Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Jan Davis - Guitar Legacy - Blast From The Pastdot
artworkThe sources used for this release are very bad, mostly if not all vinyl with pops and clicks. The mono tracks have lots of stereo cartridge artifacts, and the mp3 generation was often flawed. Too bad, cuz this is an interesting collection with some tracks Davis issued under created band names, like the Ricco-Shays "Damascus." It's also from vinyl that wasn't restored first. So, cool song, but not worth your ears.

I cannot recommend you bother with this unless it gets remastered properly.
Picks: Fugitive, Bullfight Song, Malaguena, Delicado, Sabre Rock, The Time Tunnel, Walk, Don't Run, Raunchy, In The Year 2525, Funky Mudd, Muddy River, Toledo, Aquarius, Bolero, Gypsy Fox, Damascus

Track by Track Review


Fugitive dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Among Jan Davis' best singles, "Fugitive" is more surf and fluid than just about any version of this song from sixties. Tight, with great drums, and exceptionally good guitar licks for a studio session, this track merits more than a casual listen.

Bullfight Song dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Bullfight Song" is an interesting song, but the mastering for mp3 is so horrible that it's really hard to listen to. It's brash and harsh and compressed beyond reason. It's also from vinyl that wasn't restored first. So, cool song, but not worth your ears.

Malaguena dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a pretty fun version of "Malaguena" with Spanish trumpets and castanets. The source is very bad - vinyl with pops and clicks, and mono with lots of stereo cartridge artifacts. Too bad, cuz it's a cool track.

Delicado dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

I think this session was Carol Kaye & The Hitmen, with Jan Davis on the lead. The standard was transmuted into a near rock song with a pretty cool sound. Again, the mastering and mp3 translation are dreadful.

Sabre Rock dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a really interesting version of Aram Ilich Khachaturian's "Sabre Dance," played at a much slower place than most covers, and with muted lead guitar, giving it a chicken rock sound. This very cool take is marred by a poor vinyl source and awful mp3 sound.

The Time Tunnel dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

A clock sets off the track. Organ led in a kind of light weight Tornados vein, "The Time Tunnel" is based on a circular riff. Great drums and solid production, and better than average for an organ lead track, but just so-so on the memorable scale.

Walk, Don't Run dot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a somewhat country variation on the Ventures' version, with strings and horns added. While pretty unusual, it also won't bring you back at all. The source is vinyl. The sound is dull.

Raunchy
Surf (Instrumental)

"Raunchy" is sludgy and low brow, with tremolo guitar lead and a Tony Joe White wannabe sort of arrangement. It's a completely unusual arrangement, but not particularly cool. The vinyl source and stereo artifacts render it unlistenable.

In The Year 2525 dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a fascinating arrangement, Country whine, acoustic lead, strings, moody bass and drums. It gives the song ll new character. The sound is muddy.

Funky Mudd
Surf (Instrumental)

A relentless studio jam backtrack and distortion country guitar plays a jam and noodle in the break. The mono source is bad and the stereo artifacts and mp3 sound really make this dismissible.

Muddy River dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Horns and an orchestral sound in the vein of "In The Year 2525," but a lot less interesting. Kinda dull sounding.

Toledo dot
Surf (Instrumental)

Jeez, "Toledo" is cruddy sounding, and not very interesting either. The playing seems to be pretty stiff, and the drums are muddy, almost cardboard sounding. Really awful stereo artifacts and pops and vinyl clicks.

Aquarius dot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a really pedestrian cover of "Aquarius." The acoustic guitar is interesting, but this is what's wrong with studio sessions in general.

Bolero dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a very creative arrangement of Maurice Ravel's "Bolero" with pumping funky bass and acoustic guitar and bongos and all manner of studio fills. The stereo artifacts are not too bad, but still there, and the highs are all washed out.

Gypsy Fox
Surf (Instrumental)

This sure is commercial sounding, and the stereo artifacts are so bad that you could mistake them for stereo sound if you're paying attention. Horrid sound and an uninteresting track.

Damascus dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Crunchy rhythm guitar, echoplexed lead, and a semi Middle Eastern melody. Not very exotic, not surfy, and not very infectious, though it could really be surfed up by a solid band like the Space Cossacks. I can hear the chunk now! Unfortunately, the source and mp3 generation are not very good, and the stereo artifacts were not removed.