Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Various Artists - Lemme Take You To The Beachdotdotdotdot
artworkGrin required, and check your attitude hat at the door. This is a consistently good disc, with many styles and ideas. each band integrates the Zappa sound into their own, spinning webs of humor and quirkiness, art and style. Innovative, adventurous, and very good.
Picks: Lumpy Gravy, Let's Make The Water Turn Black, The Orange County Lumber truck, Letter From Jeepers, Memories Of El Monte, Jewish Princess, G-Spot Tornado, Baby Snakes, We Are Not Alone, Zoot Allures, I Ain't Got No Heart, Love Of My Life, Any Way The Wind Blows, I'm Not Satisfied, You're Probably Wondering Why I'm Here, Lumpy Gravy, Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance, Aybe Sea, Peaches En Regalia, Willie The Pimp, Mr. Green Genes, King Kong, Cruising For Burgers, The Air, Lemme Take You To The Beach

Track by Track Review


Lumpy Gravy dotdotdotdot
Zappa Surf (Instrumental)

Perhaps the most surf oriented thing the Spoilers have cut, their interpretation of "Lumpy Gravy" is quite right. The essence of the song is captured and reconstituted in a light hearted surf romp. Very cool!

Let's Make The Water Turn Black dotdotdotdot
Zappa Surf (Instrumental)

The nuclear flying insects of surf do a really credible surf interpretation of "Let's Make The Water Turn Black." It almost prances at times, and always rolls with a light forward motion. I really like this!

The Orange County Lumber truck dotdotdotdot
Zappa Surf (Instrumental)

The shorebreak laps the shore, and from there, the surf is left behind. With a sort of Nice meets early Rare Bird in search of budding Genesis format, this disturbed coastal treatment is really quite interesting and enduring. Very nice arrangement.

Letter From Jeepers dotdotdotdot
Zappa Surf (Instrumental)

Dark and hinting of POP (Pacific Ocean Park, a legendary seaside amusement park from the day), "Letter From Jeepers" takes on of Zappa's silliest early vocal things and turns it into an after dark nightmare. Very inventive!

Memories Of El Monte dotdotdotdotdot
Doo Wop Surf (Instrumental)

Frank Zappa's doo wop groove "Memories Of El Monte" works really well as a surf instro! Lush and fluid, with a bit of narrative and a partial verse of the original song tagged onto the end. Who'da thunk?

Jewish Princess dotdotdotdot
Zappa Surf (Instrumental)

Heavy on thump and garage, leaning on Mexican rock 'n' roll of the glory days of Los Apson a bit, and with an odd phase-shifted sort of ambiance, Sr. Bikini has created an original sound and solid surf arrangement of this song.

G-Spot Tornado dotdotdotdot
Zappa Surf (Instrumental)

Glissandoes, poppy sounds and arranging, near-silly percussiveness - OK, but it's really kinda catchy. I'll go so far as to say that this is the kind of song you might want to dislike, but can't. I love the piano!

Baby Snakes dotdotdot
Zappa Surf (Instrumental)

Slow and sorta moe-derne, Don's Mobile Barbers lumber along in a semi-dark electro oddity that's compelling, yet ambient (genre, not recording). Programmed yet human.

We Are Not Alone dotdotdotdot
Zappa Surf (Instrumental)

Santa Cruz's Concaves do a very surf version of Zappa's "We Are Not Alone." Plenty of reverb, damped rhythms, and spooky leads as they are known for. A very interesting arrangement!

Zoot Allures dotdotdot
Zappa Surf (Instrumental)

This is a jazzy aquatic arrangement, like maybe Zappa himself jamming with Tom Curren's Ocean Aces. Spooky, fusional, and spatial.

I Ain't Got No Heart dotdotdotdot
Zappa Surf (Instrumental)

Hmm... I think the arrangement is a lot like some of the eighties surfbands, like a slowed Tommy and the Piers or Ripp Tides, maybe a little Living Daylights, perhaps some Surfin' Tapeworms From Venus, and even a touch of the Romans or their predecessor the Tikis. These are all pretty obscure acts, but they sure come to mind here. Thin, yet endearing, with a light hearted, almost bouncy energy.

