Phil Dirt - Reverb Central
PO Box 7240, Santa Cruz, CA 95061-7240 USA

album coverLos Jets The Essential 3 stars
Label: HMR Studios H.M.R.043 CD

This is a collection of tracks from Spain's Los Jets. Some have recently appeared elsewhere, others not. Based strongly on the Shadows, but sometimes quite original in production values.

Picks: Zorongo, Andalucia, El Vito, Don Quijote, Guitarra Enamorada, Gonzales, The Savage, Telstar, Jezebel, Driftin', Diamonds, Thinking Of Our Love

"Zorongo" 5 stars

Los Jets is a stellar song, with Spanish drama, bullfight tension, and a solid flow. The damped plucking in some verses adds a delicate drama, and the low-E gutty guitar lines add edge. Excellent!
Rock Instrumental Stereo

"Andalucia" 3 stars

"Andalucia" ("The Breeze And I") is one of those songs I like in almost every arrangement. Sometimes a little slushy, sometimes almost surfy with restrained double picked guitar, this version seems to be both very cool and a little too light weight. OK, I like it, so let's call it a keeper!
Rock Instrumental Stereo

"El Vito" 3 stars

"El Vito" features some very cool Spanish drama and sadness, while also being optimistic and adventurous. Quite a nice track!
Rock Instrumental Stereo

"Don Quijote" 4 stars

"Don Quijote" is a very Spaghetti-cowboy kinda track that's adventurous and features some big twang. It's an interesting track with lots of energy and spunk a cool melody line, and some powerful modern guitar sounds.
Spaghetti Instrumental Stereo

"Guitarra Enamorada" 3 stars

This is a fine track, with a great melody and excellent guitar arranging. It's lush light rock for sure, yet "Guitarra Enamorada" found its way back in the CD player several times. very pretty and cool too!
Light Rock Instrumental Stereo

"Gonzales" 4 stars

The Shadows' "Gonzales" never sounded so cool, with great energy from the rhythm section and new speed and flair. very nice track!
Rock Instrumental Stereo

"Apache" 3 stars

This is a version of "Apache" steeped in the Shadows' arrangement. While it's different from the source, it is very well done. The keys add a soft orchestral backdrop in places.
Rock Instrumental Stereo

"The Savage" 3 stars

From 1965, "The Savage" is very true to the Shadows' original. The sound is somewhat distant, which gives it a kind of haunting feel that strangely adds to the track.
Rock Instrumental Stereo

"Wonderful Land" 3 stars

One of the most often covered Shadows songs, "Wonderful Land" features a beautiful and haunting melody. Quite pretty.
Rock Instrumental Stereo

"Chariot" 3 stars

This recording from 1993 is recorded very much like their sixties track from an aural point of view. "Chariot" is a pretty and bouncy song with a semi-cowboy rhythm.
Rock Instrumental Stereo

"Stranger On The Shore" 3 stars

Acker Bilk's "Stranger On The Shore" is a good vehicle for Los Jets. Orchestral and smooth, I think it displays the romantic side of the band well. Sort of candle lit table for two at the dinner club.
Rock Instrumental Stereo

"Telstar" 3 stars

A countdown and rocket launch opens a version of the Tornados' "Telstar" that features lead organ with just about the closest tone to the original I've heard. It's not as in your face, but is very well done. Great drums and a somewhat lush mix.
Rock Instrumental Stereo

"Theme From A Summer Place" 2 stars

"Theme From A Summer Place" is just as adult contemporary as you might expect, though thick production and swirly stereo keys give it an other worldly fell.
Rock Instrumental Stereo

"Jezebel" 4 stars

More edge than others here, this rousing version of Frankie Laine's "Jezebel" is pure rompin' fun. It's a long way from the ultra gnarl of the Illusions' version, but the galloping beat and atmospherics captured my attention and held it. Great track!
Rock Instrumental Stereo

"Driftin'" 3 stars

This is an interesting track. It may be the closest Los Jets get to surf, with dry damped rhythm guitar, an AABA format not unlike classic surf, and a sultry playful sense of the beach. Quite nice.
Soft Near Surf Instrumental Stereo

"Diamonds" 3 stars

This is a kind of lounge version of Jerry Lordan's "Diamonds" that is completely unlike the classic Jet Harris and Tony Meehan version. Soft and silken, with glissandoes and horns in the break. It's quite an odd blend of surf, rock, MOR, and exotic dinner music.
Rock Instrumental Stereo

"Moon Light" 3 stars

"Moon Light" is a pretty song that would serve well as a stroll on the beach backdrop in a summer holiday film. Very pleasant, and un-intrusive.
MOR Instrumental Stereo

"Thinking Of Our Love" 3 stars

Kinda cool stereo delayed guitars provide interesting textures to take "Thinking Of Our Love" out of the MOR graveyard and make it nearly surfable. A bit of edge and interesting production complete the package. Perhaps if the Shadows had been produced with more imagination, they might have been presented like this on occasion.
Rock Instrumental Stereo

"Shadows" 3 stars

Circulating delayed guitar plays a soft and flowing song. very light weight, but interesting enough to hold your attention. Pretty and enjoyable.
Rock Instrumental Stereo

"Soul Limbo" 3 stars

Booker T. and the MG's' playful "Soul Limbo" is swirled with organ and exotic sequenced percussion. While its' quite fluffy and playful, it also seems to be attractive in a strange way.
Mall Rock Instrumental Stereo

"Autumn Rain" AUTUMN RAIN1 star

Soft sequenced song dripping programmed romance. Too obviously automated to get my attention.
MOR Instrumental Stereo

"Boardil" BOARDIL1 star

With the pomp an a mall organ salesman and big sequenced drama, "Boardil" brings a grin as the guitar plays atop the machines.
MOR Instrumental Stereo

"Mountains Of The Moon" 2 stars

This is the Shadows instro, and definitely not the Grateful Dead song, though that might well have been more intriguing. Thick orchestral keys and stereo delayed guitar.
MOR Instrumental Stereo

"Walk Don't Run" [live] 3 stars

This is a murky, live take of Johnny Smith's claim to fame. Very much based on the Ventures' cover, the spirit is strong, though the sound ambient. Reverently done.
Rock Instrumental Mono