Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Dick Dale - Tribal Thunderdotdotdot
artworkNot all that I would have hoped for, but given Dick's live shows, this is the sound of what Dick wants to call Dick Rock as he tries to distance himself from the King Of The Surf Guitar label. Mostly pretty good to strong, a few weak points. It's good to see the King back in the studio and away from his King of the Surf Guitar, Father of Heavy Metal trip. Dick covers a lot, both others and his earlier work. He has been unhappy with the sound of his old recordings forever, but I'm not convinced that is the cause. Dick's new material has a decided "Native American" angle, in name at least. None the less, this is a good CD.
Picks: Nitro, The New Victor, Esperanza, Shredded Heat, Trail Of Tears, Caravan, Speardance, Hot Links (Medley: Caterpillar Crawl / Rumble), The Long Ride, Tribal Thunder, Miserlou, The Eliminator

Track by Track Review


Nitro dotdotdotdot
Not (Instrumental)

This track has become Dick's anthem for the 90s. A lot of bands are covering it, because it's fast and infectious, even though there's little melody. It's a hot track, and Dick's playing is superb.

The New Victor dotdotdot
Not (Instrumental)

Dick's third recording of this extremely simple Middle Eastern rager. It's a great song. This version is more powerful than but not as intense or interesting as his original Capital session.

Esperanza dotdotdotdot
Not (Instrumental)

Dick Dale has been wowing the new Surf fans with his legend and guitar showmanship. "Esperanza" is one of his few new tunes, and it's a really cool Latin thing with a nice rambling listenability. There's a ton written about Dick, so I'll leave it there, except to say that this is a great track.

Shredded Heat dotdot
Not (Instrumental)

Dick's "What'd I Say" riff worked into yet another song that he's been playing for a while, also known as "Desert Storm." It's repetitious.

Trail Of Tears dotdot
Not (Instrumental)

A long drum intro yields to a moody number that's not very Indian and not very melodic. Sets the mood and then does little with it.

Caravan dotdotdot
Not (Instrumental)

This intro is boring, but the body of the track is high energy... really fast guitar picking. Dick stood on stage at his second show at Slim's in San Francisco where he played Ellington's classic, and on completion declared he'd just written it, but didn't know what to call it, to which someone yelled back "How About Caravan!" It's a decent version, but I'm still most partial to the Al Casey version.

Speardance dotdotdot
Not (Instrumental)

Also known as "Spanish Kiss," "F-16," and "Niterider," the chant-like guitar work with Indian whoops is not very interesting.

Hot Links (Medley: Caterpillar Crawl / Rumble) dotdotdot
Not (Instrumental)

Like you might guess from the title, there's a modicum of Link Wray here. Dick has medleyed the Strangers' "Caterpillar Crawl" with Link's "Rumble" to good effect. It's a merger he's been using live for a number of years.

The Long Ride dotdotdot
Not (Instrumental)

The chants of "Dick Dale" are priceless... absurd, but priceless. They ruin what is arguably the best thing Dick's written since '65.

Tribal Thunder dotdotdot
Not (Instrumental)

The 3rd rerecording of Bo Diddley's "Hush Your Mouth," first as "Jungle Fever," then as "Surfing Drums," and now as "Tribal Thunder." Not as interesting as either earlier version.

Miserlou dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Uncredited "mystery track" out at the end of the CD. It's an acoustic version with soft drums, and is version number five for the Dickster. Interesting as an aside, but not remarkable.

The Eliminator dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dick's second recording of "Mr. Eliminator," fourth if you include the two versions he recorded for MTV Europe. Good, but not great.