Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Joe Goldmark - All Hat - No Cattledotdotdotdot
artworkFirst off, there's not a drop of surf here, aside from the appearance of Ricky "Vanilla" Sludge on a track or two. But, if ever you wondered what thinking outside the bun could do for lap steel, or you are a fan of the Goldtones, the Misunderstood, Juicy Lucy, or Mason Proffit, and you have a warm spot for country as it should be, then Joe Goldmark just might be your cup of tea. If what he does with Eight Miles High doesn't just slay you, well, perhaps you should switch to ballet.
Picks: Highlife, Because They're Young, Rico's Lament, Hey Girl, Wacky Walk, Her Strut, Whispering Pines, Skokiaan, China Cat Sunflower, Sweet Dreams, The Way, Sabor A Mi, Eight Miles High

Track by Track Review


Highlife dotdotdot
Country Surf (Instrumental)

Stereo lap steels whine out a sunny and tropical country melody. This is simply happy! Imagine cowboys in Trinidad. Entirely fun!

Because They're Young dotdotdotdot
Country Surf (Instrumental)

Duane Eddy's classic is lap steel whined while tremolo guitar lends a near-Al Casey nod. This is sweet and traditional and very gingham. I like this a lot.

Rico's Lament dotdotdotdot
Country Surf (Instrumental)

A ska beat supports a country whine lead for a completely unique sound. If Bakersfield was the capitol of Jamaica, then Roland Al would have done this. Even the squonky sax is right in the groove. Very cool!

Hey Girl dotdotdot
Country Surf (Instrumental)

Freddie Scott's "Hey Girl" is an interesting choice. As with most songs here, it has nothing at all to do with country, so the juxtaposition is an integral part of its attraction. This is a lovely and sweet arrangement that oozes country romance.

Wacky Walk dotdotdotdot
Country Surf (Instrumental)

Stereo tremolo throbs beneath a tasteful melody with an attractive flow. There's country warmth and rock edge as the rhythm throb contrasts to the lap steel lead. Warm and attractive, with serious legitimacy. It's the sort of thing that happened to country when Mason Proffit came a long.

Her Strut dotdotdotdot
Country Surf (Instrumental)

Gutty rock chords chunk while heavy metal growling guitar pumps out the backtrack. The lap steel lead gives this a superb intensity, maybe a bit like what happened when Glenn Ross Campbell (ex-Goldtones) joined the Misunderstood and later Juicy Lucy. Very cool!

Whispering Pines dotdotdot
Country Surf (Instrumental)

"Whispering Pines" is a soft and flowing piece with a lush and lovely image of sunset romance. Beautifully played and arranged, this track just oozes emotion.

Skokiaan dotdotdotdot
Country Surf (Instrumental)

August Musarurwa's "Skokiaan" is a popular tune first recorded by the African Dance Band of the Cold Storage Commission of Southern Rhodesia around 1947. It's been done by many, including Louis Armstrong. Joe Goldmark has certainly done one of the most original versions. It's strikingly cool on the lap steel.

China Cat Sunflower dotdotdotdotdot
Country Surf (Instrumental)

Oh boy! I suppose this was predictable, given the country leanings of the Grateful Dead, yet it somehow is a surprise. Imagine the New Riders Of The Purple Sage doping this and you get the idea. Very nice!

Sweet Dreams dotdotdot
Country Surf (Instrumental)

Sweet whine down country lane. It's very much the perfect vehicle for the romantic side of country from days gone by.

The Way dotdotdot
Country Surf (Instrumental)

This bluesy number floats along a warm lazy river with sweet lap steel. This is quite pretty, and certainly connects with the listener.

Sabor A Mi dotdotdot
Country Surf (Instrumental)

The gentle breeze that is "Sabor A Mi" oozes sunset romance. Its simplicity of arrangement gives it a fifties easy listening feel, while not losing its credibility.

Eight Miles High dotdotdotdotdot
Country Surf (Instrumental)

It doesn't get better than this in country music land. The Byrds' superb anthem "Eight Miles High" with lap steel lead. The ungodly coolness of the juxtapositions here demand listening and re-listening. It's as large and sweeping as the notorious ones, but completely un-dark. This is a must hear!