Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Susan and the Surftones - The Originalsdotdotdotdot
artworkThis is a compilation of Susan and the Surftones' original tunes, mostly from earlier releases, but several appear here for the first time on CD. Susan Yasinski is among the few female guitarists in the instrumental rock world. Her writing is strong, and her playing is too. Good melodies, excellent arranging, and a tight band. If you aren't familiar with this band, this is a great place to start. Solid surf and rock instrumentals played well with power. This was originally destined for release in Europe, like Susan's earlier work. Label problems brought Susan to issue it domestically, and that's a good thing.
Picks: Blue Hammer 99, Stinger 67, Tiki Kiki, Sunburn, Clam Digger, Spaghetti Beach, Tramp, Spanish Waves, Beat Rider, Barbados Twist, Tabu, Deep Blue Goodbye, Space Spider, The Blue Hammer

Track by Track Review

Blue Hammer 99 dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the first time "Blue Hammer 99" has appeared on CD. Updated from the earlier version, it is more edgy and rockin'. Solid infectious picking, ambient organ, and a driven rhythm section.

Stinger 67 dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Exotic tribal drums work well under this very pleasing and enjoyable track. The melody riff is playful and original. The band's energy is superb. I think this is right up there with Susan's best work. magnificent!

Tiki Kiki dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the first issue of the studio take of "Tiki Kiki," a particularly cool tune with a solid riff and lots of power, plus a very powerful bridge. Kim 13's organ counterpoints Susan's edge nicely, and the "Day Tripper" bass line in the break is great! Solid drum work completes the track.

Sunburn dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Sunburn" 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.

Clam Digger dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a '98 composition of Susan's. The melody is a high register minor menace, sad and haunting, over a rhythm guitar-organ backtrack that supports it well. The unusual melody is quite appealing.

Spaghetti Beach dotdotdotdot
Spaghetti Western (Instrumental)

Susan and the SurfTones tribute to the spaghetti western genre is more than a little nice. Round guitar tone, with a whistling organ underneath, and great cowboy drums are all here. This is written by Buck Malen. The big boom reverb of the toms is very dramatic and super cool. Not quite of the Hellbenders' caliber, but damn close. I like this a lot.

Tramp dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Grinding edge, solid power, and a riff that says "hello, I'm your captain." The balance between the guitar and organ is quite nice.

Spanish Waves dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Spanish Wave" sports a Spanish feel, a nice melody line, and plenty of infectious energy. This is the highlight of the CD for me. It's the track I come back to.

Beat Rider dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Original tune from Susan's pen. Her writing just keeps getting better. This is a nice number that reminds me a bit of some of Paul Johnson's mid-eighties material with it's frequent changes and chord dominance.

Barbados Twist dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Original tune in a jam-like structure. It features a Steve Douglas style sax break. Quite the twangfest.

Tabu dotdotdotdot
Surf Exotic (Instrumental)

Original tune with a jungle beat and mystic island drums a la Ron Wilson. The minimal melody does not hamper the likability of this tune. It's not lounge at all, but it is definitely exotic.

Deep Blue Goodbye dotdotdot
Surf Lagoon (Instrumental)

A sax lead original tune that's slow and very sad. This would be a good tune to back a rainy scene in some flick.

Space Spider dotdotdot
Fifties (Instrumental)

"Space Spider" sports a warbly guitar sound over a fifties instro structure. Throbbing and vintage, with an ominous feel.

The Blue Hammer dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"The Blue Hammer" a bluesy progression, a soulful guitar instro, and a surfy exercise in guitar jamming. It doesn't exactly sport a melody, but the progression is interesting enough to hold your attention.