune. Mighty nice.

Apache dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Softer than the Sonny James vocal, more fluid than the Jorgen Ingman version, and warmer than most other covers. This soft treatment shows the power of the writing, and the excellent sense of arranging that the Breakaways apply to their material. Very pleasing.