Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
3 Balls Of Fire - The Best Of The Ballsdotdotdotdot
artworkThe Best Of The Balls 1988-1998 - 10th Anniversary Edition is a collection of previously issued tracks from one of the best kept instro secrets, Mike Vernon's Austin band The 3 Balls Of Fire. The music is blues based, surf flavored, soulful, groovin', shimmering, and fun. This is an advance of a CD due out soon. A fine disc. "The Men With The Burning Guitars (Reprise)" is the same backtrack as track one, but with a jazzy female vocal added, with lyrics about these stellar players.
Picks: The Men With The Burning Guitars, Chicks On Choppers, Atom Smasher, Island Girl, The Kicker, Black Out!, Pipeline To Baghdad, El Malpais, Jornada del Muerto, Risin' Surf, Machine Gun, Kind Of Green, Beatnik

Track by Track Review

The Men With The Burning Guitars dotdotdot

This is a jazzy and moody piece. It has a softique kinda ambiance, a fluid lead guitar, and a Kenny Burrell sorta melody line. Very pretty, and easy to listen to.

Chicks On Choppers dotdotdot
Blues (Instrumental)

This is a bluesy instro with shimmering guitar chords, a rolling rhythm, bunches of energy, and a biker sensibility. Quite cool.

Atom Smasher dotdotdot
Blues Jam (Instrumental)

What a cool slithery sort of number. Blues, a bit of a sixties jam feel, and a soulful beat. This is very user friendly, and has a surfy overlay to it.

Island Girl dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Slow pristine and scenic sounds and melody lines bring forth a vision of sultry palms and breezy sarongs. Very pleasing, quite pretty, and it gets into your soul.

The Kicker dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

the jazzy licks of this playful track have plenty of charm. On the verge of finger poppin' choreography, "The Kicker" is simply fun.

Black Out! dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Slowly fading into a Memphis styled bluesy Steve Cropper sorta thing seems well received by the spirited audience enjoying the "Hole In The Wall" atmosphere and soulful playing.

Pipeline To Baghdad dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

3 Balls Of Fire is an Austin based surf oriented band with a unique, laid back, quietly recorded, 3 alarm chili for lunch sound. Chunky, surf-n-blues based number with smoothly dribbled double pick leads and bluesy whammy. This is ripe for a full surf treatment. That's not a complaint. This arrangement is very strong. There is a lot of power in the guitar performance, and ample draw to the final product. Great track.

El Malpais dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Over time, "El Malpais" has gotten bigger and more twisted. This is the earliest recording of this adventurous song that probably best foretells of the direction 3 Balls Of Fire would take in later years. A fine song with grit and edge, played mid tempo cool with guts and dementia.

Jornada del Muerto dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This chunky cool number hints strongly of "Heartbeat" by the Avengers VI, but more edgy, and very cool. I like this track a lot. It has no need for much of a melody, but rather relies on an intensity and drama, and Spanish double picking. Mighty nice track.

Risin' Surf dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Richard Podolor's impeccable "Rising Surf" is nicely done. It rises from the sounds of the sea lapping the shore. It's a fluid version of this fine song, with a gentle yet gutsy sound. Mike Vernon's cactus jazz approach adds a romantic Spanish feel to the song. Excellent!

Machine Gun dotdotdotdot
Surfabilly (Instrumental)

"Machine Gun" is thickly textured and rhythmic, giving it a very different feel than the Riptides' original. Though it sports less staccato firing, it retains the growl and meanness. Very nice track.

Kind Of Green dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Kind Of Green" is a sinewy, slithery strip-joint slow-tease torture kinda groove. A beautiful and sultry track, with bluesy, almost liquid guitar work. Mighty moody!

Beatnik dotdotdotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

"Beatnik" sounds like it's right outta the late fifties rockabilly era. The chokes and gutty sound give this a very attractive sound.