Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Satan's Pilgrims - Plymouth Rockdotdotdotdot
artworkThis is a long overdue 2-fer CD retrospective of Portland's own Satan's Pilgrims. They were a vital part of the surf scene for a long time. This set sports 30 audio tracks and a bonus live mpeg video. The audio on the video tracks is rough, but the view is priceless.
Picks: Vampiro, Que Honda, Plymouth Rock, Super Stock, Grave-Up, La Cazuela, The Godfather, Boss BSA, Peter Lorre, Creature Feature, Shit Sandwich, Chi Chi, Soul Pilgrim, Badge Of Honor, Surf Lyre, The Lonely Pilgrim, Ragtop, Scorpio 6, Soul Creepin', Haunted House Of Rock, The Outsider, Seaside Run, Hot Coco, If You Wanna, Harem Nocturne, Spanish Head, The Hondell, Escape / Psychedelic Venture, Green Chili, Black Boots and Bikes

Track by Track Review


Vampiro dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Sorta Bat Man-ish. Not much of a melody and not much direction. It was cool for about a minute, but then I got bored.

Que Honda dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Pumpin' bass and splashy guitar drive this very catchy riff rockin' surf instro. Great percussion and energy, and a solid garage ethic.

Plymouth Rock dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Plymouth Rock" is a solid progression based surf original, with a crunchy delivery and cool tom toms. It's not too melodic, but it's quite solid. A set full of songs like this would drag, but a few are quite tasty. Good power.

Super Stock dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Super Stock" is an excellent tribute to the Super Stocks. The melody is suggestive of their music, and of Roger Christian's writing, like a cross between "Santa Barbara" and "Redondo Beach." Infectious and rhythmic, and with warm tone.

Grave-Up dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a live track with a Northwest rock basis, organ in sync with the guitar, frat rock lurking in the corner. The lead is buried in the mix. "Grave-Up" a.k.a. "Gravewalk" is a nifty little surf instro, though it sounds pretty unmelodic, in part due to a mix that doesn't accent the lead guitar, and partly due to a melody line that leans heavily on jam riffs. It's rhythmic enough, but just doesn't capture the imagination.

La Cazuela dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"La Cazuela" is a very cool track!? Deluxe reverb, Spanish flamenco, rich surf style. This mid tempo song is very good listening, with a bit of sadness, but mostly upbeat. A fine melody line and chunky rhythm. I love it!

The Godfather dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Surfin' Mafiosi! It works. The Greek dance thing a la the Woodies "Zorba's Last Ride" is mighty cool. Very up tempo. Great

Boss BSA dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Boss BSA" has a great melody line, and an infectious beat. Very traditional sounding, with tribal drums and chunk. This track has staying power.

Peter Lorre dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dedicated to the endearingly hammy actor, "Peter Lorre" is moody and riff rockin'. The organ runs along, and the guitar plays the moody melody.

Creature Feature dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Creature Feature" begins with scratchy audio from a horror film for about forty seconds before giving way to a splendid surf instro. The drums are wonderful as they sync with the excellent guitar melody line. The bass carries the bottom end with steady rumble. Dark and dangerous, with splash.

Shit Sandwich dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

There's no need to rush right down to the Seven Eleven looking for the freshest "Shit Sandwich" on the shelf. It's right here. Crunchy surf, with a riff that does OK as a melody, and plenty of damped surf rhythms. This is an infectious track.

Chi Chi dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Chi Chi" is warm and islandic, with sultry whammy and ringing tone. It presents a real tropical lagoon image, complete with orchids and gentle breezes. This is an excellent track.

Soul Pilgrim dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This organ heavy track uses a bass line similar to Kraftwerk's "The Model." It is a lesser track, mostly just riff rock. I don't think it should have opened the CD.

Badge Of Honor dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Badge Of Honor" is a pretty infectious tune, with a good melody riff, and excellent rhythm. It has a warm trad structure that holds together well. Personally, I think this is among the best tunes they've written.

Surf Lyre dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Rapid fire drums roll onward as the slightly "Yang Bu" inspired melody rips. A tuff tune with fire and spit.

The Lonely Pilgrim dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Satan's Pilgrims didn't often do soft surf, but this sure is nice. reverbed beauty, moody atmospherics, a gentle shore break. Very fluid and restful.

Ragtop dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Ragtop" features a fun little frat rock riff and churning Northwest organ. Definitely a riff rocker.

Scorpio 6 dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

High notes and splash like the Tornados used in "Stingray." Space surf with power and intensity. It's a nice venture in a seldom covered genre.

Soul Creepin' dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Damped shallow surf rhythm a la "James Bond" with a little organ melody drifting over the top. Kinda funky, but way too repetitious for my taste.

Haunted House Of Rock dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

An echoed reverb crash and pickslide launch this lumbering spookster. Morose and gloomy, "Haunted House Of Rock" is not much more than the mood it sets. Just a progression and sound.

The Outsider dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"The Outsider" is a pretty instro that blends dry chord progressions with frat rock structure and sound.

Seaside Run dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Great surf tone and rhythm run under a fine double picked surf lead. Excellent percussion and stereo damped reverb rhythm. "Seaside Run" is a simple but very cool instro, due mostly to the infectious rhythm track.

Hot Coco dotdot
Frat (Instrumental)

Kinda Booker T. and the MG's in the Northwest frat rock scene. It's always been hard for me to listen all the way through instros like this that don't really go anywhere.

If You Wanna dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Rhythmic and chunky, "If You Wanna" is a very simple riff based number that's nonetheless very cool. The sound and fury and reverb make it all work very well. Yee-haw!

Harem Nocturne dotdotdotdot
Garage (Instrumental)

"Harem Nocturne" has a splashy and fun riff at it's center, and chorded action behind. Infectious and welcoming, the song is really very nicely done. Simple, but very effective. This is not Earl Hagen's splendid "Harlem Nocturne."

Spanish Head dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Wow! What a cool sound and infectious progression! Can you say "surf'? Whammy cords, cool riffs, and driving beat. Quite a tasteful instro.

The Hondell dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Chop chord splash, a simple kind of fifties riff, and lots of reverb. "The Hondell" is a fun song, though a little repetitious. Surf sound, but a kind of non-surf melody progression.

Escape / Psychedelic Venture dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A very nice take by Portland's legendary Satan's Pilgrims. Where some of their material has been spirited but not always recorded well, this sounds really solid and the performance is precise and well arranged. Rhythmic and infectious.

Green Chili dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The title suggest the Northwest sound they sometimes used, but "Green Chili" a.k.a. "Green Peppers" is a splendid surf instro with a gentle gate and flow. Exceptionally cool rhythm and chunk. Fine guitar work on both lead and rhythm. Big grin!

Black Boots and Bikes dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Richard Podolor's fine instro is very well done by Satan's Pilgrims. More reverby than the original, and quite enjoyable. They do justice to the original.