Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Surfbeat Behind The Iron Curtain Part 2 [Planetary Pebbles Vol 2]dotdotdot
artworkPart two of this series is much like volume one, but with more vocal content and less surf related material. There is some near surf. Much better than volume one, this has some enjoyable moments, some inklings that the surf sound had been heard behind the Iron Curtain. While there are some interesting tracks, for the most part it demonstrates why these artists' material weren't smuggled out. It's all from vinyl.
Picks: Torpedo, Perfido, Scary Night, Winnetou, So Much Love, I Am Comin' Home Baby, The West Wind, Spanish Gypsy Dance, Steps In The Sand, Puzsta Beat, Party Time, Play With The Maiden, Hackepeter

Track by Track Review

Torpedo dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Russia's Swingin' Guitars play a chunky rhythmic bit of chop that is much more a progression than a song. There's a lead guitar buried in the mix playing what is mostly a noodle. It's pretty infectious due to the dominant damped rhythm guitar chop, but otherwise is merely obscure.

Perfido dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Is this a cover of the Shadows' "Savage"? In any event, it's a slightly fast track with a strong Euro melody and a better mix than its A-side. The male chorus is a bit much, but otherwise, it's pretty cool.

Scary Night dotdotdot
Space Rock (Instrumental)

East Germany's Satelliten deliver a solid number in the mold of "Telstar," but with guts derived from an intense vibrato guitar. In some ways, it's the sort of thing that the Ultras might have done, not far from their arrangement of "Telstar." There's a sax break, and a nasty edge to the guitar tone. Very cool.

Winnetou dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

From Czechoslovakia came this band. Their sound was s cross between real reverb surf and traditional European instro. The melody is fluid, and the guitar tone switched back and forth between a splashy surf reverb and a delayed Euro tone. Nifty.

So Much Love dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Another east German band delivers a pretty poppy guitar instro. It's very short, but sports slight surfy underpinnings.

I Am Comin' Home Baby dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

The Mefistos were from the Czechoslovakia. Their sound is sax based and sultry, with surf whammy guitar as the second instrument. This track has the sort of moody waterfront edge that the Viscounts pioneered, just not as sultry. The organ break is sorta mal music store.

The West Wind dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Polish instro makers the Taifuns cut a playful rug with this Euro sounding number. It opens with a cold wind from the west. The guitar is semi surfy, but not quite there. The rockabilly skiffle beat behind the overbearing bass adds a rockin' thunder, while the vibrato brings out more edge.

Spanish Gypsy Dance dotdotdotdot
Cossack Near Surf (Instrumental)

East German band the "Spanish Gypsy Dance" play this Cossack ballad with shine and joy. It's pretty spiffy. The rhythm is infectious and the melody wonderfully warm. Invoking images of village dances, this plays on the senses like the shadows cast from an open fire.

Steps In The Sand dotdotdot
Big Band Lounge (Instrumental)

Czechoslovakian Karel Duba rocks with some late forties big band sense and some early fifties Bill Haley rockisms. It has no particular character that sets it apart. The quirky guitar stingers are cool, and it has a sort of pre-lounge feel. Something here won't let go.

Puzsta Beat dotdotdot
Klezmer Surf (Instrumental)

A strange almost Klezmer feel to this track makes nice with your sense of humor while baffling your judgment. Quite fun.

Party Time dotdotdot
Mall Combo Lounge (Instrumental)

Totally weird, from the cutesy electronics to the over delayed guitar. This has all the charm and wit of the high school band. Only the interspersed guitar separates it from the go-go junk pile.

Play With The Maiden dotdotdot
Almost Surf (Instrumental)

Rumanian band Sincron play a grodie damped low-E guitar number that straddles the Euro-American fence in style. It's more than just friendly. It approaches surf in some ways, mostly where the guitar becomes damped, though echo is the effect used. It's a nice little track.

Hackepeter dotdotdot
Memphis Combo (Instrumental)

East Germany's T. Schumann Combo cur this cover of Booker T. and the MG's "Hip Hug Her." It's a little grodier, a little thicker, and a lot more mall.