Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: The Big Hits Of Mid-Americadotdotdot
artworkThis is an utterly amazing compilation, and the fulfillment of a dream. The incredible Soma label out of Minneapolis was the premier indie of the Midwest. They are probably best known for the incredibly popular Trashmen, but their roster also included the likes of many bands who's singles graced the top 40 charts of the adventurous radio stations that played garage bands in the early to mid sixties. I remember hearing many of these tracks on KLIV 1590 in San Jose.

The Soma label is named after owner Amos Heilicher. His far reaching label was the national launch pad for Minneapolis' best bands, and the gathering place of the cream of the indie band scene of the frozen Midwest. You may recognize many of the names like the High Spirits, the Gestures, the Titans, the Castaways, the Messengers, and the Unbelievable Uglies.

This 2 CD set includes an incredible booklet detailing every track. The disc contains several fine instros, and is a must have for the sixties garage scene collector as well. Soma is "Amos" spelled backwards.
Picks: The Grind, The Noplace Special, Gary's Tune, Summer Place, Ridin' High

Track by Track Review

The Grind dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This club jam features a churchy organ playing a Pacific Northwest kinda riff, and frat shoutin' for the party goers. Not as interesting as Dave Lewis' material which will identify the genre for you.

The Noplace Special dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This fantastic track is from 1963. It was coupled with "Reveille Rock" as a single. The band's new lead guitarist Rick Colborn flies about the guitar at breakneck speed with incredible accuracy. This tune is pure surf except for the lack of reverb. Stellar, infectious, and entirely cool.

Gary's Tune dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This track illustrates the lack of focus and melody so common if filler instros, riff rock backtracks, and amateur writing. It's pointless.

Summer Place dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Titans deliver another stellar surf interpretation of a standard film score, Percy Faith's "Theme From A Summer Place." This has the same kind of charm as their original "Surfers' Lullaby." The strong melody and super clean sound create a mighty friendly mid-to-slow and romantic track. Great!

Ridin' High dotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

A marginally interesting organ and jazz guitar jammin' R&B based instro inspired by Bill Dogget's "Honky Tonk." Not significant.