Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Fabulous Plank-tones - Plank Spankin'dotdotdot
artworkThe Fabulous Plank-tones hail from Glendale, where the surf is in the garage and the art is very respectful. This CD-R contains ten originals and eighteen covers. The originals are inviting and varied in style. The covers are mostly very respectful, and not adventurous. Yet, this CD-R is very satisfying to listen to. My only real complaint is the mix on the first twenty one tracks - the guitar is not prominent enough in the mix, leaving too much influence from the drums. The last seven tracks are mixed better. The surprise standout is the acoustic "Apache" that simply shines!
Picks: Man From P.L.A.N.K., The Sea Urchin, Hernando's Hideaway, The Creep, Planktone Stomp, Air Raid, Andele, Suspicious Minds, Nomad, Stardust, Sea Slug In My Duck Foot, Channel Nine, Lanky Bones, Bulldog, Hayseed Surfer, Comin' Home Baby, Surf Don't Swim, A Summer Place, Windows Of the World, Apache, Out Of Limits, Lonely Girl, The Heavies, Blue Chateau, Jokers Wild, The Real McCoy, Bluebird, Tomorrow's Love

Track by Track Review

Man From P.L.A.N.K. dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Aggressive crunch and surf, with a low-E twangy riff. The thunder of the rhythm section gives it a heavier than thou sound, a menacing pound. More riff than melody, but a whole bunch of power. The lead work is modern is nearly commercial spots, grindy in others.

The Sea Urchin dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"The Sea Urchin" sports a tasty riff, with a friendly feel and a good memorability quotient. This is a very nice track, which stands up to repeated listenings. It's chunky without being overpowering. Fluid, and somewhat menacing.

Hernando's Hideaway dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The melody riffs of the classic "Hernando's Hideaway" are humorously reverbed, with the kind of grin Los Straitjackets and the Halibuts are able to invoke. Very fun.

The Creep dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"The Creep" is slow and sinewy, silky and moody. It floats on a warm breeze just off shore. The slow whammy and delicate picking are quite nice. It's a bit melancholy, with a detective feel and a mysterious edge.

Planktone Stomp dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Edgy bluesy whammy bar smoothness, and a fine progression over a bit of start-stop action. It's not melodic exactly, but it is very enjoyable, like a mid tempo Neptunes tune might be. A bit of funk, a tad of liquid moonlight, and some nervous lurking. Optimistic.

Air Raid dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The guitars simulate the sirens' wail as incoming are just offshore. A solid surf riff, lots of energy, and some mighty fine sub-Agent Orange chunk. It's aggressive without being bossy. Very fine track.

Andele dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Paul Johnson's classic tune, delivered with reverence and a bit more speed. The tonality is quite different than Paul's many recordings of it. Spiffy and spunky, and just as fun as Paul intended.

Suspicious Minds dotdotdot
Elvis Surf (Instrumental)

Elvis lives here... with a country twang and a Nashville feel. It's quite a nice arrangement, though very direct and simple. The guitar work is tasty. It avoids being "Caught In A Trap" of cover fever. Nice.

Nomad dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Great tribal drums, chunky guitar work, high positive energy, and a magnetic structure. It's not melodic, but boy does the riff work well with the tom toms. Infectious, almost like a Mason Williams piece.

Stardust dotdotdot
MOR (Instrumental)

Hogie Charmichael's MOR classic all decked out for guitar in a near Shadows arrangement. Ultra twang slow dance pretty.

Sea Slug In My Duck Foot dotdotdot
MOR Surf (Instrumental)

What a great title. "Sea Slug In My Duck Foot" whirls around with modulated guitar and a chorus for a slow and semi-dramatic track with a sound at the edge of MOR without the sap. It has the feel of a Bruce Brown movie.

Channel Nine dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Challengers' classic played with a lot of flair and excellent glissandoes where the Challengers should have used them. Ed Fournier's bouncy melody drips joy, and the Hal Blaine drum licks are spot-on. Very good throughout. It's not exactly revamped, but it sure is driven. Very satisfying.

