Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Plungers - Guitars Gone Wilddotdotdotdot
artworkThis is the second CD from Austin's Plungers. If there's a single word that describes their vision of the surf, it would have to be carefree. Surf as a foundation, cowboys as a backdrop, sunshine as a requisite, and optimism as the prevailing view. The liners contain the following classic disclaimer: "Only one reverb tank was harmed in the making of this recording."
Picks: Beachnik, Lone Shark, Takin' The Plunge, Rattled, Spring Break, Ridin' Tall, Mai Tai, Jacked, Mondo A Go Go, Flash Point, Hanalei Hoedown, First Date, Castaway, Oahu, Meet Mr. Mod, Link, Riviera, Propellor, Surfcracker, Free Board, Adrift

Track by Track Review


Beachnik dotdotdotdot
Cowboy Surf (Instrumental)

With the Ventures' "Perfidia" rhythm as a back drop, "Beachnik" plays in the sun of an afternoon on the beach. This very happy song is more than pleasing, with it's infectious rhythm and youthful melody line. Excellent!

Lone Shark dotdotdotdot
Cowboy Surf (Instrumental)

"Lone Shark" is a somewhat thick song with a grodie edge that's a little like a blend of Jack Nitzsche's "The Lonely Surfer" and a softened Packards. Pretty and just a little ominous, or maybe sad, with an attractive sound.

Takin' The Plunge dotdotdotdotdot
Cowboy Surf (Instrumental)

"Takin' The Plunge" is a fanciful song with a great melody riff and lots of uplifting energy. Multiple guitars glissando and double pick aside a dry melody line. On the fast side, adventurous, and always looking on the bright side of the sun and the sea.

Rattled dotdotdotdot
Cowboy Surf (Instrumental)

Chop-chord rhythms and a light lead line that gives the whole track an atmospheric and positive sound. Modern surf with the kind of writing and arranging that the Wedge used to do so well. Really nice track.

Spring Break dotdotdotdotdot
Cowboy Surf (Instrumental)

Long southern notes float the tale of "Spring Break" as something other than a drunken orgy. Restful, fluid, traveling, and carefree. Well balanced and very pleasing.

Ridin' Tall dotdotdotdotdot
Cowboy Surf (Instrumental)

My oh my, "Ridin' Tall" is one fine track. Western, positive, fluid, cactus tinged, surf underpinned, and endlessly open-road friendly. The main riff is one of those perfect pop lines that just makes you grin and stays with you. Exceptionally cool!

Mai Tai dotdotdotdot
Cowboy Surf (Instrumental)

Slurpin' on yur "Mai Tai" is not required to enjoy this fine track. The melody is playful without be silly, and the whole track shines with uplifting spirit.

Jacked dotdotdotdot
Cowboy Surf (Instrumental)

On the slower more plodding side, "Jacked" is like Jack Nitzsche on a saddle. Very nice rhythm chops and long sunset rider guitar lines. Quite an endearing track.

Mondo A Go Go dotdotdotdotdot
Cowboy Surf (Instrumental)

Shimmering vibrato yield to vibrato of the fuzzy throbbing type, which is seldom used for such happy lines. "Mondo A Go Go" is simply fun. It's full of great glissandoes and crunchy rhythms. Great drums and bass here!

Flash Point dotdotdotdot
Cowboy Surf (Instrumental)

A little dangerous in a desolate sci-fi kinda way, yet cactus cool like a ride across the prairie on a pinto. The open road calls to you.

Hanalei Hoedown dotdotdotdotdot
Cowboy Surf (Instrumental)

"Hanalei Hoedown" is a great track! Tribal drums, bass thunder, circular rhythm licks, and an adventurous melody, all splashed with cowboy damped reverb and glorious glissandoes. Perhaps my fave here, I find myself coming back to this track most often.

First Date dotdotdot
Cowboy Surf (Instrumental)

Like a guitar inversion of Floyd Cramer's "Last Date," only splashed out and modernized. "First Date" is a very pretty song.

Castaway dotdotdotdotdot
Cowboy Surf (Instrumental)

Exotic bongos and warbly guitars provide a strangeness that rides under the great surf guitar leads. "Castaway" is very optimistic, with a great melody line and unique rich sound.

Oahu dotdotdotdot
Cowboy Surf (Instrumental)

Sounding nothing like island music (thank you very much), "Oahu" literally prances across the monitors like a fawn in a meadow. Bouncy and really fun, with an endearing sound.

Meet Mr. Mod dotdotdotdotdot
Cowboy Surf (Instrumental)

Spies on saddles strapped to surfboards... great damped reverb rhythms, espionage leads, and precision drums and bass. "Meet Mr. Mod" is a really cool track.

Link dotdotdotdotdot
Cowboy Surf (Instrumental)

Dramatic drums introduce this softish nod to the Linkster. It's not the usual Link Wray wannabe, but rather a bow in reverence to his essence reinterpreted through the original sound of the Plungers.

Riviera dotdotdotdot
Cowboy Surf (Instrumental)

vacation twango for the sun of Southern France, or perhaps the gulf coast. Fanciful and well heeled, "Riviera" bounces and flows like a country road driven in a convertible.

Propellor dotdotdotdotdot
Cowboy Surf (Instrumental)

More edgy than most here, "Propellor" thumps right along with a fast and happy surf tone. Completely pleasurable, with unbridled optimism. The glass is definitely more than half full!

Surfcracker dotdotdot
Cowboy Surf (Instrumental)

Crimes of water and reverb... "Surfcracker" is an odd melody with surf sounds and crime watch feelings. Very unusual.

Free Board dotdotdotdotdot
Cowboy Surf (Instrumental)

"Free Board" runs along the wave crest like it will never break. Fast and purely fun, with no end in sight. Happy and immediate, without a care in the world. Great song.

Adrift dotdotdotdot
Cowboy Surf (Instrumental)

"Adrift" is in some ways like "Sleep Walk," in that it employs a silken slither. A pretty melody floats on the rhythm sections light backing with a forward view of the day.