Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Del-Vamps - Play With Firedotdot
artworkThe performance here range from good to uninspired. The musical selections add up to a Fireballs / Eddie & the Showmen / Shadows songbook. This CD was recorded ambiently, which means the dynamics of the energy are lost, the clarity of the drums is nonexistent, and the uneven mix and boomy aural qualities are sometimes quite annoying. In other words, if you like lo-fi, this is for you. Otherwise, though there are a few tracks worth adding to your library, I'd say pass.
Picks: Yacky Doo, Rik A Tik, Peg Leg, Foot Patter, Drag Strip, Apollo, Undertow, Faraway Places, Roach Coach, Squad Car, Thor Heyerdahl, Mister Lou, Unlisted One

Track by Track Review

Yacky Doo dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Fireballs' track is done with more surf reverb, and a more chunky damped rhythm, but less finesse. Thankfully absent is the chorus. A nice cover.

Rik A Tik dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Fireballs tune, done basically as they did it, not as the Lively Ones did. It is less dynamic than the original, but quite listenable. The drums are so far in the back as to be almost missing, and sound like an ambient recording.

Peg Leg dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Another Fireballs tune, played with extreme gentility. The plucky reverbed plucks are cool. Otherwise, it's pretty tame.

Foot Patter dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Fireballs again contribute the tune, and the Del-Vamps contribute the sound. It seems the recording's muddiness takes some of the life out of this track. It is a well played version, just not as electric as the original.

Drag Strip dotdotdot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

Sounds of hot rods and the drag strip open this simple melody. Garage and quite period appropriate.

Apollo dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This sports a fine melody, and excellent playing. The power chords and the damped lead are quite nice, and the ambient recording doesn't detract too much.

Undertow dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Bitchin'! Heavy low down mean twango whammy and reverb. Moderately paced. Look out for the rocks!

Faraway Places dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the Eddie & the Showman classic, played well, but without the aural clarity that brings out the delicate damped plucks needed in the beginning to really set it up as Eddie did. The drums' sound are annoying and boomy. Otherwise, it's a nice delivery.

Roach Coach dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is Dick Dale's "Taco Wagon," rearranged considerably. I like the idea a lot, and would really like to hear this clearly. I think the subtleness of the changes, and the textures are excellent. The boomy drums get it the way.

Squad Car dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The use of the voice for the siren in Eddie & the Showmen's "Squad Car" is odd, but works. The delivery is very much less energetic than the original hit, even less than the Belairs' original demo. It seems lifeless, and the boomy drums again detract.

Thor Heyerdahl dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This Shadows tune is well played, and mostly overcomes the ambient sound, except when the toms go ballistic and boomy. The guitar is off in the hall somewhere, and the intricacies of a very good performance are almost lost.

Mister Lou dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A growly lead double pick, and ringing chord rhythm add up to a solid arrangement, but are marred by a faltering intro meter and silly vocal chorus that is sung without any soul or energy, again probably the faulty of the recording.

Unlisted One dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A "live" track, unlisted in the sleeve, this is a moderately interesting surf instro, whammy chorded, and chunky.