Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Knights - Surfin' The Southwest, Santa Fe Styledotdotdot
artworkThe Knights' new CD goes further down the quiet road, and farther into open spaces. In many ways, this has the flavor of the gentler side of the Torquays, with restrained delivery and a writing style that is in the general vicinity of George Tomsco.
Picks: Surfin' Santa Fe Style, Cut Out Y2K, Judi, The Man Who Wasn't There, Jeannie, Surfin' The Southwest, Moonbeam 2000, Precision 2000, (Ghost) Riders In The Sky, Legends, Wipe Out

Track by Track Review


Surfin' Santa Fe Style dotdotdot
Southwest Surf (Instrumental)

Long leaning whammy notes float out across the southwest desert, just before a restrained and pretty tune is launched. "Surfin' Santa Fe Style" is melodic and slightly familiar. With the flavor of old Mexican outposts in New Mexico, this serves to accompany a leisurely drive on an open asphalt ribbon. Very enjoyable.

Cut Out Y2K dotdotdot
Southwest Surf (Instrumental)

With a little whammy dippin' action, and a drivin' riff, "Cut Out Y2K" hearkens back to the instro writing styles of the pre-surf era, a progression and some jammin', and a hook.

Judi dotdotdot
Southwest Surf (Instrumental)

"Judi" lumbers down the esplanade as the sun hangs low in the autumn sky. The funkengrooven' floating of the rhythm is most relaxed.

The Man Who Wasn't There dotdotdot
Southwest Surf (Instrumental)

This is somewhat mysterious, a little misty, and fluid. The melody riff is just a bit down, while the soft tones are slightly optimistic. It's catchy, and very pleasant.

Jeannie dotdotdot
Southwest Surf (Instrumental)

With a rhythm pattern that could support "26 Miles," this fluffy track prances on the air like a dragonfly in late summer. It's playful like the Wedge's "Debbie," but much more relaxed.

Surfin' The Southwest dotdotdotdot
Southwest Surf (Instrumental)

This is easily the best track here. It's quite friendly, with tasty restrained playing, well executed whammy, and a riff that stays put. There's more energy here than with other tracks, yet the delivery only hints of the power that could exist with this a vehicle. Very nice track.

Moonbeam 2000 dotdotdot
Southwest Surf (Instrumental)

This is an updating of the Knights sixties track. It's a slinky island breeze kinda tune, with a friendly warm sound. Quite fluid and refreshing, though slightly sad.

Precision 2000 dotdotdot
Southwest Surf (Instrumental)

Another updating of a sixties Knights tune. This is considerable more motion oriented, but still quite restrained, with some riff references to "Mariah." The warmth and lazy traveling feel of the track are great for lowering the blood pressure on the freeway in a traffic jam.

(Ghost) Riders In The Sky dotdotdot
Southwest Surf (Instrumental)

The low key approach to this Stan Jones classic, combined with a different arrangement, morph it into something else, while retaining the melody. Quite interesting, a little jazzy, yet somewhat off the point of the tune. I'm not complaining or saying it doesn't work, just that it seems a little pretentious to me. Still, I enjoyed most of it, and the change from the usual power glide delivery is refreshing.

Legends dotdotdot
Southwest Surf (Instrumental)

A little Spanish, a little romantic, "Legends" is warm and friendly, and quite like something from the pen of George Tomsco. Infectious, restrained, and very tasteful.

Wipe Out dotdotdot
Southwest Surf (Instrumental)

A moderate delivery of an uncoverable tune - uncoverable because unless you do something other than try to mimic Ron Wilson fluid's drums, you can only come up second best. No new ground, though it's a little more of a blues than a surf tune as presented here, and the fire and spirit are missing.