Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Sentinals - Big Surf + Surfer Girldotdotdotdot
artworkGerman label Repertoire has issued a 2-on-1 CD with both Del-Fi Sentinals albums at a better price than the two Del-Fi CD's, but the tracks are all in mono, and there are no bonus tracks. The albums are GREAT, no question, and I was hoping for better mastering than the Del-Fi reissues. There are no technical errors, but I was surprised by the mono, since it does not say so on the packaging, and the stereo masters are available. Ah well, it still sounds good, and since the Sentinals are one of THEE GREAT BANDS of the era, well, it's ok in mono.

Both albums from San Luis Obispo's legendary R&B band that were surf in the studio. Mostly really strong classic original shredders.
Picks: Surf 'N Soul, Gremmies Walk, The Sentinal, Free And Easy, Surfer Girl, The Pipe, Surf Stomper, Blue Booze, Nite Shuffle, Sensation, Twilighter, Big Surf, Exotic, Latin'ia, Tough Soul, Revellion, Pismo Beach, Tor-Chula, Sunset Beach, Surfin', Intoxica, Latin Soul, Hideaway, Surfin' Tragedy

Track by Track Review


Surf 'N Soul dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This tune is a funky cool almost Pachuko soul track, with a stroll kinda feel. Fun and cool, in a pre-lounge way.

Gremmies Walk dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This funky sax and guitar number has a definite R&B flavor. It is not entirely unlike Manual & the Renegades' "Woodie Walk" in character. A track I have always liked, despite it's distance from the idiom as it was defined back then

The Sentinal dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Based on the Royaltones' "Flamingo Express, this track is really infectious, and very good listening. It has the right hooks, and a rhythmic nature that works just as well here as it did for the Royaltones 5 years earlier.

Free And Easy
R&B (Instrumental)

A floating R&B number with a simple but infectious rhythm.

Surfer Girl dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A pedestrian instrumentalization of theBeach Boys' classic top forty hit.

The Pipe dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

In many ways, this is a sequel to their "Exotic," with the intense double picking and almost cha cha backtrack. It is a little less melodic, for sure, but it is really fiery and powerful.

Surf Stomper
R&B (Instrumental)

Basic surf dance R&B.

Blue Booze dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Slow bluesy boozy number with a corner bar appeal.

Nite Shuffle dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Somewhat influence by the Preps' "Night Theme," this organ tune is infectious and fun.

Sensation dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Another Freddie King song. As with "San-Ho-Zay" and "Hideaway," the Sentinals have made this jazzy blues tune their own, and adapted it perfectly to the surf genre.

Twilighter
Surf (Instrumental)

This is one unique surf track. It is dry, intensely rhythmic, and infectious as Hell! A great rolling track that makes you wanna go down the highway with the top down, rain or shine. Bitchin'!

Big Surf dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Great tracks come in many flavors. Here, the Sentinals create an amazingly interesting tune from a few sparse notes and chords, and the imagery of big stormy threatening waves in unmistakable. What a killer track.

Exotic dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is easily one of the hottest surf instro tracks that doesn't rely totally on double picking, not that there isn't a major slab of it, but the bridges are chorded dramatic power chords before there was such a thing. Completely different than the original Mariachi arrangement, with the horns replaced by the guitar in the lead role. This is among my all time faves. Super powerful, hot playing, fast paced, and wonderful! Tommy Nuñes' work here is beyond reproach.

Latin'ia dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Easily one of the most beautiful Latin surf instros ever recorded. Tommy Nunes' writing and guitar wizardry were unsurpassed. I'd sure like to hear what he's doing now. This song shimmers. It's been on my top ten surf instro list for 33 years.

Tough Soul dotdotdot
Soul Surf (Instrumental)

"Ah - the Soul!" As the cry rang out in so many venues back then, this track emulated that genre just fine. The dance was the Soul, the sound was Pachuko Soul or Surf-n-Soul, and the home base was the Central coast and East LA. It's Latin variation on R&B, an instrumental semi-jazz dance-based music. This is a fine track.

Revellion dotdot
Frat Rant (Instrumental)

Basic R&B Frat rant.

Pismo Beach dotdotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Growly sax dominated Central coast R&B instro.

Tor-Chula dotdotdotdot
Soul Surf (Instrumental)

A Latin Laguna Luau party number from the minds of San Luis Obispo or Pismo Beach... I forget. One of their more ethnic numbers, very Latino and very wonderful. This Latin soul jazzy number has been one of my faves for a millennium (almost). It has a really cool soulful feel and great damped barely reverbed guitar. A brilliant arrangement.

Sunset Beach dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

I like this most Polynesian of all Sentinals the best, and it's enduring power is testified to by the incredibly infectious ska arrangement that the Surf Piranhas did in the early eighties in Paris, as well as the Category 5 version from 1995 in Florida. This track is both "Little Grass Shack" fun and energetically infectious. A great track!

Surfin' dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A pedestrian instrumentalization of theBeach Boys' first classic top forty hit.

Intoxica dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Sentinals seemed able to take common surf tunes like this and make them shine more than other bands. This is my favorite version.

Latin Soul dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Easily the best version of this song, and by far the most infectious Latin rhythm rave of the original surf period. Totally infectious, and very powerful. Tommy Nunes' guitar wizardry is unsurpassed, as always.

Hideaway dotdotdotdot
Jazz Surf (Instrumental)

This is the Freddie King tune, and it shows the influence that the jazzy side of the blues had on surf bands. It is a solid cover of this melodic and endearing song.

Surfin' Tragedy dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Among the best version of this song, second only to the Bob Vaught & the Renegaids version. It is a flowing and pretty song, sad and melodic.