Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Raybeats - Guitar Beatdotdotdotdot
artworkThis is the first CD issue from the legendary early eighties guitar instro band the Raybeats. This line up features a post Overtones guitarist and bassist by the name of Danny Amis, whom you know from Los Straitjackets. This CD is the Guitar Beat album plus a few singles. There's a variety of instro material here, from Danny's first ever instro come classico "Calhoun Surf" to the sassy redefinition of "B Gas Rickshaw" (originally from Jan & Dean's studio band). All I can say is, it's about time! It's only partly a surf disc, but the legacy of this instro band is not to be denied. Great listening, a must have. Yet to be issued is the incredible It's Only A Movie album.
Picks: Tight Turn, Big Black Sneakers, Tone Zone, International Operator, Calhoun Surf, Guitar Beat, Searching, Piranha Salad, Holiday Inn Spain, Andy's +1, The Backstroke, B-Gas Rickshaw, Cocktails

Track by Track Review

Tight Turn dotdotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Screeching tires and crash boom. This gnarly sax lead R&B number is quite the low-down nasty tune.

Big Black Sneakers dotdotdot
Martini Surf (Instrumental)

Cool tune with nicely ringing guitar lines. Very simple, rhythmic, and heavily drum oriented. A great track! There's something very Mancini about the writing.

Tone Zone dotdotdotdot
Guitar (Instrumental)

The keyboard leads off this eerie number with tortured guitar notes and less than sane sound.

International Operator dotdotdotdot
Espionage (Instrumental)

Placing that long distance call before direct dial, MCI, or One Eight Hundred Collect used to require actually talking to an AT&T international operator, and that was always an adventure, not unlike entering the espionage game. This has that air of spies on the line and stalking in the shadows. Great track!

Calhoun Surf dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the first song Danny Amis ever wrote. He originally recorded it with his band the Overtones, and issued it as the flip to "Red Checker Wagon." This version is big, and very cool. It has a different character than either the first recording or the Los Straitjackets version. This recording has been covered several times, including by the Thrusters and the Neon Spores.

Guitar Beat dotdotdot
Guitar (Instrumental)

A slow chunka chunka tune with big clean guitar lead. Quite nice, and relaxing.

Searching dotdotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Major drum action, and plenty of cool R&B Vegas coolness in the low down sax and guitar twin melody lines. The jazz influences are strong, and the rhythm is quite tasty.

Piranha Salad dotdotdotdot
Las Vegas (Instrumental)

Finally, a lunch that bites back! The keyboards are quite unsettling, and the dissonant melody line is irritating in an endearing way. Las Vegas cool sleazy sound.

Holiday Inn Spain dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A non-LP single added to the CD that is very melodic and fun. The melody is infectious, with it's cool hooks and splashy feel. The sound is very pleasing. You could almost hear the Aqua Velvets doing this. It is one of my favorite Ray Beats tracks. Very pretty.

Andy's +1 dotdotdotdot
Lounge (Instrumental)

And then there was need for an organ lead tune with a quirky pop feel. Suddenly, in popped Andy and his plus one on the guest list... swell tune with a weird and crafty sound.

The Backstroke dotdotdotdot
Jazz Surf (Instrumental)

The sun is baking the pre-melanoma dermis, the kids have gone back to their rooms, and you're floating face up slowly cruising the length of the pool at Motel 6. A very pleasant afternoon to you sir! Cool funky number for a lazy afternoon dip.

B-Gas Rickshaw dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

One of only two covers of this Jan and Dean instrumental. Unlike the J&D version, this is poundy and cool. The tom toms do the hot rod motor honors. Nice track!

Cocktails dotdotdotdot
Exotic Rhythm (Instrumental)

The exotic rhythm and the cool melody pre date the lounge ethic of the nineties. This is a swell number.