Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Billy Flynn and the Flynn Tones - Big Guitardotdotdot
artworkThis is quite a different CD. It is a mix of restrained surf and rock, of exotica and MOR. It's as if the trio was sitting in a circle in stools in dim light playing for each other. No need to shout, no requirement for volume. Just respectful and enjoyable playing. This end of the spectrum does not usually attract my attention, but this is a very nice CD. there are a couple of rockers, but mostly it's clean instrumental enjoyment.
Picks: Big Guitar, Ram Rod 99, Hot Rod, Night In Gilly, Re-Percussions, Pretend, Summer Serenade, Wild As The Sea, The Cruel Sea, Marooned, Hey Buddy, Pull Over, Surfin' The Web, Drive Inn, Experiment In Terror, Autumn Leaves, My Own True Love / Tara's Theme, GearHead, Scientwist, Chunky, Vaquero, Diamond Head, Autumn Haze, Wreck Tangle

Track by Track Review

Big Guitar dotdotdot
Big Guitar Twang (Instrumental)

"Big Guitar" is a tight cover of the legendary Owen Bradley's guitar boogie. It's near perfect, with a wetter tone than Bradley's, but with the same deliberate pace and groove.

Ram Rod 99 dotdotdot
Big Guitar Twang (Instrumental)

Al Casey's classic, written for Duane Eddy (and originally recorded in Duane's absence) is arranged quite differently than the Eddy original. This is much more subtle, and with the whammy, it becomes a whole new tune. Darn cool.

Hot Rod dotdotdot
Big Guitar Twang (Instrumental)

Billy Flynn authored this thumpin' number. It has solid roots in the fifties progressional style, but also employs kick drum as the beat master.

Night In Gilly dotdotdot
Acoustic Exotica (Instrumental)

Quite a change of pace is in store here. With exotic percussion and an acoustic guitar lead, this is quite a nice track. The melody is very appealing, and the mood is relaxing. A Spanish feel to the melody adds a somewhat tropical feel.

Re-Percussions dotdotdot
Drum Based (Instrumental)

Inspired by the Surfaris' "Wipe Out" and the Ventures' mid sixties fuzz, this rhythmic progressional piece is an interesting excursion into the not often revived drummer hit formula that Sandy Nelson exploited so well. The liners credit these influences, but where I disagree is with the primary thread. I think this is more like Sandy Nelson strained through the Ventures.

Pretend dotdotdot
MOR (Instrumental)

"Pretend" is a revival of a fifties standard. It's pretty in the MOR sense, much like many a fifties major label effort.

Summer Serenade dotdotdot
Drum Based (Instrumental)

Ernie Freeman's classic is morphed into an island exotica realm, like Arthur Lyman might morph it if he misplaced his birds. Very luau lagoon in it's feel. Tame, but pretty.

Wild As The Sea dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Sandals are paid homage with a throbbing vibrato arrangement of this familiar tune. The arrangement is very nice. The second guitar employs a subtle fuzz tone, giving this a unique feel and sound. Doing a cover is one thing. Making it your own is another. Fine track.

The Cruel Sea dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Dakota's oft covered tune in a dryer than the Ventures arrangement. It is set apart from the pack by the textured approach.

Marooned dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Exotica in a coastal Mexican village, with palms and sombreros, and palapas scattered on a pristine beach. Very peaceful and pretty.

Hey Buddy, Pull Over dotdotdot
Low Rider Rock (Instrumental)

Chunk and chop siren rock for low riders busted for obstruction of traffic at 33 MPH on 101. Tasty vibrato throb and east LA wah wah.

Surfin' The Web dotdotdotdot
Webster Surf (Instrumental)

More twang and country than surf melody structures, but a surfy sound and an infectious riff with several textural changes. The guitar plays with reverb, then damped, then with vibrato. A fine track. It would go over the top with a little chemistry and more energy.

Drive Inn dotdotdotdot
Island Slush (Instrumental)

"Drive Inn" has an island feel to it, with a slushy pace and sound. An MOR Hawaiian vacation backdrop. The melody is tasty, somewhat like "26 Miles."

Experiment In Terror dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Faster paced fuzzola, with sorta surf backtrack and a sub-Davie Allan performance. "Experiment In Terror" is Henry Mancini's frequently covered tune.

Autumn Leaves dotdotdot
MOR (Instrumental)

Johnny Mercer's MOR standard slushed up, like the Ventures at the Shady Rest. Pristine and pretty.

My Own True Love / Tara's Theme dotdotdot
MOR (Instrumental)

Antiquarian MOR, nicely played, nicely recorded, and nicely arranged. The operative adjective is nice.

GearHead dotdotdot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

This surf based hot rod original is reminiscent of the Four Speeds, or maybe even some of the later Original Surfaris' tunes. A progression carried by engines screaming.

Scientwist dotdotdot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

Excellent title. Dedicate soft rock delivery, fifties sub-Fireballs ideas, and precise playing. Nice track.

Chunky dotdotdot
Fifties (Instrumental)

Now, this is interesting. It's got a touch of surf, a lot of fifties instro, and some infectious riffin'. It's not melodic, but it varies enough to hold attention and please. Tasty string bending.

Vaquero dotdotdot
Fifties (Instrumental)

The Fireballs' tune with reverence and less reverb and flair. The damped approach is refreshing, and the over affect is very pleasing. I think the playing skill shows well here. The subtleties really make this work.

Diamond Head dotdotdot
Dry Surf (Instrumental)

Danny Hamilton's tune is presented with dry tone and restrained delivery. More delicate than the Japanese versions, and certainly calmer than the Ventures. It's as if they are playing for themselves here. The glissandoes are a little stiff.

Autumn Haze dotdotdot
Moody (Instrumental)

Similar in some ways to "Wild As The Sea," but also quite different. Gentility lives here, but so does rock. Not soft rock, but not a rocker. It swings alright, with a thick sound.

Wreck Tangle dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A great title for a surf tune. Infectious and rolling, this is a tasty tune, written just like many a vintage surf tune, and played with a quiet precision and confident energy. Very nice indeed.