Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Shots In The Darkdotdotdot
artworkA varied tribute to Henry Mancini. There are some great tracks, and some drek. King Fuzz is here, along with my perennial faves the Jigsaw Seen and the Insect Surfers, plus Poison Ivy, the Blue Hawaiians, the Huntington Cads and many more. 17 instros and three vocals. Only a couple in the surf camp, but overall a good CD.
Picks: Banzai Pipeline, Baby Elephant Walk, Peter Gunn, Charade, Something For Cat, Mr. Lucky, The Pink Panther Theme, Lonesome, The Party, Monkey Farm, A Shot in the Dark, Touch of Evil, Dreamsville, Push The Button, Max!, Mr. Yunioshi, Arabesque, Experiment in Terror

Track by Track Review

Banzai Pipeline dotdot
Fuzz Lounge (Instrumental)

If lounge is your bag, and you like odd interpretations, then this is just fine. Otherwise, it's a fuzzy so-so track. The arrangement is original and interesting, but its surf value is zero. This is the best quality recording I've heard from the Boardwalkers. The fuzz guitar is used to replace the raspy sax in Henry Mancini's original.

Baby Elephant Walk dotdotdotdot
Fuzz (Instrumental)

Jigsaw Seen are one of my favorite pop-psych bands. They deliver a fuzzy extra cool version of "Baby Elephant Walk." In some ways, it's like a tame Davie Allan, but that might imply a pale imitation, and the would be misleading. It's thick and tribal, with the fuzz guitar subservient to the rhythm and the beat. It ends up being really cool. The howling feedback midstream is more than a little spooky.

Peter Gunn dotdotdotdot
Throbbing Mofo (Instrumental)

Cramps guitarist Poison Ivy provides a cool rendition of "Peter Gunn Theme." Ultra throb and distortion, and more than a little drama, with a very heavy sound. Peter drops his trench coat in favor of becoming a bad mofo.

Charade dotdotdotdot
Lounge Surf (Instrumental)

Those lap steel lounge surfers the Blue Hawaiians deliver a version of "Charade," and it's pretty cool. They are just so slow and measured and pristine! Makes you wanna put on your silk smoking jacket and pretend you know luscious women.

Something For Cat dotdotdot
Lounge Jazz (Instrumental)

Something For Cat is a really jazzy lounge number. A suave and sophisticated Henry Mancini tune.

Mr. Lucky dotdot
Lounge (Instrumental)

I suppose there's as point here. As a revivalist lounge, it's quirky enough, but it does nothing for me.

The Pink Panther Theme dotdot
Lounge (Instrumental)

Too close to the period and style of the original theme in some ways, and in others it's updated slightly. It's well done, but ends up too nondescript.

Lonesome dotdotdot
Moodscapes (Instrumental)

Moody & like a loungie sophisticated version of Scenic.

The Party dotdotdot
Rock Lounge (Instrumental)

A weird performance from the overrated Wondermints on "The Party." It's slushy and weird, but not very memorable.

Monkey Farm dotdot
Lounge (Instrumental)

The Tiki-Tones do their surf lounge best on "Monkey Farm." Slightly tribal, a bit squishy, and slightly monotonous. It's almost exotic, but mostly a progression through riffs without much focus.

A Shot in the Dark dotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Howl (Instrumental)

Dissonant thick dark and dangerous, Whiskey Biscuit make mean with "A Shot in the Dark" until they actually get into the melody, at which time it becomes a big snare club howler... but then there is the cool fuzz wail employed in the second verse, and the spooky midsection. What's intriguing is that it morphs from texture to texture, from power to moody so fluidly. In the end, it's really quite masterful.

Touch of Evil dotdotdot
Sci-Fi Lounge (Instrumental)

In a departure for Man or Astro-MAN?, they strain their usual style through major ping-pong fifties hi-fi stereo on "Touch Of Evil," but the production sadly detracts from the listening. It ends up sounding like it does in the back of large halls with bad acoustics, like listening to the Flamin' Groovies from the street outside the Fillmore. The arrangement is interesting.

Dreamsville dot
Sci-Fi Dreamscape (Instrumental)

Weirdness in the sterile vacuum of space. From the launch forward, this is a lot like a dreamscape from a futurist's view of clone adventuring. It is only the mall sci-fi feel that gets attention, and once recognized, it quickly fades from memory or desire to listen again.

Push The Button, Max! dotdotdot
Backroom Tribal (Instrumental)

Del Noah and the Mount Ararat Finks always take the other road. The sound quality is very ambient, but the playful tribal arrangement makes up for it. Unusual.

Mr. Yunioshi dotdotdotdot
Lounge Surf (Instrumental)

In a most unusual side trip, the Insect Surfers do a "Mr. Moto" intro, then delve right into Henry Mancini's "Mr. Yunioshi" with insect coolness. This is very adventurous and inventive, with real suave slither and surf underpinnings. The excellent damped plucking and double picked slither, and the way cool string bending make this shine. Too much!

Arabesque dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

One of the best tracks here come from the Huntington Cads. "Arabesque" is delivered like it was meant for the waves. The delivery is restrained, which is quite appropriate for this tune. Delicate and reverby, and very well played.

Experiment in Terror dotdotdotdotdot
Biker Fuzz (Instrumental)

King Fuzz himself Davie Allan and the Arrows wail on "Experiment In Terror." Certainly, not as Henry Mancini envisioned it. Masterful guitar work with major wah pedal and several extra guitar lines thrown in for good measure. Fluid and quite differently arranged from Davie's other recordings of this tune.