Lanky Bones dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Paul Johnson's classic tune is given the reverent treatment, with sound and arranging much like on the Packards' 1980 album Pray For Surf. Excellent tom toms, and pure unreverbed Fender edge. Infectious and perfectly delivered.

Bulldog dotdotdot
Challengers Surf (Instrumental)

The Fireballs originally cut this. The Challengers gave it a new sound. The Fabulous Planktones take that to a new degree by using stereo delayed split lead work. It's full with a fresh though un-radical approach.

Hayseed Surfer dotdotdotdot
Chicken Surf (Instrumental)

A rockabilly beat, an infectious damped riff, a bit of chicken pickin' , and you have a happy go lucky track perfect for that next bar-b on the deck. It even hints of Buzzy Frets in spots. The glissandoes add real surfability.

Comin' Home Baby dotdotdot
Blues (Instrumental)

Herbie Mann's jazz standard is given a whole new facade. The smooth fluid origination is replaced with an aggressive blues-rock attack. It works pretty well, given the flexibility of this fine tune. You could imagine a Stevie Ray Vaughan making nice with this tune in this way.

Surf Don't Swim dotdotdot
Ventures-like (Instrumental)

With a chord progression inspired by Johnny Smith's "Walk, Don't Run," this wanders into near Christmas territory, like the Ventures' "Sleigh Ride," but without the bells. No, it's not a holiday cover, it just felt like that to me. Infectious and bouncy.

A Summer Place dotdot
MOR (Instrumental)

Percy Faith's theme from the film is here with the plinky piano and the sappy suaveness.

Windows Of the World dotdotdot
MOR (Instrumental)

Onward to Burt Bacharach with this pretty tune. The arrangement is like the Shadows might give it. Pretty, but unremarkable, lest of course you're trolling for old heave-ho. Then, it's just what the love-doctor ordered.

Apache dotdotdotdot
Acoustic Surf (Instrumental)

Jerry Lordan's prize composition is taken down to an acoustic delivery. Where Jon and the Nightriders gave it gorgeous drama, and Pollo Del Mar slowed it way down to give it extreme beauty, the Fabulous Planktones give it a simplicity and grace that redefines it. There are other acoustic versions, but this is the definitive acoustic treatment.

Out Of Limits dotdotdotdot
Bluegrass Surf (Instrumental)

Mike Gordon's famous tune is recreated with delayed tones, giving it a neo-modern edge, and an almost calliope feel. The banjo is a priceless adder. Amazing.

Lonely Girl dotdotdot
Ventures (Instrumental)

The Ventures tune is played out with respect and purity, like the Shadows nodding to the Americans. Smooth and fluid.

The Heavies dotdotdot
Ventures (Instrumental)

This is a fairly tame treatment of a fairly tame Ventures tune. Respectful and accurate.

Blue Chateau dotdotdot
Ventures (Instrumental)

Delayed lead guitar delivers a slightly Japanese presentation of this Ventures tune. Pristine and restrained, melodic and friendly.

Jokers Wild dotdotdot
Ventures (Instrumental)

A little fuzz, some precise playing, and a load of respect, like Shadows inspired bands have for their mentors, so the Fabulous Planktones have for the Ventures. Tasty and well delivered.

The Real McCoy dotdotdot
Ventures (Instrumental)

A small amount of country, a smidgen of twang, and a riffin' good time in a funky groove. Another Ventures tune, with funny imitations of Walter Brennan who played the senior McCoy in the TV series.

Bluebird dotdotdot
Ventures (Instrumental)

Very tasty guitar work here. This displays a mastery of the axe. More soulful and fluid than the original, but otherwise quite respectful.

Tomorrow's Love dotdotdotdot
Ventures (Instrumental)

This version lies somewhere between the Ventures' original and the splendid cover by Eddie and the Surfbeats. Tasty and fluid, lively and romantic.