Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Los Straitjackets - Winter Swell IIdotdotdotdot
artworkAfter the in-studio experience, these most consummate players agreed to play a benefit for us. I don't think they actually expected an audience, but once they got over the shock, they turned in a stellar performance, and were rewarded with a ton of merch sales. They were so happy, the hugged me. This is a solid set of great songs played for a most appreciative audience. From January 27, 1996.
Picks: Fury, Calhoun Surf, Car Hop, G-Man, Venturing Out, Gatecrasher, The Rise And Fall Of Flingel Bunt, Magnificent Seven, University Blvd., Espionage, Itchy Chicken, Lurking In The Shadows, Lynxtail, Playing Chicken, Pink Dominos, Pacifica, Tailspin, Straitjacket, Kawanga, Never On Sunday, Telstar, Caveman, Sleep Walk, Raw Hide

Track by Track Review

Fury dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This track is their take on Danny Amis 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.

Calhoun Surf 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)

The Exports' great Car Hop performed exquisitely. Low down guitar twang, and that marvelous melody. High energy, splendid chemistry. One glaring guitar note error, but so what.

G-Man dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Fine mid tempo spy twang. Mean tones and ringing notes. The melody is just dangerous, and the big chord drama in the middle is perfect. Fine grodie energy.

Venturing Out dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Very Ventures like, in delivery and structure, except dragged through a barn first. Perfectly metered and punched out.

Gatecrasher dotdotdot
Rodeo Surf (Instrumental)

Glissandoes, rodeo stomp shout & whistle beat, progression rhythm, and a surfy guitar lead. Not much to hang your hat on, but screamingly good time mechanical bull music.

The Rise And Fall Of Flingel Bunt dotdotdotdot
Lumbering Surf (Instrumental)

Floating lumbering surf, injected with lowdown observations of "Fat Lisa." The shear size and pace of the bass lines say all that is required about the subject. Hilarious.

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.

University Blvd. dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Big chord oceanic visions give way to a whammied surfabilly lead guitar and a fast paced track, with images of tribal danger and the chaos of the soup at the jetty during a thunderstorm. Evil and confused.

Espionage dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Evil feedback and chord threats open a track that quickly moves into a double picked surf rant. The almost discordant melody and the mean structure give it an air of a fast ride on dark and menacing tsunami, fast and thrilling, and ending with a slam into the west wall of a bank four blocks from the beach. Downright ugly surf.

Itchy Chicken dotdotdot
Cow Surf (Instrumental)

Twenty seven seconds of the theme from Bonanza, with hoots and hollers, and a ton of energy. Short, fast, spirited.

Lurking In The Shadows dotdotdot
Tribal Surf (Instrumental)

Thirty nine seconds of surf chord progressions and imitations of monkeys between... demented jungle surfabilly.

Lynxtail dotdotdot
Televsionary Surf (Instrumental)

"Pure Horse. Book 'em Danno." And so the track opens. Steve McGarret would certainly approve of the energy, if not the thrashing this classic TV theme gets at the hands of Snake-Out. Big whammy surf, double picked lines, garage intensity, and sloppy. major fun.

Playing Chicken dotdotdotdot
Surfabilly (Instrumental)

Big ugly chord grind, rockabilly back beat, discordant surf melody, and lots of string slides. Very chunky and percussive. This unusual track straddles the line between surf and rockabilly, as defined by Snake-Out. This is as likely a place as any for the birth of surfabilly.

Pink Dominos dotdotdotdot
Mass Murderer Surf (Instrumental)

Clearly evil, demented sluggish sounds, insane asylum screams and the evil laughs of the keepers, and thundering tribal toms. No melody, just weird scenes inside Happy Hollow. Great concept for a surf tune. Ed Gein was a mass murderer. he was "discovered" when a decomposing body was found in the trunk of his car.

Pacifica dotdotdotdot
Mass Murderer Surf (Instrumental)

This is the song, with a strong progression based surf melody, lots of energy, and pounding drums. The darkness of the track is appropriate for a song named after a mass murderer. Evil and starkly reverbed.

Tailspin dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A moderately competent performance of the Mar-Ketts classic. Big, dark, twangy, and echoplexed. Spirited playing, and a very live sound.

Straitjacket dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a driven thundering minor chord progression, surf based, thick and dark. High potency, but no melody line.

Kawanga dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A sorta Tour de Surf. In their impeccable way, Los Straitjackets use numerous bits of surf history - the "Wipe Out" drum break, touches of "Fun Fun Fun" and more under trier usual twang. When others have done this, particularly the "Wipe Out" bit, it's been lees than effective, even annoying. but here, it's humorous and intriguing. Maybe it's the energy and grins they employ that makes the difference. Hillbilly surf, speedy with maximum drum action and a quirky little melody line. Great track.

Never On Sunday dotdot
Message Surf (Instrumental)

Interspersed with the sounds of clubbing, women screaming, and babies crying, this political statement instro is mostly a chord progression with driving drums, like it's waiting for a vocal.

Telstar dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a surprising song for Los Straitjackets. It's such a shift of focus, yet it seems to work. Not as thick as it could be, but plenty of twang and melodic power. Cool track.

Caveman dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Moronspeak imitation monster talk about "eating salamanders for Sunday dinner" occupy the first fifty seconds of this track. Once past the B-movie trailer utterances, the track becomes a gloomy progression, mean and foreboding. Like many a riff-rockin' instro from the fifties, there's little to call a melody, but the grind seems to work anyway.

Sleep Walk dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A very surfy tune, with the guitar about a mile away. This is Johnny & the Hurricanes' Crossfire, reconstituted fit the surfabilly mold of Snake-Out. This would have been very powerful recorded well.

Raw Hide dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is not a cover of Forty Miles Of Bad Road. It is a chunky chord progression backtrack, just waiting for a lead. The break features some fine raging double picked jamming, but otherwise, the lead guitar is so buried as to be virtually unnoticed.