Love Of My Life dotdotdotdot
Zappa Surf (Instrumental)

Pretty surfy chords with organ swirls and dry lead over a surf beat, the Muffinmates makes "Love Of My Life" over into a glissando exercise. This is an interesting way of converting it to the curl.

Any Way The Wind Blows dotdotdotdot
Zappa Surf (Instrumental)

Interesting how the Diamondheads has shimmered this out. Surf, but not intensely so, with the melody allowed to carry the focus instead of a strong surf rhythm. It's quite a good arrangement and bears multiple listenings!

I'm Not Satisfied dotdotdotdot
Zappa Surf (Instrumental)

Those just slightly off balance Urban Surf Kings do a full surf arrangement of this early Mothers Of Invention song such that it sounds like it was written to be done this way. More than just a cover, "I'm Not Satisfied" is a work of innovation.

You're Probably Wondering Why I'm Here dotdotdotdot
Zappa Surf (Instrumental)

From the first Mothers Of Invention album, "You're Probably Wondering Why I'm Here" went from tape echo mental floss with doo-wop leanings and drug danger to a fuzz and organ piece that's very VERY endearing. Sometimes like early garage psych, sometimes very modern, and always cool!

Lumpy Gravy dotdotdotdot
Zappa Surf (Instrumental)

Frank Zappa's "Lumpy Gravy" is probably as trad as it gets. Double picked, with organ underneath, and lots of grins. Melodic and very playful. This is really fine!

Take Your Clothes Off When You Dance dotdotdot
Zappa Surf (Instrumental)

Phase sifted ambiance and affects, voices swirly... that's the intro. The guitar plays a fuzz melody line. This is a pop kind of arrangement with glissandoes added. If you're familiar with the brilliant Pollo Del Mar version, you won't find any similarities. It's unusual.

Aybe Sea dotdotdotdot
Zappa Surf (Instrumental)

Heavy fuzz and drums, drama and magic. A bit of psych and swirl, a touch of garage, a taste of surf, and great drums. This works quite well, like a Fillmore refugee 40 years later.

Peaches En Regalia dotdotdotdotdot
Zappa Surf (Instrumental)

You can't do a Zappa tribute without including Pollo Del Mar. They have been morphing his sounds for over a decade. This is their latest conquest, and it's naturally a splendid exploration in sound. Great drums, fine guitar work, solid bass, and an excellent psycho arrangement. Soaring and engaging.

Willie The Pimp dotdotdotdot
Zappa Surf (Instrumental)

I wondered is "Willie The Pimp" would get the treatment? I always liked this song, whether the Captain Beefheart vocal with Zappa original, or the intensely growly Juicy Lucy version. This is a little repetitious, yet magically engaging. A touch of rockabilly, a smack of blues rock, and the Vivisectors' own brand of surf.

Mr. Green Genes dotdotdotdot
Zappa Surf (Instrumental)

Always inventive, the Thurston Lava Tube employ dirty fuzz, haunting sixties psych organ, and watery guitar over a morphed surf beat and groovy bass to reinvent "Mr. Green Genes" to be a kind of vacation anthem. Very cool!

King Kong dotdotdotdot
Zappa Surf (Instrumental)

Lumbering bass, jazzy horn circulations, improv sounds, intense fuzz, keys... this reminds me somewhat of Phil Manzanera and Keith Jarret in their days together in Quiet Sun. This is a very cool jazzy fusion prog take on Zappa. The word jazz section is perhaps at odds with the coolness of the rest, or maybe it's perfect.

Cruising For Burgers dotdotdotdot
Zappa Surf (Instrumental)

I haven't heard anything from R. Stevie Moore since the so-funny "Miss Placement." Cool, mid tempo, programmed, a little disturbed as required, variable and quirky... yup, it's from the mind of R. Stevie Moore.

The Air dotdotdotdot
Zappa Surf (Instrumental)

Long whammy chords, faux Hawaiian guitar, island vacation gone slightly awry, and some very cool grin-inducing ideas. Very satisfying!

Lemme Take You To The Beach dotdotdotdot
Zappa Surf (Vocal)

This is like a cross between the Doors, the California sound (Beach Boys, et al), and the doo-wop roots of Mr. Zappa. Really creative, a little quirky, and with a shredding double picked run up the middle. Way fun!