Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Los Straitjackets - Pink Dominoes (live at KFJC)dotdotdotdot
artworkAfter years of being burned at the hands of amateurs at college stations, these cats were more than a little "concerned" when Big Myke Destiny and I invited them to play live in our Pit. I met Myke at the club they were playing the Wednesday before, and presented Danny Amis with a cassette of some of my work at KFJC with live bands. The next day, he called to confirm that they would play live on Saturday afternoon. I didn't let them down. The difference between their CD and the sound of this session is so slight, that mistaking one for the other is common. They were spectacular, and the set is marvelous. It is also the only time they have been recorded doing the George Harrison / John Lennon composition Cry For A Shadow and the old Chiyo & the Crescents' hit Pink Dominoes. The band is Eddie Angel - guitar, Danny Amis - guitar, L. J. Lester - drums, and E. Scott Esbeck - bass. ItŐs a magical combination of talent, tone, and humor.
Picks: Cry For A Shadow, The Calhoun Surf, Rawhide, Car Hop, Magnificent Seven, Pink Dominos, Gatecrasher, Jetty Motel, Itchy Chicken

Track by Track Review

Cry For A Shadow dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

From the sound check, the masked lads wrestled with the lone Beatles instro, which ids also the lone collaboration between George Harrison and John Lennon. The instro is a Shadows styled number, hence the title. ItŐs a lazy tune, and a laid back delivery, however melodic and smooth it may be. They often do this tune live, but itŐs never made it to CD.

The Calhoun Surf dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This track is their take on Danny AmisŐ first ever composition, from his days with his first band the Overtones, even before his tour of duty in the Ray Beats. Hot track, and Danny was loved by the crowd. At the first few notes, he the screams came flying from the audience.

Rawhide dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Finely honed raw edged Link Wray, like the way the Planet Rockers would do it, like Link intended. Intense and energetic.

Car Hop dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Evil incarnate! Entirely feedback delivered over a thundering drum and bass throb, this is a stunningly ugly and magnetic track. Imagine Jim Thomas is ill, and Len Puck fills in for him with the Mermen... throbbing drones, elongated low-tech feedback, and haunted howls. Brilliantly scary.

Magnificent Seven dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Finally, after so many years playing this great film score live, they commit it to tape in the studio. Elmer Bernstein's theme was used for a series of Marlboro ads during the sixties, with a logo character called the Marlboro Man, who looked like a serious version of the Granny Goose cowboy. Los Straitjackets have captured the silliness of the ad and the richness of the film score, while also preserving their signature crunch. A very cool track.

Pink Dominos dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Thunderingly dark and distorted rendition of Henry Mancini's detective classic. Like Jimi Hendrix aborted Catastrophe, but with more groan and less clarity. The out of tune amateur horns in the break are like something leaking out of a high school band room. Too gruesome for words.

Gatecrasher dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Thuddy clunky plundering lumbering Peter Gunnish number with mostly grodie edge and not much melody. It is dark, menacing, and somewhat like you night expect from Link Wray at the age of twelve. Quite remarkable. Before there was Billy Childish, there was Snake-Out aka the Fuknotz.

Jetty Motel dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A fundamentally garage interpretation of the obscuro Camel Walk. This is nothing like the Teisco Del Rey cover, or any other, for that matter. It is actually quite like the Saxon's original, low-tech, tribal, grodie, and rhythmic. Pulsing hip sway music for the desert.

Itchy Chicken dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The most perfect of all the chicken bop tunes, most perfectly plucked, filled with most perfectly clucked chicken-isms. Playful, silly, innocent, barnyard joyous. Brilliant.