Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Jet Harris and Tony Meehan - The Best Of Jet Harris and Tony Meehandotdotdot
artworkThis CD compiles much of the recorded output from two British institutions, Jet Harris and Tony Meehan. Both quit the Shadows in 1962. Jet Harris' amazing Fender VI six-string bass leads are really lowdown and guttural, played in a style based on Duane Eddy's hits, but with a meaner feel. The idea came from noted British guitarist Big Jim Sullivan. Tony Meehan's highly compressed drums are featured prominently in glorious drum breaks. Many tracks here are solo efforts from each without the other, all of which are a little less charming than the opening track "Diamonds," which is essential instrumental listening. There are also a handful of vocals from each. It's way past time these tracks emerged from the vaults.
Picks: Diamonds, Scarlet O'Hara, Applejack, Tall Texan, Song Of Mexico, Kings Go Fifth, Besame Mucho, Again, Man From Nowhere, Rave, Big Bad Bass, Rifka, Man With The Golden Arm

Track by Track Review

Diamonds dotdotdotdot
British Big Bass (Instrumental)

This is easily the best track ever from Jet Harris and Tony Meehan. "Diamonds" is a magnificent melody from Jerry Lordan, who also authored "Apache." Tony Meehan's highly compressed drums are featured prominently in the intro and the drum break, offsetting Jet Harris' amazing Fender VI six-string bass leads. This track rules, and has a tenuous surf feel to it, perhaps via the melody, perhaps from the Fender ax. Essential instro listening.

Scarlet O'Hara dotdotdotdot
British Big Bass (Instrumental)

The production here is a little on the pop-wimp side, but Jerry Lordan's melody and the great lead work, plus fine drums, make this a fab track. This single has been covered by a wide range of artists, from Lawrence Welk to Mark Brodie and the Beaver Patrol.

Applejack dotdotdot
British Big Bass (Instrumental)

"Applejack" is a lightweight popster with a brass section and bells. The melody is cool, but this is pretty wimpy overall. If you listen real hard, you can hear some enterprising surf band figuring how to make this six-string bass lead number into a double picked monster.

Tall Texan dotdotdot
British Big Bass (Instrumental)

Tony Meehan wrote this ode to cowboys. The arrangement is pretty distant from American cowboys or western music, yet the drums give it a cactus feel. "Tall Texan" lies somewhere between MOR and rock 'n' roll.

Song Of Mexico dotdotdot
British Big Bass (Instrumental)

"Song Of Mexico" is a Tony Meehan solo effort without Jet Harris. The lead has Jet's basic sound, and the melody is another of Jerry Lordan's. Fine material for a spaghetti western surf band to groove with, like maybe the Hellbenders. There's more MOR elements than I like, but it still works well.

Kings Go Fifth dotdotdot
British Big Bass (Instrumental)

Another Tony Meehan solo track, which he also wrote. The lush strings and floaty sound are way too MOR, but the melody is excellent fodder for the surf mill.

Besame Mucho dotdotdot
British Big Bass (Instrumental)

If you can get past the MOR chorus, this is quite interesting. It's the initial track that Jet Harris and Tony Meehan did in what became their signature style. It's an odd mix of gutty and sappy.

Again dotdot
British Big Bass (Instrumental)

This solo tune from Jet Harris without Tony Meehan is very much like Lawrence Welk's guitar tracks, full of strings, horns, and a chorus. Very hokey. This dates from '89.

Man From Nowhere dotdotdot
British Big Bass (Instrumental)

Jet Harris again on his own, and this time his six-string bass is playing really lowdown leads. A little like "Hernando's Hideaway," and a little like Lawrence or Welkland, this is a confused merger between edgie and slushy. Like others here, it's ripe for a surf treatment.

Rave dotdotdot
British Big Bass (Instrumental)

"Rave" is a Jet Harris solo track, with ultra grodie low-LOW leads, and a bluesy harmonica over a catchy beat. I can just hear Los Straitjackets messing around with this. Come on Danny, take a shot.

Big Bad Bass dotdotdot
British Big Bass (Instrumental)

Like you might expect, this is another Jet Harris bass lead number. It's a Carter-Lewis composition, with all the poppiness that implies. Trashy MOR cheesy production and grumbly leads oozing out a catchy melody. Like a Ventures 45 at 33.

Rifka dot
British Big Bass (Instrumental)

Pure MOR, soft horns, slushy lightweight sounds... can't get into it.

Man With The Golden Arm dotdotdot
British Big Bass (Instrumental)

Jet Harris solo on this film score. Aside from the ultra low lead, the track is typical film fluff, with brass, drama, and snappy hooks.