Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Fenton Weills - Viva Villadotdotdot
artwork8 great rockin' surfadelic psycho-art instros and a handful of vocals make this a great CD. Viva Villa is a collection of material from earlier releases, and it's not for the purist. I'm sad to say I did not discover Fenton Weills until reading about them in Martin Schmidt's book Surf Beat. Both this disc and Martin's book are recommended!
Picks: Hawaii Five-0, Jack The Ripper, Ride Vaquero, Peter Gunn, Palomino, Jeden Tab Neue Angst, Musikladen-Theme, Venus

Track by Track Review


Hawaii Five-0 dotdotdot
Surfadelic (Instrumental)

Over reverbed drums pump out the beat on this surf rock instro. It's rockin' version of the TV show theme written by Mort Shuman, and while spunky and aggro, it's also not overbearing.

Jack The Ripper dotdotdotdot
Surfadelic (Instrumental)

I really like this treatment of Link Wray and his Raymen's "Jack The Ripper." It's rhythmic and thick and aggressive, with only the goofy screams of "wah" detracting from a totally intense experience. Great writhing googamuck, Homer, this track rocks with relentless thickness and real rock thrash.

Ride Vaquero dotdotdotdotdot
Surfadelic (Instrumental)

Thick, sustained distortion, and trembling rhythm atop tribal bass and beat. "Ride Vaquero" is perhaps my favorite Fenton Weills recording. It's ghostly and menacing, like the inner sounds of those dungeonous passageways in your mind when you're alone at 3 am and not quite asleep. Superb!! In some ways, "Ride Vaquero" seems like a continuation and transformation of "Jack The Ripper" into a psychedelic inversion. Not that it employs any part of Link's signature song, but it has that sort of relentless energy and danger.

Peter Gunn dotdotdotdot
Surfadelic (Instrumental)

This is a tasteful, slightly industrial rendering of the classic detective theme. The dissonant guitar feedback carrying the melody is unnerving against the relentlessness of the signature rhythm track. Very cool.

Palomino dotdotdotdot
Surfadelic (Instrumental)

Like the psycho-intrinsic sound of the cavernous hall that was the San Francisco Sound Ballroom in Seattle when Indian Puddin' & Pipe played, "Palomino" howls with primitive feedback and a blend of melody and rhythm and the near-ugly. Compelling and unusual.

Jeden Tab Neue Angst dotdotdotdotdot
Surfadelic (Instrumental)

"Jeden Tab Neue Angst" rises gently from nearly subliminal sounds as if it was drifting through the fog across the moor. Long slide notes begin to bring it closer in an early Pink Floyd-ish wail before it becomes a dramatic dirge. As the kick drum rises, it dissolves from the dank recesses into an unsettling drone. The song slowly unfolds, changing mood and artfully extending its psychedelic soul for 20+ minutes. In some ways, it reminds me of Golden Earring's early version of "Eight Miles High," though significantly more artful.

Musikladen-Theme dotdotdot
Surfadelic (Instrumental)

"Musikladen-Theme" would appear to be a live track with a ton of pulsing energy and relentless progressions. Hooting vocalizations add a weirdness that gives it an air of cowboy drug haze. Fun and loud.

Venus dotdotdotdot
Surfadelic (Instrumental)

Shocking Blue's "Venus" is ripe for instro treatment, as Fenton Weills show here. Rockin' harsh rock with lots of compressed energy. There are other versions, but not many. Shocking Blue guitarist Robbie Van Leeuwen lifted the bridge from The Who's "Pinball Wizard." Cool track.