Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Jerry Cole and his Chasers - Back To The Boardsdotdotdot
artworkBack To The Boards is a mixed bag of tracks with surf reference and exquisite playing. Some songs are very good, others just so-so. The arrangements vary from lush and easy to infectious driving music. the tracks I like here, I like a lot. All of these tracks are originals, except for The Doors' "Riders On The Storm" and "The Strand."
Picks: Last Wave, Todos Santos, Longboards, Surfin' Matador, Wave Chaser, At The Beach, Riders On The Storm, (Road To) San Felipe, Highway 1, Aqui No Mas (Here No More), Jeffrey's Bay, Maverick, Blue Wave, The Strand

Track by Track Review

Last Wave dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The glissandos are kinda interesting here, and the break more surf and engaging than the rest of the track. The melody is very nice. The arrangement seems to be very slick, and some distance from surf, except in the sense of surf film music and in imagery.

Todos Santos dotdotdotdot
Spanish Surf (Instrumental)

Spanish guitars and a lovely melody portray a lush and exotic vision while the percussion gallops across the sands. "Todos Santos" grows on you. It's a very good track, with an engaging sound and arrangement. I like this a lot.

Longboards dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The overdone echo in "Longboards" seems gimmicky to me, distracting from the composition. The Bo Diddley beat is cool, but the song's direction seems lacking to me, more like riff rock than a song. The break is lifted virtually verbatim from "Who Do You Love" without credit.

Surfin' Matador dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

There's a soft, almost vacation sunset air about "Surfin' Matador" that's pleasant. The melody is really nice, and the classic horns fitting. I'm not enamored with the arrangement, but I think the song is very good. This is romantic and easy going.

Wave Chaser dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Spooky ambiance and a "Concrete And Clay" beat run beneath a nicely developed melody. "Wave Chaser" is a bit repetitious, but it's also dramatic and scenic. Great for a coastal drive, but perhaps a bit tedious for focused listening. The delicate parts are really quite nice, as are the transitions back into the main theme.

At The Beach dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

With island whammy and delicate tremolo, "At The Beach" slowly flows in a sundown walk on the sands kinda way. Pretty and soothing, with a lovely melody.

Riders On The Storm dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Riders On The Storm" is nothing like The Doors' original from an aural perspective, which perhaps is a good thing. The textures and drama are interesting. The trembling keys play the rolling glissandos as they should. The mood seems much less emotional and misty. Only expectation born of the original stands in the way of this striking you immediately as being really cool. Quite nice.

(Road To) San Felipe dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

An infectious beat and very good melody are layered with complimentary guitar lines. While "(Road To) San Felipe" seems polished, it's also blessed with smooth edge that creates a kind of tension. Great drums.

Highway 1 dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Inspired by Duane Eddy's "Forty Miles Of Bad Road" in both beat, arrangement, and melody, this is nonetheless a fun track. If you're not familiar with its inspiration, you won't be struck by the derivative nature of the track. Well done.

Aqui No Mas (Here No More) dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Aqui No Mas (Here No More)" is spooky and a bit disturbed via the guitar effects used on the second guitar. The lead melody is sad and moody. I like how this develops, and the beat is a slow galloping thing that's very compelling. It's a bit of a blend of psychedelic and surf and western. Drama and sophisticated rock.

Jeffrey's Bay dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Jeffrey's Bay" has a spaghetti western feel to it, both melodically and structurally. The drums are great, and the overall effect quite good. I didn't expect I'd like it, but it grew on me pretty quickly. Nice track with sophisticated drama and arranging.

Maverick dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This track sports great drums and a moving feeling that's well suited for a drive down highway 1. "Maverick" is adventurous and warm. The whammy chords are inviting and the rhythm compelling. Very cool.

Blue Wave dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This moves really slowly, with moody bass and watery guitar. There's a bit of sadness and mystery, maybe a touch of Spanish modes, and lovely guitar work. It's funny, but the song is very visual and effective, yet left me a little flat. The funny thing is that the guitar work is really beautiful.

The Strand dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Whammy chords and a nifty beat drive this wonderful Jonathan Marmelzat and Ron Atchison composition. The infectious rhythm and whammy chords really hook you in, and the melody is warm and adventurous. I'm quite sure I've heard this under a different title from a SoCal surfband, but don't recall what or who at the moment. Seems like it's a decade a go or so. That aside, this is a wonderful track.