Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Sentinals - Big Surfdotdotdotdotdot
artworkThis is one of the most important and best surf records of the sixties. No band contributed more to the genre (except Dick Dale) in original writing, cultural hybridization, and powerful shimmering performances. Their classic :Latiñia" is a cornerstone of the genre. This first album for this San Luis Obispo band is a must have.
Picks: 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


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.