Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Santo and Johnny - S/Tdotdotdot
artworkThis is Santo and Johnny's first album. It captures their most honest and uncompromised recordings. Included is their most familiar hit, "Sleep Walk."
Picks: Caravan, Summertime, All Night Diner, Blue Moon, School Days, Sleep Walk, Tenderly, Slave Girl, Dream, Canadian Sunset, Harbor Lights, Raunchy, Venus

Track by Track Review


Caravan dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

This speedy version of the Duke Ellington classic features a country whine from the mouth of the steel that is most infectious, and it's backed by by a walking bass line that is magnificent. Nothing like Al Casey or Dick Dale, of course, just pure fun! Originally released in 1959.

Summertime dotdotdot
Dramatic Suave (Instrumental)

George Gershwin's classic, driven with dynamic playing in a sultry setting. Quite effective.

All Night Diner dotdotdot
Country (Instrumental)

Quite the countrified jump tune. Infectious and melodic original. Originally released in 1959.

Blue Moon dotdot
MOR (Instrumental)

Strings accompany this too pretty rendition of the standard, dripping in the MOR sensibilities that overtook their maturing. Maturing? It sounds like it's designed for the oldsters. Originally released in 1959.

School Days dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Chuck Berry didn't mean this, and it really doesn't work. The sax is out of place, and the pretty keys are too. Originally released in 1959.

Sleep Walk dotdotdotdot
Lap Steel Pre Surf (Instrumental)

It doesn't get much more definitive than this. Sinewy slow dance classic, beautiful melody, covered endlessly and never as well. Simply a stunning song. Originally released in 1959, this is one of the great instro singles of the distant past, which featured, for the first time, the lap steel in a lead role (outside of country and Hawaiian). This slithery slowdance romancer was/is the prelude to a whole lotta whoopee. It is so very beautiful. Totally sweet guitar sounds.

Tenderly dotdot
MOR Slush (Instrumental)

Jeesh... what a let down following "Sleep Walk." Like Percy Faith or something.

Slave Girl dotdotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

This is my favorite Santo and Johnny tune. It also fits importantly into the story of surf, even though it predates the genre by two years. When the Farina brothers wrote this, they used Ernesto Lacuoña's flamenco classic Malagueña as the inspiration. Fast forward to sixty-two when Tommy Nuñes wrote the most gorgeous of all Latin surf instrumentals Latiña, which he based in part on Slave Girl and Malagueña. Listen to them in sequence. It's chilling. This recording is mysterious and Middle Eastern and stunningly beautiful, while retaining piercing energy. Originally released in 1959.

Dream dotdot
Daydream Fluff (Instrumental)

Soft flowing daydream fluff, pretty but of little impact.

Canadian Sunset dotdot
MOR Suave (Instrumental)

Hugo Winterhalter's hit, slushed and packaged for octogenarians.

Harbor Lights dotdot
MOR Suave (Instrumental)

"Harbor Lights" is another of the nondescript MOR tracks. It just doesn't do anything for me.

Raunchy dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Bill Justis' hit the charts with this instro in the late fifties. This version is pedestrian and unremarkable. It has the licks down, but isn't unusual or hot. Originally released in 1959.

Venus dotdotdot
Lap Steel Pop (Instrumental)

I hate to say it, but this version makes this Frankie Avalon hit palatable. It's a good melody to adapt to the slide, and the arrangement is actually quite nice, despite it's relative tameness.