Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Pastel Six - Cinnamon Cinderdotdotdot
artworkHaving previously only heard their hit single "Cinnamon Cinder" and it's instro B-side "Bandito," I had little to base an understanding of the band on, and even less to justify their reported extreme popularity as house band at Bob Eubanks' "Cinnamon Cinder" club. After listening to this whole CD, it becomes clear that they were one fun band, unpretentious, and utterly silly. They embraced the pure fun or rock 'n' roll without any pretext of art - just good fun. From this new view, I can easily see how they were the party band of choice on weekend nights at the CC. This is the sort of band that creates a perfect backdrop for your party, not the sort of band you'd sit listening to, mesmerized by the artistry. Too too fun. Oh, yeah, besides the handful of totally fun pop vocals, there are a bunch of really cool instros as well.
Picks: Richard's Bounce, Open House, Slow Bandido, Take It Off, A Week From Tuesday, By Golly, Karela, Open House At the Cinder aka Wemo Stomp, Peppermint Stick, Hot Dogger, Twitchin', Don't Leave Me, Rendezvous Rods, Strange Ghost, Surfer Smooch aka Heidi, Bandido, Brahms' Nightmare

Track by Track Review

Richard's Bounce dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

This is a hilarious instro, like a New Orleans jump jazz number, with the sax and organ grunting out an R&B riff, occasionally interrupted with a Joe Huston sax sound. No surf, but way too fun. Previously unreleased.

Open House dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

A slow slinky sorta tune, played with grins all around, and a bouncy beat for the feet. The premise is so silly, that you have to enjoy it. This track reminds me a little of San Jose's Jaguars, another "show" band with a great draw. This is more fun oriented, where the Jaguars were more pop oriented. Simple infectious riffs and standard blues guitar breaks, no new ground, but a ton of friendly fun.

Slow Bandido dotdotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

"Slow Bandido" at half speed, with the gourd and the spiffy percussion, saucy sax, and oh-so-cool guitar lines. This is sultry in a back alley sort of way that brings certain sly grins to the stiffest of faces. Completely different character than the "hit" version. There's shimmer, almost Viscounts arranging, yet it retains the bizarre tweakiness of the single.

Take It Off dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Labeled a vocal, this track sports only the chanted chorus "take it off" between lines. Otherwise, it is an prancin' instro based on a basic riff, which breaks into a few slinky guitar lines which add extra grin power. Thoroughly enjoyable.

A Week From Tuesday dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

This is your basic end-of-set see you next time kind of number. You can visualize the sax and guitar players twisting left and right in sync with the beat in red blazers and skinny black ties. Defining fun and the club scene of the early-mid sixties. In some ways, they sound a lot like the very early Sly and the family Stone when Sylvester Stewart's band played at Wayne Manor in Sunnyvale and were still on Autumn Records. Unreserved fun and showmanship. This is just more suited for a frat than the Fillmore.

By Golly dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

In some ways, this is like a backtrack. It also works well as a mid tempo sock hop thriller. It sways and flows, and it reaches into the soul. It is the grins of the players that comes through the performance that separates this from otherwise easily dismissed party rock.

Karela dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Super slow sax swooner, and almost a parody of the genre at that. It is just serious enough to be taken as a serious slow dancer, yet the sax lines are delivered with a sort of dead panned white bread precision that only slightly masks the fun being poked. The vibrato guitar break is really pretty.

Open House At the Cinder aka Wemo Stomp dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

"Open House At the Cinder" is also known as "Wemo Stomp" because it is "The Lion Sleeps Tonight" a.k.a. "Wimoweh." Moderate tempo and tribal drums of the Las Vegas variety, and a blues harmonica with rhythmic hand claps. This must have gotten the crowd swaying and clapping. Entirely fun, and almost ludicrous. Not a "Golden Throats" instrumental exactly, because it's quite credible, just an entirely unexpected arrangement of a standard.

Peppermint Stick dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Prancabilly Hop, party sax fun, thrilling pluckabilly, and suave pick up a girl stuff. makes you feel like your 16 years old and sneakin' into the dance.

Hot Dogger dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Bluesy club tune, simple progression nature, and more a backtrack than a song. Previously unreleased.

Twitchin' dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Your basic progression, repeated repeatedly, creating a redundant redundancy. Fun frat dance thing with honky sax.

Don't Leave Me dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Really slow and pretty number, that could have been a vocal, but thankfully isn't. It's nice and moody and romantic in a sad sorta way. It doesn't really seem to go any where. Previously unreleased.

Rendezvous Rods dotdotdot
Club Surf (Instrumental)

Hinting of the Hollywood discos they would feature in with dance numbers and their lone hit Cinnamon Cider (also the name of the club they were a fixture at). Basic, ok, not great, and not at all surfy. The horns owed a lot to Chuck Rio's version of Mariachi. Introduced by Daws Butler, this is a sassy number employingshort busrt sax notes to create a quirky but fun tune. Again, the keyword is fun with the Pastel Six. In many ways, this is more like a Rumblers tune than the Pastel Six.

Strange Ghost dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Strange is right. Organ based, honky sax, quirky melody. It should be a post-modern lounge hit. It also has a similar sense to the Preps' "Moon Racers" were it morphed to keys and sax. Ominous and cool.

Surfer Smooch aka Heidi dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Super slow surf guitar mood piece for the mating game. Pretty, nice, pleasant, and enjoyable. Previously unreleased.

Bandido dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This was the B-side to "Cinnamon Cinder," and has long been a fave of mine among the quirkier stranger instros I like. It's great to finally hear this is stereo and cleanly captured. It is am R&B club number with enough surf edge to make the cut. It slithers and slides through your singles disco of the sixties dreams. Sly Stone could have done this when he first started playing live in '65 at the Bay Area theme clubs. It is tribal and primal. Cool, cult hit of tomorrow.

Brahms' Nightmare dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Take Brahms' lullaby, speed it up plenty, and you get the picture. Cute, but not great.