Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Fifty Foot Combo - The Monstero Sound Live At Ernesto'sdotdotdotdot
artworkThis is a great live performance. Available as a double LP or CD, The Monstero Sound Live At Ernesto's is perhaps the best Fifty Foot Combo release to date. Very good recording, great performances, and thick intense sound. Blend surf and go-go and biker fuzz and exotica and you get a mighty appreciative crowd. Great!
Picks: Sugar No Cream / Cooper, Ali Baba, Buzzzz, Italian Fuzz, Dimanche Le Matin, Jennifer Jennings, Doe De Duif, Last Of The Monstrophonix, Never Get Out Of The Boat, Zen Guerilla, Chocolate Revenge, The Great Caffeine Comedown, Blue's Theme, Taboo, Dimitrius, Triple-X-presso, Rumble, Movin', Comin' Home Baby, Tube City

Track by Track Review

Sugar No Cream / Cooper dotdotdot
Go-Go Groove (Instrumental)

A screaming crowd introduce "Sugar No Cream" with pumped fanfare. Strong drums and a circular organ riff in a Booker T. and the MG's meets Steve Miller's "Stand Back" in a Memphis bar. It transitions into one hard driving thrasher called "Cooper."

Ali Baba dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dave and the Customs' great surf monster "Ali Baba" is shredded mightily with speed and power. Raging double picked lead guitar pummels the crowd. It's backed up by a whirling organ, very strong drums, bongos, and rumbling bass. Quite a sturdy arrangement.

Buzzzz dot
Go-Go Groove (Instrumental)

Thick in-sync fuzz guitar and organ riff rock in a heavy a go-go format. Too riffy for me, but surely powerful.

Italian Fuzz dotdotdot
Fuzz (Instrumental)

Biker fuzz thunders along with swirling organ with a relentless beat and thump. Ominous with spy bongos like the cool side of Hollywood psychedelia. Thick and intense.

Dimanche Le Matin dotdotdotdotdot
Liquid Go-Go Groove (Instrumental)

My goodness, this is very cool!. "Dimanche Le Matin" a.k.a. "Le Dimanche Matin" shimmers with watery vibrato, but also calls dangerous characters from the shadows. Mystical moods ooze from every corner of the song. Surf guitars and the exotic sounds make this a splendid and powerful mood piece. This just may be the coolest song Fifty Foot Combo have cut to date.

Jennifer Jennings dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Jennifer Jennings" is a chunky go-go grind with a groovy melody line pumped out in fuzz. This is very big sounding discotheque trance with band intros in the middle.

Doe De Duif dotdotdotdot
Exotic Go-Go (Instrumental)

Big chord intro, surf stop-start, chunky delivery. A very simple progression, and a bunch of energy. Nice track for the background to your nightmares. The long bongo solo is pretty cool, as is the way they come out of it with almost groaning near jungle riffs and rising rhythm. "Doe De Duif" means "Do the Pigeon."

Last Of The Monstrophonix dotdotdotdot
Garage (Instrumental)

Fast drums and feedback launch a fast and ever-powerful garage fuzz and surf rage with rhythmic whirly organ and tuff-edged fuzz. "Last Of The Monstrophonix" is very big and assaultive.

Never Get Out Of The Boat dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Opening like an inversion of "Lara's Theme" or "The Godfather," this song is powered by frenzied bongos, thundering bass and drums, swirling organ, and tuff guitar. Very dark and dangerous, pulsing with power, "Never Get Out Of The Boat" is a wonderful track. Great!

Zen Guerilla dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Zen Guerilla" is a frantic blues-riff kind of instro with a manic and desperate sound. Blues in the sense of some of the more edgy British blues.

Chocolate Revenge dot
Surf (Instrumental)

Jammin' riff rock in the frat rock mold. Lot's of energy and a pumped up crowd, but like "Chocolate Revenge Part II," I didn't find it very interesting.

The Great Caffeine Comedown dotdotdot
Go-Go Groove (Instrumental)

The organ lines are from the intro to the Spencer Davis Group's "I'm A Man." The power is high, the bongos and drum kit rock, the bass grumbles, and the organ is very British Invasion. Not melodic at all, but quite pleasing.

Blue's Theme dotdotdotdot
Biker Go-Go (Instrumental)

This is an original yet reverent arrangement of Davie Allan and the Arrows' signature song "Blue's Theme." Hard rockin', organ augmented, and very fiery. This is big, loud, and very aggressive.

Taboo dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Classic exotica from the pen of Ernesto Lecuona, flowing liquid smooth and verandah cool from the two guitars. Beautiful and harsh at the same time, "Taboo" is compelling and intriguing. I think I like this live version better than the studio track.

Dimitrius dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This cover of the Atlantic's intense song sports spirited with Cossack shouts of "Hey!" Lots and lots of energy and attack, and swirling organ. The energy pumps and pulses from the rhythm section.

Triple-X-presso dotdotdotdot
Go-Go Groove (Instrumental)

"TripleXpresso" is a wash of thick fuzz, drum thunder, bass grumble, organ whirl, and occasional reverb crashes. Circular and slightly exotic, the song meanders through a relentless progression. Changing dynamics keep it from being repetitious. The tribal bridges are the best part. Live, it's much more compelling than in the studio.

Rumble dotdotdot
Back Alley Go-Go (Instrumental)

"Rumble" is really a medley of Link Wray songs. His splendid "Rumble" opens with long sustained as you'd expect, and very thick with two guitars and organ swirl. A few verses of "Comanche" rock the house. I don't recognize the third song, which is more loud than musical. The forth is a big anthemic progressional thing that ends the medley. Yikes!

Movin' dotdotdotdot
Fuzz Surf (Instrumental)

Lee Hazelwood's seminal "Movin'" is splendidly adapted to the go-go grind and fuzzoidal swirl of Fifty Foot Combo. It's much better in my opinion than the album version, with more spunk, a more aggressive yet surfable attack, and an original sound.

Comin' Home Baby dotdotdotdot
Fuzz Surf (Instrumental)

This is a raucous and sped up interpretation of "Comin' Home Baby" that has It's Herbie Mann's classic jazz song that some of the surfbands used to do, most notably the Surfaris. Even a few verses from Tiny Bradshaw's hip "The Train Kept A-Rolling" are added to great effect.

Tube City dotdotdotdotdot
Fuzz Surf (Instrumental)

Closing out the show is a rousing version of the Trashmen's ultra cool "Tube City." Abut as hard driving as the Raunch Hands' version, this performance is really pumped up, with flying surf riffs and grodie garage energy. Entirely cool!