Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Jerry Cole and his Spacemen - Power Surfdotdot
artworkThis material has all been available on bootleg from vinyl, not not before this from the masters on CD. I'm not sure that helps. Jerry Cole's work is at the bottom of the surf food chain in my book. It represents the worst about the studio system of the day. Jim Economides' production is as undynamic as his work with Dick Dale, and the arrangements are very similar (I'm assuming he arranged this stuff). The liner notes are good, and it is a piece of surf history, but if you're looking for an undiscovered Surfaris or Tornadoes, this ain't it.
Picks: Power Surf, Night Drag, Surf Age, Deep Surf, Stinger, Midnight Surfer, Rosarita Surf, Driving Little Deuce, Bronze Surfer, The Strut, Night Rumble, Movin' Surf, Outer Limits, One Color Blues, Martian Surf, Roadster Run, Point Panic, T. Roadster Rock, Dancing Mags, Racing Waves

Track by Track Review


Power Surf dotdot
Studio Jam (Instrumental)

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

Night Drag dot
Studio Jam (Instrumental)

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

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.

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.

Stinger dot
Studio Jam (Instrumental)

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!.

Movin' Surf dotdot
Studio Jam (Instrumental)

A riff and a suitcase full of studio fill.

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.

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.

Martian Surf dotdot
Studio Jam (Instrumental)

This is just studio made up nothingness.

Roadster Run dot
Studio Jam (Instrumental)

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

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.

T. Roadster Rock 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.

Dancing Mags
Studio Jam (Instrumental)

Boy, is this a studio jam. No direction, horns galore, and, well, just jammin' on a riff.

Racing Waves dot
Studio Jam (Instrumental)

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