Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Clee-Shays - The Dynamic Guitar Sounds Of The Clee-Shaysdotdotdot
artworkThis Richard Delvy production is essentially an Ed Fournier vehicle. All of the originals are his. The band is comprised of the usual Challengers usual studio stand-ins. The 20 tracks here in are quite European oriented, and far afield from surf in most cases. An interesting glimpse into the studio side of the business, and some fine playing from some great musicians, though there's no "chemistry" as is often the case with studio sessions.
Some of the luminaries on these sessions are Ed Fournier (Challengers), John Anderson (Bay Men, Eddie and the Showmen, Humans, Ninja Nomads, Neon Spores), Bob Edwards (Bay Men, Eddie and the Showmen), "Buzz" Carre (Eddie and the Showmen), Larry Brown, and Richard Delvy (Belairs, Challengers).
Picks: Ed Spy, Thunderball, Johnny Guitar, Our Man In Hong Kong, Dynamite, High Wire, Crying In The Storm, Bumble Bee, The Executioner Theme, I Spy, The Agony And The Ecstasy, Theme From The Man From U.N.C.L.E., The Spy, The Cincinnati Kid, Our Man Flint, Manha De Carnaval, Run Spy, The Man From T.H.R.U.S.H., Beyond, Get Smart

Track by Track Review

Ed Spy dotdotdot
Euro Spy (Instrumental)

"Ed (Fournier) Spy" is a melodic tune with a gentle mystery about it. I can imagine what a kinetic arrangement from a band with chemistry would do with this.

Thunderball dotdotdot
Euro Spy (Instrumental)

Pedestrian movie theme rendition.

Johnny Guitar dotdotdot
Euro Spy (Instrumental)

Another well written Ed Fournier tune, begging for a hot performance. This is a solid track, just shy the essential magic.

Our Man In Hong Kong dotdotdot
Euro Spy (Instrumental)

An Ed Fournier tune, sad and melodic. A lot like a tamed down "Goldfinger," this has plenty of magnetism, but not enough staying power due to the "studio" nature of the tracks.

Dynamite dotdotdot
Euro Spy (Instrumental)

Standard pre-go-go fare. The sax work is quite nice, though quite sparse.

High Wire dotdotdotdot
Euro Spy (Instrumental)

High stress instrumental, with a nervous organ in the back, and a subdued lead. This lies somewhere between the Challengers and the Shadows in the emergency room. Intense and magnetic.

Crying In The Storm dotdotdot
Euro Spy (Instrumental)

Echoed pluck instro like many of the late fifties, neither remarkable nor memorable.

Bumble Bee dotdotdot
Euro Spy (Instrumental)

This is a really fun tune, with it's fast vibrato lead and polka beat. It plays with your sense of silly, while not being silly. Entertaining and fun.

The Executioner Theme dotdotdot
Euro Spy (Instrumental)

Spaghetti western movie theme, more Shadows than Italian. The tambourine dates it some, but otherwise it reminds me a lot of early Laika & the Cosmonauts. Nice track.

I Spy dotdotdot
Euro Spy (Instrumental)

Robert Culp and Bill Cosby played tennis around the world for the CIA on black and white television in the early sixties. Their show was full of humanity, humor and intrigue. This is a very cool version of the theme, with a dissonant guitar and ample nervous edge.

The Agony And The Ecstasy dotdotdot
Euro Spy (Instrumental)

Slow pasta theme cowboy epic music, dramatic and slightly pretentious, without being pompous. This is quite a nice track... something that King Of Hawaii could easily play with and make their own.

Theme From The Man From U.N.C.L.E. dotdotdot
Euro Spy (Instrumental)

Unremarkable cover of an over-covered theme to a bad TV spy series with hammy acting and stupid plots.

The Spy dotdotdot
Euro Spy (Instrumental)

Low almost grodie lead guitar work on a nice Ed Fournier original over that typical Hal Blaine drum track the Challengers employed so well and so often. Quite Euro styled.

The Cincinnati Kid dotdotdot
Euro Spy (Instrumental)

Slow and unremarkable movie theme music, slightly moody, but otherwise devoid of any magnetism. The drums are annoyingly to high in the mix.

Our Man Flint dotdotdot
Euro Spy (Instrumental)

Take a bad movie, write a boring theme, and then make the best of it... better than any of the Challengers covers, but still just a cover of a boring song.

Manha De Carnaval dotdotdot
Euro Spy (Instrumental)

This is a very pretty track, with a shiny vibrato lead and more twang then the rest of the tracks here. It has a European MOR feel, but also is not too far from some of the Aqua Velvets tunes. Suavely throbbing with shimmer and French bread.

Run Spy dotdotdot
Euro Spy (Instrumental)

Ed Fournier's tune slowly moves through some nice moody changes. melodic, and emotional. This is a fine bit of writing, and the playing ain't bad neither!

The Man From T.H.R.U.S.H. dotdotdot
Euro Spy (Instrumental)

Up tempo fluff for the film trade, more melodic than many, but not particularly interesting unless you're into MOR.

Beyond dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the only surf tune here. It's a cover of the Chantays' tune from their second album. The arrangement is weak, but works ok. The lead guitar is pretty low in the mix, losing much of the power of the melody.

Get Smart dotdotdot
Euro Spy (Instrumental)

Slapstick comedy spy spoof TV theme, like the Münsters without the grin.