Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA Collection: Surfbeat Behind The Iron Curtain [Planetary Pebbles Vol 1]
|A miss-titled compilation of mostly instrumental material from the eastern block... mistitled because there's no surf here. Some Shadows style material, and a stray reverb guitar in the background now and then. It's all from vinyl.|
Picks: Pe Linga Plopii Fara Sot, Beginning Of Autumn, Theme From Unfinished Symphony, Komandosi, The Saint, Return Of Gemini, Sputniks Thema, African Guitar, Nocny Alarm, Crazy Guitars, Leicht Verdreht, The Bumble Beat, Corso, Lucifer In Coelis, Twistin Safari, Aladin, Take Blya Moja, In Gara La Leordeni, Werwo's Rock, Colorado, Javalins Rock, Melodie Fur Barbara, Wipe Out, The Coach
Track by Track Review
Sub Surf (Instrumental)
Go-go beat guitar and organ track, with little melody. Lurking way down in the mix, almost invisible, is a lone surf guitar that utters the occasional glissando and has good tone. A different mix would have yielded a much better track. The performance is spirited. Play it anyway, just for the rarity.
Thin guitar sounds, more like a pop song backtrack. It has a melody line, dry guitars, galloping rhythms, and church organ. The lead guitar is more subdued than it should be, mix wise. It's pretty, but not remarkable.
Theme From Unfinished Symphony
Major Shadows / Atlantics influences from this Japanese band. There's a pomp and circumstance quality to this track. It has an odd melody, and a wood block quirkiness to it.
Folk Rock (Instrumental)
Chunky B-side kinda mid sixties filler track. Harmonica lead, chunky rhythm guitar, like a Everpresent Fullness (Paul Johnson) instro, but with less flair. I enjoyed it, but it's just not surf-wise, with the exception of the bass glissandoes.
Shadows inspired, big kettle drums, choppy Jimmy Smith organ, and a fun melody.
With orchestral accompaniment, a piano lead, and a total MOR feel, this is fun but unmentionable in the same sentence as surf, until the arrival of the bridge, at which point, a Shadows-surf guitar slithers in for a surprise. Major studio musician stuff, I'd say.
Fast Shadows / Atlantics track, with total tom-tom action, and an infectious melody. A very nice Euro guitar track.
Why this is called "African Guitar" is a mystery, considering the complete lack of anything even remotely African in the track. It is a Shadows-like track, upper-mid tempo, fun, and quite listenable. There's enough twang to make it work.
Organ, mid sixties go-go mung, brass and all.
Spotniks Style (Instrumental)
Sounding a lot like the Sptoniks or some clone, this track is not terribly interesting. Not much melody, and it reeks of single B-side filler circa 1965.
Like fifties American Midwestern B-side instros, it has little melody, few changes, and little interest. The guitar work in places is nice, but over all, it doesn't get it.
Bumbly bee fuzzisto rendering of "Bumble Boogie" (and so many other re-names). It is interesting as a fuzz monster, though the sax's fifties style seems at odds with the rest of the track. Quirky cool. No surf, but I can't help myself.
Organ rhythm track, guitar lead lines, whammy dips, more shiny than the usual Shadows thing, structured accordingly. Like a preconception Laika and the Cosmonauts. The horns suck!
Euro Bop (Instrumental)
Jeepers, what funny Euro bop, with motorboat lip action from a vocalist, and fifties sax work. Oom pa pa twang. Weird.
Fifties backtrack under semi-surfy guitar. Very Euro sounding.
MOR keys, MOR guitars... Where's Buddy Merrill when you need him?
Take Blya Moja
Go-go club R&B back track claptrap.
In Gara La Leordeni
Stax-Volt fuzz go-go guitar yada yada.
With a fifties guitar sound, a fifties boogie beat, and occasional whammies and surfy sounds, it's a mixed bag of non melodic jams.
Galloping horse rhythm track, soulful organ, and uninspired solo guitar leads. It wants to be a cowboy hit, but can't stop a pedestrian passing by.
This has appeared before on White Label comps. It's a gutty fifties rant. Not very melodic, but quite chunky and energetic. It could pass for a surf song within certain contexts.
Near Surf (Instrumental)
Indian riff reverbed guitar, tom toms behind, and fun sounds. Pretty darn surfy, probably the most surfy thing on this compilation. The catchy melody helps carry it. A nice mellow track.
UK kettle drum and bongos surf misunderstanding with fuzz lead. Odd, but so what. It is on CD elsewhere from the master tapes.
MOR mung guitar and quirk. It could be surfed up. Near polka with squeeze box and keys. Party favor only.