Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Ready Men - Get Ready!!dotdotdot
artworkThe Ready Men were a garage surf combo from Minneapolis, who have been legendary ever since their rabid version of "Shortnin' Bread" emerged on "Surfin In The Midwest Volume One". While that was a "Surfin' Bird"-like vocal, they also recorded some mighty screaming surf instros. At first sight, this CD ran my blood cold with anticipation of an hour's worth of their vintage vault purge from '64. Well, that's sorta what's here. There are 5 studio tracks, including "Shortnin' Bread" plus another Midwest traditional frat song "Wine Wine Wine", and 3 cool instros. As for the rest, they are all really crude recordings, half being from a department store event, and the other a rehearsal, both sounding like ambient recordings, amateur at best. I'd rather hear the history badly than not at all. The liner notes are really good, lots of trivia & quotes & pix.
Picks: Disintegration, Surfer Blues, Baja, Wipe Out, Miserlou, Pipeline, Jack The Ripper, Moon Dawg, Walk, Don't Run, What'd I Surf, Disintegration #2

Track by Track Review

Disintegration dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Readymen were another Minnesota band that played a lot of Surf instros. "Disintegration" is a raver that remained unreleased until last year. Their writing was good, and their performances were spirited. The main riff is a basic surf progression, with jam-like break action. It's rhythmic and energetic, but not very melodic. Raw primal teen surf.

Surfer Blues dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Steve Douglas' great tune, amped up for the end of the millennium. Whammy twang, infectious melody, and very strong guitar work.

Baja dotdotdotdot
Jazz Surf (Instrumental)

Opening with the sounds of shorebreak, a dive siren, and sonar pings, this ominous number rumbles into action with a huge sound from the horns and organ grumbling under Jimmy Redgate's guitar. This is quite spiffy. It's a mean R&B based number with no shortage of growl and punch. The break is wobble board accompanied and spy flick spoofed. Trevor Ramsay's sax is mean and nasty! Too cool!

Wipe Out dotdotdotdot
Jazz Surf (Instrumental)

Screeching tires eventually give way to a groovy progression and a moody atmosphere, with a distant James Bond appeal and a near loungie chorus. Very cool and playful, with a melodic lilt. The progressive break is more than intriguing, it's downright Steppenwolf. Great ending.

Miserlou dotdotdotdot
Jazz Surf (Instrumental)

The wind, like the sounds from Laurel & Hardy's "Haunted House," bells tolling for the risk-takers, and a rolling bass line under a spooky and enticing guitar line. This is both scary and beautiful. The sax repeats the guitar lines in alternate verses. The song is so strong!!! Really nice, and very unusual, like the Beacon Street Union's "The Clown Died In Marvin Gardens" instrumentally interpreted. Great track.

Pipeline dotdotdotdot
Jazz Surf (Instrumental)

A long pick slide decays into harsh feedback, before a nasty sax over a nearly calliope sound warns of danger below. Very mean and hazardous.

Jack The Ripper dotdotdotdot
Jazz Surf (Instrumental)

A big howling swirl slithers into a sixties prog variation that hints of the Spencer Davis Group (Stevie Winwood period) at a Riverside jazz session at the beach wearing baggies. Sounds strange, I know, but it works really well. very suave.

Moon Dawg dotdotdotdot
Jazz Surf (Instrumental)

Samba suave, smooth, swimming with flowing white dresses and pretty girls. This is a beautiful track, infectious and lustrous.

Walk, Don't Run dotdotdotdot
Jazz Surf (Instrumental)

Fluffy jazz fun, inviting frolicking at the beach, playful up tempo life without care. Jet setting to Club Med to meet and greet the fair sex. Deluxe fun.

What'd I Surf dotdotdotdot
Jazz Surf (Instrumental)

Rich tones, low down sax, atmospheric trappings, and lonely detective under a streetlight visuals collide here, just before the super intoxicating exotic melody, with its middle eastern and Latin influences. Like Kraan on the Riviera.

Disintegration #2 dotdotdotdot
Jazz Surf (Instrumental)

Aren't they all... "Femme Fatales" that is. melodic and slightly mysterious, breezy and slightly spaghetti. This is a very unusual tune, reminding me slightly of some of Chris Shahin's work. My goodness, this is a good track.