Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Susan and the SurfTones - Susan and the SurfTones Play The Beatles - She's A Womandotdotdot
artworkThis is an advance of the next Susan and the SurfTones CD. Susan and the SurfTones Play The Beatles is a departure of sorts, with the band playing many songs done by the Liverpool charmers in lovely and easy arrangements. This disc plays well as a scene setter. Very pretty. There's a bonus vocal version of "I'll Be On My Way (vocal) (video)" as well.

Projects as ambitious as this are difficult enough without trying to capture eighteen songs. The shear number means this is best appreciated in a few sittings.
Picks: She's A Woman, It's Only Love, Twist And Shout, Don't Bother Me, From Me To You, Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown), Please Mr. Postman, Eight Days A Week, Besame Mucho, I Will, Birthday, Boys, I Need You, No Reply, Slow Down, I Want To Hold Your Hand, Like Dreamers Do, I'll Be On My Way

Track by Track Review

She's A Woman dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is much less harsh than The Beatles' original. The keys give it a bit of a carnival feeling. Fluid and fun.

It's Only Love dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is very pretty. "It's Only Love" is romantic and lovely. While it contains the pretty pop sensibilities of the original, it seems much more fluid to my ears. Very nice.

Twist And Shout dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is very fluid and rich, perhaps as if The Righteous Brothers had done it instrumentally in a suburban go-go discotheque. It's a bit repetitious, yet the groove is warm and rich. "Twist And Shout" is a sort of medley because it blends chords from "Hang On Sloopy." Decidedly not all pop intense and thin like The Beatles recording, and not ballsy like the Isley Brothers or the original Topnotes release.

Don't Bother Me dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Almost haunting atmospherically, "Don't Bother Me" flows in a predawn anticipation of something better afoot. This very simple arrangement is just lovely.

From Me To You dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The strained thin pop sounds of The Beatles' "From Me To You" are replaced with much richer and rounder tones, and this lad doesn't miss the "oooo-oooo" nonsense at all. Warm with cool tone.

Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown) dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Bordering on classical, this is one of the most beautiful of The Beatles' pop songs, one of just a few I really like. The circular melody lends itself to instrumental treatment. Susan Yasinski's tone is perfect for the song's sad message. This is one fine cover of "Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)."

Please Mr. Postman dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a very nice cover of The Marvelettes' "Please Mr. Postman." Susan and the SurfTones give is a much slower and richer treatment, taking it from the harsh realm of R&B into the lovely world of guitar. While very straight forward, this take is very comfortable and satisfying.

This song was covered by every R&B band in England, or at least it seems that way. Personally, I like Bern Elliott and the Fenmen's version the best, finding it to be much more cool and gutsy than the pallid Beatles take.

Eight Days A Week dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Eight Days A Week" is done in a very pleasant arrangement of two guitars playing the melody line in different registers and with different tone. Quite nice.

Besame Mucho dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Covered early on by The Beatles, Consuelo Velasquez' lovely melody has more often been translated into liquid guitar arrangements. Some are superbly original, like Johnny Fortune's, and others are very watery. Susan and the SurfTones' take on the song is somewhere between. The duel guitars add liquidity and charm.

I Will dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"I Will" is played in a slow and silky fashion. The guitar's tones seems really appropriate, and that makes the song easy to listen to.

Birthday dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Unlike the original over the top shouting birthday anthem, Susan and the SurfTones make it over into a smooth and slightly silly version where the keys remind me of a calliope. It's all smooth fun!

Boys dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Boys" gets the smoothed out treatment. I didn't think this was particularly ripe for instrumental treatment because of its fairly unmelodic nature, yet it's been successfully converted. Still on the jammy side, yet satisfying.

I Need You dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This track flows with an easy romantic sound. The instruments all seem to have places in the arrangement that are individual and out of each other's way, creating a solid sense of ensemble.

No Reply dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

One of the better written of The Beatles' pop songs, "No Reply" has a circular melody line that's well suited to a guitar instrumental treatment. This might be my favorite track on this disc.

Slow Down dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Larry Williams' "Slow Down" was, in my opinion, not complimented by the trashing The Beatles gave it, but Susan and the SurfTones have rescued it. This is nothing like the original, or the The Beatles' cover. Instead of a copy in any sense, this has been smoothed out and enriched tonally, and the result is a very nice track.

I Want To Hold Your Hand dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"I Want To Hold Your Hand" is not one of the British pop star's tracks i like, yet without the vocals, it's a warm and friendly song that's just easy to like. This direct arrangement is a good fit.

Like Dreamers Do dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

From the video, "Like Dreamers Do" is one of the more engaging tracks here, with different tone, lighter and perhaps more British sounding. Very nice!

I'll Be On My Way dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Similar to "Like Dreamers Do," this is fresher and lighter sounding. Uncomplicated and direct, with an easy gate and sound. The higher register third verse is my fave.