Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Jerry Cole and his Spacemen - Surf Agedotdot
artworkJerry Cole was a studio musician who proved repeatedly that real surf music (or any other genre for that matter) is best made by real bands, with the exception of the beautiful work done by Richard Podolor and the grinding fuzz of Davie Allan's mad movie music. Jerry was uniquely able to cover simple common surf hits and get the melody wrong. He slaughtered "Pipeline" and "Point Panic" into odd sounding similarities instead of clever covers. He was the lead player on some of the Beach Boys' early Capitol sessions, when all instruments were in the hands of the studio crowd, just like it was with Dick Dale. His studio work for Capitol in the heat of their greedy appetite to cash in on Dick Dale is uniformly unremarkable and trite. This CD is from vinyl sources, and is only recommended for the completist. If you are looking for great vintage surf, keep looking, this isn't it. The studio musicians probably included Leon Russell and Steve Douglas.
Picks: Outer Limits, The Strut, Wipe Out, Colour Blues, Pipeline, Sukiyaki, Midnight Surfer, Pokey, Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow, Point Panic, Tequila, Surf Age, Martian Surf, Night Rumble, Rosarita Surf, Movin' Surf, Power Surf, Bronze Surfer, Deep Surf, Ride 'Um!, Jerry's Jump, One Color Blues, Racing Waves, Night Rumble, Border Run, Hot Rod Queen, Stinger, Roadster Run, T. Roadster Run, Driving Little Deuce, Night Drag

Track by Track Review


Outer Limits dotdotdot
Studio Jam (Instrumental)

Better than most of Jerry Cole's stuff by a long shot. Many are marred by guitar mistakes and/or just plain wrong melody lines from hasty learning or a lack of attention to detail I suppose. This is not as good as the Mar-Ketts original, but it does have a certain attraction, if only for the novel guitar tones.

The Strut dotdot
Studio Jam (Instrumental)

Studio fluff jam, little more than just messin' around. A dry guitar and an organ accompaniment with no direction.

Wipe Out dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

So, if you played this Surfaris monster hit without actually opening your guitar case, might employ less energy, but it would be close. Uninspired is the watchword, and studio guitar hero noodling is the chorus line.

Colour Blues dotdotdot
Studio Jam (Instrumental)

Slow grodie low-E guitar lead, delivering a melody line that straddles surf and stroll. I can't decide whether I hate this of like it. It's moody, bluesy, and sports some pretty dirty low guitar tones. OK, I've decided. It's a smoky bar number with an OK ambiance.

Pipeline dot
Surf (Instrumental)

Never let it be said that Jerry Cole was even a prince of the surf guitar. Listening to this version of "Pipeline," you quickly notice he got the melody wrong. Argh! Makes me crazy! Incidentally, Jerry was one of the studio regulars in Hollywood, and was reported to have played guitar in lieu of the Beach Boys on many of their early studio tracks.

Sukiyaki dotdot
Studio Jam (Instrumental)

Sax and studio nonsense. Sorry, but this goes nowhere fast. The novelty hit vocal was bad enough, without this sorta wedding band slaughter.

Midnight Surfer dotdotdot
Studio Surf (Instrumental)

It's OK, but the generic surf standard thievery and the mediocre performance don't pull much weight. It's mostly a studio jam, not well thought out. Musta been written during a coffee break. It has that "let's put a glissando here, and a whammy there" feel to it.

Pokey dotdot
Studio Jam (Instrumental)

I have to wonder if Jerry Cole didn't go to the Lawrence Welk school of rock 'n' roll. Crappola cosa nostra.

Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow dotdot
Studio Jam (Instrumental)

Surf chunk rhythm and sax lead instrumentalization of the Rivingtons' hit. Beyond the first bar, it's very boring and uninspired.

Point Panic dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Given the energy of the Surfaris' original, this is pretty tame. Given the other tracks here, this is pretty hot. The performance pace seems just slightly faster than Jerry could really play, giving that rushed feeling.

Tequila dotdot
Studio Jam (Instrumental)

If you took the Champs and blended them with Wes Montgomery under the watchful eye of Creed Taylor, you might get something like this. It's not very good, and has that lame CTI jazz feel.

Surf Age dotdotdot
Studio Jam (Instrumental)

Ringing guitar notes, and Capitol Records studio horns create a cross between an interesting song idea and bad session work.

Martian Surf dotdot
Studio Jam (Instrumental)

This is just studio made up nothingness.

Night Rumble dotdot
Studio Jam (Instrumental)

A fifties musical understanding of life - no clue at all. Really boring and directionless. Chunka chunka, Hollywood studio jam, and a big So What!.

Rosarita Surf dotdotdot
Studio Jam (Instrumental)

Tinkly piano, and an almost Spanish feel, and that Capitol Records studio band sound that ruined many Dick Dale sessions.

Movin' Surf dotdot
Studio Jam (Instrumental)

A riff and a suitcase full of studio fill.

Power Surf dotdot
Studio Jam (Instrumental)

The opener is sorta cool, but this quickly deteriorates into a no melody jam wanna be.

Bronze Surfer dotdotdot
Studio Jam (Instrumental)

High school prom song, written like it wants to be Richie Podolor, but can't find the pen. The vibrato lead is just fine, and it does have a pleasant sound. It's not bad, just second rate.

Deep Surf dotdotdot
Studio Jam (Instrumental)

Roy Orbison "Leah" bongos and a shimmering vibrato guitar lend an air of romantic beach nights, that is until those low down stupid Hollywood baritone sax notes come along and turn it into a bad TV backtrack.

Ride 'Um! dotdot
Studio Jam (Instrumental)

Aimed squarely at country, this falls apart quickly, like looking for Shakespeare on the Dukes Of Hazard. Mostly just a country studio jam, a made-for-TV bar scene track.

Jerry's Jump dot
Studio Jam (Instrumental)

Big orchestra Lonnie Mack wanna be nonsense. If you drag your pinky up and down the organ keyboard, it must mean you are a virtuoso. Awful!

One Color Blues dotdot
Studio Jam (Instrumental)

Fuzz intense bluesy stereotypical progression. This is arranged like it expected to be a demo for an orchestral reworking by Burt Kempfert or Neil Hefty.

Racing Waves dot
Studio Jam (Instrumental)

Chuck Berry's "Memphis" stolen yet again, and without the slightest hint of originality. Yuk!

Night Rumble dotdot
Studio Jam (Instrumental)

A fifties musical understanding of life - no clue at all. Really boring and directionless. Chunka chunka, Hollywood studio jam, and a big So What!.

Border Run dot
Studio Jam (Instrumental)

Studio fluff a la beach movie nonsense. No melody, just a progression over some absurd percussion. This is the sort of thing that gave Hollywood bachelor pad sounds a bad name.

Hot Rod Queen dot
Studio Jam (Instrumental)

A fifties backtrack, and a cheap imitation sleazy sax. Sorry boys, but this is of no interest.

Stinger dot
Studio Jam (Instrumental)

A riff, a novel bit, and a movie credit mentality. Where's the chorus?

Roadster Run dot
Studio Jam (Instrumental)

Another riff and Broadway bumper number. Mitch Miller would have thought that this rocked.

T. Roadster Run dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is not bad. It's a more developed track than most here, though it sports a riff, not a melody. The arrangement is way less hokey than most. Nice piano work.

Driving Little Deuce dot
Studio Jam (Instrumental)

Driving miss deucy... all the way to the wrecking yard. No melody at all, just a tiny little riff and a jam.

Night Drag dot
Studio Jam (Instrumental)

Almost a song. A sad end to a sad CD.