Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Jim Messina and the Jesters - S/Tdotdotdotdot
artworkThis LP was issued in 1982. Jim Messina and the Jesters were one of the great lost surfbands. The material is similar but not identical to the Thimble release.

The band includes Jim Messina on lead guitar, Glenn Frey, Bill Beckman, and/or Ron House on dual rhythm guitars, Jim Sholstedt on bass, Dave Archuleta on sax, and Larry Cundieff on drums.
Picks: The Jester, Hollywood Sound, Masatlan Rally, High Voltage, Yang Bu, Honky Tonk, Strange Man, The Cossack, Tamale Wagon #1, The Thing

Track by Track Review


The Jester dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is just about as powerful and fast as surf gets, spitting notes out like machine gun bullets. The melody is a fine infectious bit of writing. This high powered track is just about the best Jim Messina writing ever. Nearly every cover IÕve heard has paled to this and the Thimble version.

Hollywood Sound dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This has that funky Sunset Strip Go-Go club rhythm, and a chunky sound. It's a jam, and probably useful to end sets for that break.

Masatlan Rally dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With the flair of a Mexicano and the style of a hot roddin' surfnik, Jim Messina chunks out an intensely rhythmic and driving song. Strong and edgy, with plenty of surf reverb.

High Voltage dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Screaming engines, squealing tires, and thundering tom toms launch this high energy pounder. The melody is minimal, but the chord progression is unusual. Infectious and spirited.

Yang Bu dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Super chunky mean surf. The boys scream and shout relentlessly. The melody is shallow, but the ominous nature of the tune is very magnetic. This is a powerful and vicious surf track. It is also the Jesters' most familiar track.

Honky Tonk dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Bill Dogget that had the hit? This is a nice surf adaptation of an old R&B instro. Nice performance, and the tone suits the melody.

Strange Man dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Strange is right. Launching from a variation on the Twilight Zone intro notes, this track visually screams "weird." It is somewhat like a cross between the Rumblers' "Boss" and the Rod Serling classic television show. It's not complicated at all, but is quite attractive, in a curiosity way. It also has a lasting effect, and stands up to repeated listenings. Quite unusual.

The Cossack dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The other great killer monster from the Jesters. This punishes the peace and quiet of an afternoon daydream with violently powerful double picking, and spectacular writing. The backtrack is not very Russian, but the melody is both eastern European and middle eastern sounding. Great track.

Tamale Wagon #1 dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Tamale Wagon #1" is a splashy Mexican number with a cool party rhythm and a relaxed pace. The progression is the dominant feature, though the melody is very cool.

The Thing dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Tom tom tribal, damped reverb chunk, and a jam lead guitar. This is like a B section of an AABA song, extended to be the whole thing. Powerful, but lacking in focus. The drum solo is very strong.