Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Dick Dale - Calling Up Spiritsdotdot
artworkThis is the worst yet. I don't want to be totally negative, but this might just as well have never been issued. Dick continues his slide into mediocrity, with more and more re-recordings and weaker and weaker links to dead rock stars who can't object. We're also treated to a couple of really horrible vocals... I mean, Fever for Christ's sake! I'll bet it's a while before Beggars Banquet releases another Dick Dale record. The artwork says everything you need to know - it looks like the sort of thing you used to see on the side of low-rider vans, and of course his hair is jet black... I'm sorry Dick, but this is not a good CD, and you're way more talented than this. I have an idea... how about recording some SURF MUSIC? As the British would say, God save the King (from himself)!
Picks: Nitrus, The Wedge Paradiso, The Pit, Fever, Doom Box, Catamount, Window, Calling Up The Spirits, Temple Of Gizen, Bandito, Third Stone From The Sun, Peppermint Man, Gypsy Fire

Track by Track Review


Nitrus dotdot
Not (Instrumental)

As if you couldn't tell from the name, it's a "Nitro" wannabe. Originality has left the building.

The Wedge Paradiso dotdotdot
Not (Instrumental)

The fifth version of "The Wedge" that Dick has recorded. It's pretty powerful, solid actually. Dick didn't like the Capital sessions, but that post "A Run For Life" version is still the best, seconded by his 1981 Golden Bear performance.

The Pit dotdot
Not (Instrumental)

Another version of "Shake 'N' Stomp."

Fever dot
Not (Vocal)

This is the worst thing in recent memory. It's not just a sappy fifties torch song, it's badly sung and poorly arranged. An embarrassment.

Doom Box dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A totally derivative variation on his variation to the intro to "What's I Say" he used in the sixties, repeated over and over and over...

Catamount dotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

A slow R&B walking run, a riff and a shuffle, with no particular character.

Window dot
Not (Vocal)

A pompous vocal number, boring and insipid.

Calling Up The Spirits dot
Dick Talk (Vocal)

Well, a bit of Indian percussion, a bunch of whoops and hollers, and some narration over the top don't make for interesting surf music. Cattle drive is more the image invoked. A cool idea, but underdeveloped. Dick's spoken word here detracts from the track.

Temple Of Gizen dotdotdot
Not (Instrumental)

A classical intro and a nifty semi-melody with great tone and way too many Dickisms on the guitar. The stop-start stuff doesn't cut it.

Bandito dotdotdot
Not (Instrumental)

A listenable track, but it's mostly a progression and a lot of Dick's showoff licks.

Third Stone From The Sun dotdotdot
Not (Instrumental)

OK, but way too many Dickisms on the old Strat. According to interviews, Jimi Hendrix saw Dick play a couple of times, and was inspired because they were both left handed playing right handed guitars upside down without restringing. Otherwise, they never met as far as I can tell. Before Jimi's death, Dick told me that he had "heard the Jimi learned from me, but I don't know." Nowadays, Jimi was his dear friend. Go figure. The spoken intro is just plain garbage.

Peppermint Man dot
Not (Vocal)

Alonzo Willis' classic R&B obscuro was a hit for Dick as the A-side of "Surf Beat" in '62. It was terrible, but somehow was so endearing that it didn't matter. Now, on his fourth rerecording of it, it has lost all it's charm. The keyboards are really lame sounding. Sorry, but I don't like this at all.

Gypsy Fire dotdotdotdot
Not (Instrumental)

A spirited intro and infectious tune. Good listening.