Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Surfin' Senoritadotdotdotdot
artworkWildeBeest Records has really done it this time! This is an exceptionally good compilation. Not just a cool tribute disc, but a collection of really good music, ranging from the serious to the sublime. Many brilliant bits of arranging, and many splendid performances. I must say that this is just about as cool as it comes. Major fun for the whole family, except for old uncle Ned who doesn't like anything.
Picks: Bittersweet Samba, Surfin' Senorita, Spanish Flea, The Work Song, Mexican Shuffle, Whipped Cream, Struttin' With Maria, A Taste Of Honey, Memories Of Madrid, South Of The Border, Third Man Theme, Lonely Bull, Green Peppers, Wade In The Water, Tijuana Taxi

Track by Track Review

Bittersweet Samba dotdotdotdot
Surf Samba (Instrumental)

The Space Cossacks moved "Bittersweet Samba" from the hallways of A&M to the beaches of Baja. Their arrangement sports the reverb, the cool rhythms, and the happiness of a trek to K-38. Extra swell!

Surfin' Senorita dotdotdotdot
Senorita Surf (Instrumental)

The Insects are always good for a new twist and a well turned heel so to speak. "Surfin' Senorita" is made extra cool with the suave bongos, and the smoothed tone of the Insect Surfers' twin leads brings this from and center for lava lamp fun in a serape.

Spanish Flea dotdotdotdot
Itchy Scratchy Surf (Instrumental)

Pure Surf sounds, ultra playful melody, extra suave delivery, and excellent damped reverbed guitar. "Spanish Flea" is just too infectious for its own good. A must play.

The Work Song dotdotdot
Surf Ska (Instrumental)

Ska comes to your house, with Herb Alpert second cousin on trumpet, or so you might think. This is way WAY fun, partying its way through your livingroom, and pumping to the jumping bean stomp. Too cool. Horns rule here, but hey, it's a TJB tribute, right?

Mexican Shuffle dotdotdotdot
Suave Surf (Instrumental)

What a cool track. More Hawaiian tone than Mexican, with a spiffy rockabilly shuffle beat, and a mighty playful Mexican melody. This brings a grin to the even the most morose among us. Happy and innocent, and prancing under a serape.

Whipped Cream dotdotdot
Surf Topping (Instrumental)

The organ (or modulated guitar?) is not a fave for me, but if you get into the cheese of Herb Alpert, then why not dig the dementia here? It's really very fun and the sorta thing that you don't play with a straight face. Even vibes are here. I think this reeks more of the Baja Marimba Band than TJB, but hey, the difference there is just more serapes and black cigars.

Struttin' With Maria dotdotdot
Kraut Polka a la Mexicano Surf (Instrumental)

Yikes, Kraut Polka a la Mexicano... The delayed effected guitar is a really nice counterpoint to this happy melody. The trad Mexican polka beat is just too cheesy. My hat's off to Herman the German.

A Taste Of Honey dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Halibuts have been doing this tune for 15 years or so. It is less playful and ska based than it was in the last decade, but still sports an infectious filigree and drama interplay. Like an elevator at the beach, where gentle tones are interspersed with funky percussion.

Memories Of Madrid dotdotdotdot
Swimming Surf (Instrumental)

One of the most improved bands on the scene today delivers an exceptional and serious rendering of "Memories Of Madrid." This is a real piece of surf music, perfect with or without the theme of this disc. Excellent double picking and solid drive.

South Of The Border dotdotdotdot
Fluid Surf (Instrumental)

There just ain't no getting around the spectacular sound of Pollo Del Mar. Their twin guitar attack straddles dissonant discordant edge and pristine shimmering joy. This is totally tubular, happy and free of borders. The second half drops into a very cool hand clap rhythm and bass thing with much suavity. Way cool.

Third Man Theme dotdotdotdot
Serio-silly Surf (Instrumental)

I've heard a billion versions of this film score. None have ever captured my attention beyond curiosity. This actually rocks and wades in the water at the edge of the beach. The big glissandoes are so perfectly out of place that they rip you to shreds. Very VERY suave. Amazingly fun.

Lonely Bull dotdotdotdot
El Toro Surf (Instrumental)

With all of the horn parts transposed for guitar, and really good musicianship, this version of "Lonely Bull" ranks among the very vest. From its shimmering vibrato break and gloriously pristine leads, to its acoustic rhythms and perfect percussion and bass underpinning, this simply commands your respect. very nice. No caca de toro here.

Green Peppers dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The title suggest the Northwest sound they sometimes used, but "Green Chili" a.k.a. "Green Peppers" is a splendid surf instro with a gentle gate and flow. Exceptionally cool rhythm and chunk. Fine guitar work on both lead and rhythm. Big grin!

Wade In The Water dotdotdotdotdot
Hipwader Surf (Instrumental)

Fuzzed and smoothly delivered, this is the most interesting cover of this since Harvey Mandel. Excellent percussion, cool double picked guitar, and smooth distortion. The reverb kicks are too cool. Yikes!

Tijuana Taxi dotdotdotdot
Transportation Surf (Instrumental)

I think that the best version of this was by the Hollywood Persuaders. However, replacing the horns with near banjo tones is more than a poor boy can bear. Bernard Yin's sense of humor shines through the recording... you can just see his grin. The car horns are really ugly.