Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Keymen - Surf Party A Go-Go!dotdotdot
artworkThe Keymen were from Las Curses, New Mexico. This CD compiles the Keymen's '67 and '68 releases along with 6 previously unreleased surf instros recorded in 1965. A couple of the surf instros are original, and the rest covers, some of which are retitled standards. The surf tracks range from really nice to jams. The vocal material is low grade cover band fair, with the psychedelic and garage punk genres having left this frat band behind. An interesting look into a fairly typical minor market band of the mid sixties.
Picks: A Yank In London, Surf Breeze, Thunder Bay [Comin' Home Baby], One More Chance, The Lonely Shore [Harlem Nocturne], Penetration

Track by Track Review

A Yank In London dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a rhythmic chunky instro, with a properly infectious riff, but a little too much noodle and not enough melody. The damped rhythm guitar contrasts to the dry rhythm, and the trite little bits of "Mary Had A Little Lamb" and "Yanky Doodle" seem somehow fitting. It's quite fun, just more a party filler than stand alone surf tune. The Keymen re-recorded this later on, and it was issued as "Sun Burstin'" on the EM label.

Surf Breeze dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a pretty cool minor surf track, with the sort of writing many of the younger bands displayed. It's based on a simple riff that works well, and displays lots of surfy string bending and reverb. The dry backtrack keeps it chunking along. Cool track. It was later re-recorded as "Up To News" and issued as the flip to "Sun Burstin'" on the EM label.

Thunder Bay [Comin' Home Baby] dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Thunder Bay" uses a very chunky backtrack and a melody borrowed liberally from "Comin' Home Baby" with non-melodic jamming here and there. It's infectious in a familiar way.

One More Chance dotdotdot
R&B Surf (Instrumental)

This R&B jam with surf tone must have been a fave at set's end, or just for dancing without listening. It doesn't stand up as a solo piece, but would be fine live.

The Lonely Shore [Harlem Nocturne] dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Earl Hagen's classic masterpiece "Harlem Nocturne" slightly surfed up with vibrato lead guitar where the raw sax originally sat. It's quite effective, and with such a beautiful tune as it's basis, it's hard not to like this. I've long though it should be properly surfed up.

Penetration dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a fairly tame cover of the Pyramids classic. It's quite listenable. The guitar work in the break is quite nice. The changes to the arrangement bring it out of the "common cover" category.