Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Susan and the Surftones - All the Beat... All the Best LIVEdotdotdotdot
artworkWhile nearly in mono, this CD captures, maybe for the first time, the edge and drive of Susan and the Surftones. Susan L. Yasinski is among damn few female surf guitarists, certainly playing the music longer than any other. Her band has gone through changes over the years. Now at a pinnacle of power, they romp through their energized set with intensity and a fierce thunder. A great live document of a fine band crossing the breadth of the genre with many fine covers and some of Susan's originals as well. These tracks were cut live at the Bop Shop in Rochester, New York on April 1st, 2000.
Picks: Pipeline, Rumble, Stinger 67, Baja, Apache, Sunburn, Walk, Don't Run, Jezebel, Tiki Kiki, Jack The Ripper, Tequila, Trembler / Ace Of Spades, Topsy, Penetration

Track by Track Review

Pipeline dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Opening with the surf archetype, Susan's band rips right into an angry stormy power surge "Pipeline" like there's no tomorrow. A few tentative notes, but an intense experience.

Rumble dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A bit of a speedy "Rumble" with big chords and walking bass... lotsa crunch from the wahine of the surf axe.

Stinger 67 dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Susan's "Stinger 67" rips the curl, shreds the face, powers the tube... a fine melody riff and thundering tom toms and bass. Kim 13 supports with subtle organ slithering just below the surface like shark occasionally showing its dorsal fin. Fine track.

Baja dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Like the studio version from earlier releases, "Baja" features a low down and gritty approach with a tuff and punchy, yet restrained and respectful sound. Kim 13's organ adds a fine ambiance to the mix. What's different is the drive, the energy of the live setting.

Apache dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is completely unlike their studio version. Gone is the shimmer, replaced by an aggressive bigness. It's a fresh approach, an aggressive rendering of a delicate tune. very effective.

Sunburn dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Another Susan Yasinski original, this is dramatic, happy, and simple. It sneaks into your soul when you least expect it. It sounds like they're in the other room, but that ads to the charm. It's a sorta big hall sound. Interesting track.

Walk, Don't Run dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This pumped up arrangement of Johnny Smith's "Walk, Don't Run" is a small combo equivalent to the Pink Fairies' assault. Straight ahead, yet quite loud feeling.

Jezebel dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Frankie Lane's "Jezebel," which used to be medleyed with "Walk, Don't Run," follows it in the set here. It's totally unlike the Illusions arrangement. On the one hand, it sports double picking and aggressive treatment, while on the other hand keeping some of the flavor of the original hit. Quite excellent!

Tiki Kiki dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Tiki Kiki" is a spiffy original from Susan, with a solid riff and lots of power, plus a very powerful bridge. I'm wondering if they shouldn't be reversed. In any event, this is a solid track. Kim 13's organ counterpoints Susan's raw edge nicely, and Dave Anderson's bass lines in the breaks are great! Solid drum work by Brian Goodman really complete the sound.

Jack The Ripper dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

You know, there just aren't many bad covers of this venerable Link Wray classic. Susan and the SurfTones are right in the thick of it with an intensely driven performance.

Tequila dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

In the studio, they used a hefty wash of reverb and stripped off the Latin feel. Live, the sound is dry, aggressive, and playful. Susan's guitar displays her passion well, and the SurfTones provide a rhythmic powerful bed against which she can fly.

Trembler / Ace Of Spades dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Link Wray provides the tune, Susan and friends provide the surf sounds. "Trembler" serves as the intro and outro for "Ace Of Spades," both of which are much cleaner than the Linkster, while neither loses its bite. The drums are haunting. Fine track.

Topsy dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Cozy Cole's "Topsy" came to life a while back through Susan's guitar. Here, they launch into it with not only the ultra coolness of tribal tom toms and whirling organ, but the aggressive guitar sound adds a dimension of fuzz groove. Cozy Cole's drum licks are retained. tasty!

Penetration dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a solid rendition of the Pyramids' classic. The character is more powerful than the original, but the arrangement is nothing special. Good track, but does not stand out.