Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Duo-Tones - Surf Music Unpluggeddotdotdot
artworkThis is an acoustic project from Paul Johnson (Belairs, Everpleasant Fullness, Packards, etc.) and Gil Orr (Chantays). Some of these tracks are newly penned, while some others have been given acoustic treatment before. It's a nice diversion from the electric reverb, but I didn't find that it held my attention for very long, aside from "The Wedge." Exquisite playing, of course... these two guys are masters. Acoustic guitar just doesn't portray the surf very well for me.
Picks: Crystal-T, Mr. Moto, Baja, Apache, Walk, Don't Run, Baja Nights, Hide Away, Outside, Scratchy, Last Date, Kamikaze, California Dreamin', Pipeline, Song For My Father, Beach City Bop, The Lonely Bull, The Wedge, More Love, More Power, Last Night At Waikiki

Track by Track Review


Crystal-T dotdotdot
Acoustic (Instrumental)

Pretty, fluid, well balanced and arranged, and with a sense of the coast.

Mr. Moto dotdotdot
Acoustic Surf (Instrumental)

It's hard for Paul to miss on this one. I'm sure he wrote it solo, probably a lot like this. In any event, this song lends itself to acoustic much better than most surf. Paul's sense of balance between multiple guitars makes that possible. Very nice track.

Baja dotdotdot
Acoustic Surf (Instrumental)

The Packards arrangement un-amped... it works well, is pretty and cool. Paul's guitar almost sounds electric. Quite nice.

Apache dotdotdot
Campfire (Instrumental)

Sitting 'round the fire ring at Camp Wannagohome, where the boys are boys and the girls are elsewhere, this just might make the night. Very smooth, delicate, and arty.

Walk, Don't Run dotdotdot
Acoustic (Instrumental)

Johnny Smith's classic tune even less amped than Chet Atkins, and more fluid.

Baja Nights dotdotdot
Acoustic Surf (Instrumental)

Canteena sunsets and post siesta breezes... smooth and easy.

Hide Away dotdotdot
Acoustic Blues (Instrumental)

Freddie King's blues tune played bluesy and warm...

Outside dotdotdot
Acoustic Surf (Instrumental)

Gil Orr's tune works well acoustically. It's delicate and melodic, and fills the warm spaces in the heart.

Scratchy dotdotdot
Acoustic Surf (Instrumental)

Travis Wammack's lone hit is a strange choice to de-fuzz, yet a brilliant one. It's almost unrecognizable, like a dinner jacket rendition of "Satisfaction" or a "Classical Gas" treatment of "Anarchy In The UK." Fun.

Last Date dotdotdot
Acoustic (Instrumental)

Floyd Cramer's sad country piano epic laid gently down on acoustic guitar. Pretty country pickin'.

Kamikaze dotdotdot
Acoustic Surf (Instrumental)

The Belairs' classic works well enough this way, but lacks the inspired energy of the electric version. Still, it has the delicate lead-rhythm balance Paul's writing is so recognized for.

California Dreamin' dotdotdot
Acoustic (Instrumental)

Much prettier and less dramatic than the Mama's and the Papa's hit.

Pipeline dotdotdot
Acoustic Surf (Instrumental)

There are a number of acoustic treatments of this tune, including several by the Chantays themselves. This is pleasant, but not magnetic. The playing is really sweet.

Song For My Father dotdot
Acoustic (Instrumental)

This is a nice excursion in acoustics, but doesn't hold my attention for very long. OK, but unremarkable.

Beach City Bop dotdotdot
Acoustic Surf (Instrumental)

This is a great Paul Johnson tune, from the Packards album of the same name. It's infectious and playful, and sports delightful interplay between the lead and rhythm. The infectious writing holds up well under de-amplification.

The Lonely Bull dotdotdot
Acoustic Surf (Instrumental)

Sol Lake's fine tune has seen some gorgeous treatments in slow motion, most notably by the Dream Syndicate. This is relaxed, fluid, and very precise. Warm and enjoyable, it drifts effortlessly through the back reaches of your consciousness.

The Wedge dotdotdotdot
Acoustic Surf (Instrumental)

Here we find the highlight of the disc. The energy is high, the precision exquisite, and the glissandoes too cool. Dick Dale's "The Wedge" was originally called "A Run For Life." This could be titled "A Prance For Life" because it literally dances through your ears. Very infectious and fun.

More Love, More Power dotdotdot
Acoustic (Instrumental)

Slow moody and fluid, this doesn't convey a surf feel, but is very pretty, with a memorable melody riff. The interplay between lead and rhythm is very good here.

Last Night At Waikiki dotdotdot
Acoustic Surf (Instrumental)

With hints of Hawaiian slack key and "Mellow Yellow," this floats gently along. Little grass shacks and wahines abound.