Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Santo and Johnny - Disco d'Orodotdot
artworkThis would be a long way from the heady days of "Sleep Walk" and "Slave Girl." This 1975 album was recorded in Italy in 1970, and is just about as unexpected as they come. Daytime soaps meets lap steel paradise. Can you say scary? OK, so classic Santo and Johnny it ain't, but there are two groovy tracks here, and updated (slowed and slushed) "Sleep Walk," and a gorgeous island epic called "Sea Dream."
Picks: La Canzone Di Orlando, She, Emmanuelle, For All You Know, Sleep Walk, Am I Blue, For Ever And Ever, Romeo E Giulietta, Sea Dream, You Make Me Feel Brand New

Track by Track Review

La Canzone Di Orlando dot
Squishy MOR (Instrumental)

Piano, strings, and haunting female voice keys slushily underlay soft wispy lap steel. Like fifties MOR targeted at board stiff stay at home moms, "La Canzone Di Orlando" floats on a sea of martinis and soap operas. In a word, squishy!

She dotdot
Romance (Instrumental)

Like a distant cousin to "Summer Place," this soft track floats on a fifties romance bed of filmy make believe. The melody is very pretty, and the lap steel makes it quite palatable.

Emmanuelle dot
Fluffy Romance (Instrumental)

Wah wah keys bubble under elevator lap steel. While it's pretty, it's also very dismissible. Gauze over the lens ambiance is established for that candle light liaison.

For All You Know dotdot
Romance (Instrumental)

Slightly sad, "For All You Know" is a relatively pretty piece that calls back to the softer side of Santo and Johnny's heyday. While it sure doesn't rock, it is quite satisfying if you're in the mood for a light afternoon rain and romancing.

Sleep Walk dotdotdot
Lap Steel Love (Instrumental)

On the one hand, "Sleep Walk" IS their big hit! On the other hand, it wasn't meant to be slushed up, or was it. If you merely remove the adolescence from it, you can well imagine what the grown up Farina brothers might be like.

This durable song retains the sweetness of the lap steel, though the volume induced distortion is gone, and the sultry melody is augmented with a housewife-dreamy backtrack. Still, it works surprisingly well.

Am I Blue dot
Lap Steel Drool (Instrumental)

This song has been done a million times over the decades. It was a common track on many an MOR release in the fifties. Even the ultra cool Rhythm Kings cut it as "Blue Soul." This is very slow and way too soothing, with almost cartoonish crying guitar and chorus.

For Ever And Ever dot
Singing Lap Steel (Instrumental)

Ah yes, the magic bag is active as Santo and Johnny slush through "For Ever And Ever." Lyrics sung through the lap steel like Pete Drake used to do, accompanied by a chorus.

Romeo E Giulietta dot
Singing Lap Steel (Instrumental)

This is a very slow and soft performance of "Romeo and Juliet." The lap steel brings a certain richness to it, but it doesn't rise to the relevant stage.

Sea Dream dotdotdotdot
Island Steel (Instrumental)

A slow and soft rhythm brings forth a march beneath island steel and even a touch of crunch. The palms sway in the off shore breeze, and the lushness of the guitar portrays warmth and adventure. This is the highlight of the disc.

You Make Me Feel Brand New dot
Island Steel (Instrumental)

A squishy soft romance novel soundtrack orchestrally accompanied, with lush lap steel. Very pretty, but hardly memorable without a film scene to latch onto.