Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Woody Phillips - A Toolbox Christmasdotdotdotdot
artworkThis unusual CD has nothing at all to do with surf, but it is instrumental, and it is most unique, with all the songs being performed on electric and hand tools, some sampled and some live and direct. It's like Christmas on Tool Time! I wanted to hate this CD, but I couldn't stop grinning at the absurdity and simple pleasure of it all. Great holiday fun, but no reverb to be found. If you have no sense of silliness, don't read on.
Picks: Jingle Bells, Deck The Halls, The Twelve Days Of Christmas, Joy To The World, Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairies, Ding Dong Merrily On High, I Saw Three Ships, Patapan, Good King Wenceslas, Ukrainian Carol, Wassail Suite, We Wish You A Merry Christmas, Auld Lang Syne

Track by Track Review


Jingle Bells dotdotdot
Hand Tool Xmas (Instrumental)

Drivin' nails and sawing backtracks, lead line carried by tapping on various bits of metal... it's all too bizarre. The musical saw interlude is priceless. If it weren't for people like this making music like this, there would be no need for sanitariums, and R. Crumb would be alone on the musical shelf. Brilliant.

Deck The Halls dotdotdot
Hand Tool Xmas (Instrumental)

Deck us all with electric drills rev ups and cross cut strokes. This will capture your every tool room nightmare as you envision Santa making your most wished for toy. Priceless silliness.

The Twelve Days Of Christmas dotdotdotdot
Hand Tool Xmas (Instrumental)

Sappy performance over a finer array of silly tool sounds... you guessed it, each verse gets another tool added to the mix... some how, I think you deserve this. Where's Bob Villa when you need him?

Joy To The World dotdotdot
Hand Tool Xmas (Instrumental)

With a bass line of a howling electric motor, and saw samples, and rat-a-tat-tat on the saw blades, it's all too priceless. It's almost industrial noise. Wonderful!

Dance Of The Sugar Plum Fairies dotdotdotdot
Hand Tool Xmas (Instrumental)

The sound of a ratchet where you'd expect a gourd, the saw coming in like a dive bomber... The whole thing is too silly. Just identifying the tool sound is a challenge. It's the sort of thing you'd expect from a Tim Burton / Disney toy movie...

Ding Dong Merrily On High dotdotdot
Hand Tool Xmas (Instrumental)

Light and fluffy, tool box cheery, ringingly fun, backdrop for your next holiday project.

I Saw Three Ships dotdotdotdot
Hand Tool Xmas (Instrumental)

Almost ominous, yet airy and light. Why am I thinking "Hi Ho Hi Ho?" It has a children's air about it, and a sawhorse good time. The buzz saw is amazingly good as an instrument. Wah-hoo!

Patapan dotdotdot
Hand Tool Xmas (Instrumental)

Yup, tappin' out the melody on various blades and things, this is almost tribal, in it's slow and simple arrangement. Amazingly close in sound to vibes, this track has an almost "normal" sound to it. The giveaway, of course is the intrusion of the occasional recognizable tool. Whew.

Good King Wenceslas dotdotdotdot
Hand Tool Xmas (Instrumental)

The droning machine whir bass line is awesome, and the use of the drill is great. The whole thing has a playful halting sound, and a dramatic edge. Brilliant.

Ukrainian Carol dotdotdotdot
Hand Tool Xmas (Instrumental)

Like the Malibooz' "Carol Of the Swells," this variation is relentlessly delivered. Unlike that version, it features a whole range of shop tools employed to provide various percussive and melodic purposes, with occasional droning machine whirring bass lines. The ratchet is perfect, as are the drills.

Wassail Suite dotdotdot
Hand Tool Xmas (Instrumental)

Finding this to be almost traditional is surprising, considering the instrumentation. Some one needs to tell Woody his brain was installed sideways. Great stuff.

We Wish You A Merry Christmas dotdotdotdot
Hand Tool Xmas (Instrumental)

This should have been titled "We Wish You A Tool Box Christmas." It's surprisingly traditional sound through most of the track is due to the keyboard lead, if that's what it is. Maybe it's a sampled gear howl... I'm not able to identify all the tools, but it sure is fun trying!

Auld Lang Syne dotdotdotdot
Hand Tool Xmas (Instrumental)

With a sound hinting of Sergio Mendes' "Promissa de Pescadero" played on musical saw with electric drill accompaniment, this track suddenly enlarges with an electric drill glissando to include drilling, sawing, and blade-tapping mandolin-like sounds, before dipping into an abyss of large bell-like tap lead. The saw is almost too sad. This is perfectly wonderful.