Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Buzzy Frets - S/Tdotdotdotdot
artworkIt's been a long time comin', and there's just not much better than a disc of unrestricted adventurous and original work with a surf influence. It was several years ago that Bay Area artist Pete Madsen first sent me a working DAT of his project Buzzy Frets and his Surfabilly Orchestra. I was floored. I played tracks from it quite often. This last summer (1999), I saw Pete at one of my surf events and asked when he was going to get the band going again and release an album. He was flattered and said maybe later this year. I am not disappointed. This CD displays the breadth of his guitar interest, with some surf, some blues, and some really nice acoustic 12 strong as well. This is just plain good!
Picks: Davey Jones Locker, Surf This, Kona Sunset, Busted Tooth, Los Pedros, C.H.U.D.B.U.T.T., It's A Real Day, Get Buzzy, Sidewalk, Soul Surfin', Buzzy's Day Off, Watermelon Seeds

Track by Track Review

Davey Jones Locker dotdotdot
Blues (Instrumental)

A bluesy visit to the repository of lost sailors, slow and squeamish, and right tasty. Just bass and guitar, with a slight throb. But wait, there's more. About a minute fifteen in, it becomes a nasty electric blues, with excellent drums and distorted guitar.

Surf This dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The drums open, followed by a glissando, and then an echoed surf riff with an Austin twist. It's a mighty cool tune, with some of the sensibilities of the Big Guitars From Texas, but from a coastal perspective. The rhythmic structure makes for a top down rolling experience.

Kona Sunset dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Sleep walking the dog on the sands at Waikiki after a banana daiquiri, slow sinewy and cool.

Busted Tooth dotdotdot
Blues (Instrumental)

Funky distortion, R&B bass, bluesy sexy, and a little off the beaten track. A fine track.

Los Pedros dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This wonderful track is long and fascinating, as it meanders through a number of styles that span the gamut of surfabilly, from surf all the way out to hillbilly. Very fun and infectious, artful and entertaining. Surfisticated hay burner harmonies via twin note lead ecstasy. This is my favorite track.

C.H.U.D.B.U.T.T. dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Buck Owens meets Tom Lopaka at the barn dance, takes him out back and wipes the yard with him. A very cool chicken bop number with a totally endearing backtrack.

It's A Real Day dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Vibrato shimmer and an artful riff. It's a marriage made in heaven. Slow, silky, and just long enough to carry through to the bass and drums entry into the fray. This is a relentless track with a warmth and edge. The mid section hints of espionage.

Get Buzzy dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A gritty bluesy edgie Memphis gutty guitar twang country wow-wow zamb bam! Enough expletives for ya? Cool tune

Sidewalk dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a sensational surf track. It's not exactly on the main path, but it absolutely says surf while also saying blues and verandah afternoons. Picturesque and very smooth. Adequate reverb and fluid delivery.

Soul Surfin' dotdotdotdot
Funk (Instrumental)

This is not the Mermen tune. This is a funky percussive soul groove, with choppy guitar and various effects to make you long for David Axelrod's "The Auction" one more time. Excellent.

Buzzy's Day Off dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Ridin' the turnip truck to the beach for the big "do." A really cool cowboys on hayrides song, fun and infectious.

Watermelon Seeds dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Acoustic twelve string, like if Leo Kottke wanted to hit the surf. Really a fine listen. It isn't in the surf pocket, of course, but what a great track. Reminds me a little of a slow "Vaseline Machine Gun."