Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Tele Ranch - Surf, Turf and Twangdotdotdotdot
artworkThis is quite a nice set of tunes. It's not trad at all, not even really surf per say, yet there are many elements of the genre, and a few covers that fit as well. Tele Ranch have created a very interesting merger between jazz and rock and surf and exotica and anything else laying around. Steve Barker is the guitar man, and his backing is provided by the Ditherie Dudes (now there's a name!).
Picks: La Fiesta, Home On The Range, Madame Blue Jay, Walk Don't Run, Pipeline, Four On Six, Speak No Evil, Freddy The Freeloader

Track by Track Review


La Fiesta dotdotdotdot
Jazz Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Chick Corea's clever melody is very nicely done in a surf meets twang guitar in a bongo lab kinda way. "La Fiesta" is very infectious and inviting in an electric kind of way. Entirely cool!

Home On The Range dotdotdot
Jazz Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Well, it had to happen. All those surf and rock instro versions of traditional songs like "Red River Valley" ("Red River Rock"), "Little Brown Jug," "Lone Star," "Shortnin' Bread," and a dozen others. Now, it's time for "Home On The Range." It's slow and sludgy, with ultra low guitar lead that hints at Jet Harris and Tony Meehan. Not surf, but cool in the same way that the Bum Steers' "Old Man River" was cool.

Madame Blue Jay dotdotdot
Jazz Surf Rock (Instrumental)

This is pretty nice, like easy jazz produced like rock 'n' roll. Nifty keys and guitar. "Madame Blue Jay" is a simple and fun song written by Steve Barker. Melodic and engaging.

Walk Don't Run dotdotdotdot
Jazz Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Like a cowboy two-step inversion of what Jet Harris and Tony Meehan might have done with Johnny Smith's classic, this runs somewhere between Smith's early fifties jazz take and his mid sixties semi-psych rendition with his band the Explorers. Think minuet for a tenderfoot. This is just too fun.

Pipeline dotdotdotdotdot
Jazz Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Never have you heard "Pipeline" like this! It's sultry, tweaky, smooth, cheesy, and oh-so cool! The reggae rhythm, the guitar twang, the one note at a time glissandos... man-oh-man, what a treat. It may be miles outside the actual surf envelope in some ways, but it's just too cool for school!

Four On Six dotdotdotdot
Jazz Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Wes Montgomery's melody is launched from a glissando, vamped through jazz and rock and pumping keys. You can imagine folks in a discotheque (that's not a disco, boys and girls) leaning over red candle jars on round tables while go-go girls dance in suspended animal cages, and the house band works out on stage drenched in liquid light.

Speak No Evil dotdotdotdot
Jazz Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Kinda jazz cool, sort of electric intense, vibes shimmering, and exotic. Wayne Shorter's "Speak No Evil" is a natural vehicle for the swimming whammy of surf and the lushness of exotica. Nice track.

Freddy The Freeloader dotdotdotdot
Jazz Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Miles Davis' paean to Red Skelton's hapless character gets a slithery guitar treatment that's part jazz, part rock, and part blues. Quite nice.