Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Archie Thompson - The Legend Of Johnny Surfdotdotdot
artworkThis CD is in the soulful groovin' sax mode mostly, produced by and for surfers, about surfing and definitely in the tube. There is quite a bit of Pachuko Soul influences from the vintage days of Central Valley and East LA bands like Jim Duval & the Gauchos, Jim Waller & the Deltas, the Rhythm Kings and Soul Kings, and there's even some of Dave Myers & the Surftones' "Luau" mentality at work. As a surf record, meaning the musical genre, it resides on the outskirts of town, near GT Stringer's neighborhood, but neither jazz based, nor as exciting as that band's work. It is a very pleasant CD of mostly instro sax 'n' roll for the lifestyle. There's no shortage of fine musicianship and very listenable tracks. It's worth searching out. Just don't expect traditional "surf music." Archie Thompson's solo project primarily shows off his sax playing (tenor, alto, baritone, and soprano), but Archie also plays piano, clavinet, bass, electric and acoustic guitars, drums, and occasional vocals on some tracks. He is supported by a sizable cross section of the Thompson family, with Michael Thompson - guitar and lap steel, Trish Thompson - vocals, and Jeff Thompson - vocals, plus Mike Lewis - drums, Buzz Barnaba - guitars, "Big" Jim McDonald - vocals on some tracks, and Phil Rowley - bongos and congas.
Picks: El Nino, Body Whomp!, Swami's, Bird Rock, Hot-Diggity-Dog, Tsunami, Crusty, I Live Downstream, Baja Sol

Track by Track Review

El Nino dotdotdot
Pachuko Soul (Instrumental)

Suave surf worthy sax instro fare with an unsurfy progression beneath. Nice guitar work, though it's a bit noodly. The track flows and grooves. I'm reminded of a few of the Eliminators' melodies, but certainly not their punch or power. As the track ends, Jose Serrano's Mexican radio show is heard.

Body Whomp! dotdotdot
Pachuko Soul (Instrumental)

The Pachuko Soul variety of surf is very evident here, from the obvious influences of the Rhythm Kings' "Soul Beat" to Jim Waller & the Deltas and their Central Valley cohorts Jim Duval & the Gauchos. This is a highly Jim Waller influenced tune, with Dave Myers' "Laguna Limbo Luau" leanings. It, none the less, rises above mere sound alike with it's energetic honkin' and squealin' sax work.

Swami's dotdotdot
Pachuko Soul (Instrumental)

Slow groovin' "Hernando's Hideaway" backtrack and a saucy sax. Dramatic Latin heat flows through the sensual tones.

Bird Rock dotdotdot
Pachuko Soul (Instrumental)

Think Jimmy Smith meets Booker T. & the MG's at the beach... with some stuttered "bu-bu-bu-bu bird rock" utterances. But, but unremarkable.

Hot-Diggity-Dog dotdotdot
Pachuko Soul (Instrumental)

Hollywood studio styled playful fare, with a progression dominating. Nice tones, solid balanced arranging, just no melody to speak of. East side surf guitar breaks and club sax leads. A really nice slide in the break.

Tsunami dotdotdot
Pachuko Soul (Instrumental)

Jazzy groove and suave twang. It's a simple progressional thing with a cool groove and a friendly feel.

Crusty dotdotdotdot
Pachuko Soul (Instrumental)

An "Intoxica" like structure and a definite Pachuko Soul groove would have made this perfect fodder for the Ray Beats, were they still around. The lap steel and guitar work are simple but really effective. I like this track a lot. Moderately paced suave.

I Live Downstream dotdotdotdot
Pachuko Soul (Instrumental)

A slow sultry tropical flow inhabits this saucy track. Nice backdrop to a stroll on the beach at sunset just out of the lights at the bungalow party.

Baja Sol dotdotdot
Pachuko Soul (Instrumental)

Sweetly fluid dim lights backdrop to intimate dinners and a bottle of pink Chablis. Great keyboard tone.