Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Tornadoes - Bustin' Surfboardsdotdotdotdot
artworkThis is the celebrated only album from the (Hollywood) Tornadoes, plus some single sides. The Hollywood Tornadoes were a raw band. Ron Wilson of the Surfaris used to rave about their raw and vital sound... them and the Nobles. The three Sanders brothers plus a drummer made up this Echo-Plex Surf band who pioneered the growlie ominous tribal side of Surf with "Bustin' Surfboards." By the time they released "The Gremmie parts 1 & 2", they had adjusted their name to the Hollywood Tornadoes and eventually the Nu Tornadoes to avoid confusion with the British band Joe Meek made famous with "Telstar." Their CD is a really important part of a Surf library. Their sound often employed too much use of EchoPlex, but there's some absolutely necessary surf here as well. This CD contains a few dreadful Elvis styled Vegas lounge vocals like "Old Shep" and pale classic covers like "Johnny B. Goode."
Picks: Bustin' Surfboards, Malaguena, The Tornado, The Gremmie, Bumble Bee Stomp, Moon Dawg, Vaquero, Shootin' Beavers, The Inebriated Surfer, The Gremmie - Part II, Beyond The Surf, Charge Of The Tornadoes

Track by Track Review


Bustin' Surfboards dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Bustin' Surfboards" is one of the most recognizable of the tribal surf instros from the sixties. It's drum dominated raw sound was nothing short of magical when I first heard it on KRLA. This is one of the essential surf instros, a desert island must-have.

Malaguena dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

EchoPlexed version more like the song was written by Ernesto Laquoña, though it sports some glissandoes. And spirited shouts, plus some castanet-like percussion sounds.

The Tornado dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A fifties styled instro with hot drums and a simple progression, but no melody. It's energetic enough, but not very surfy. Extreme vibrato effected through tape delay (EchoPlex). The drum solo is spunky, but not very interesting without witnessing.

The Gremmie dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the album version, with it's different voice overdubs from the single. This is a fine track, and necessary for any historical journey into the vintage era. It's chunky, rhythmic, and employs that simple "Surf Beat" style progression that works well in surf, but almost nowhere else. Quite tasty. This is the album version, not the single part one.

Bumble Bee Stomp dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Better than the Ventures' variation of the "Flight Of The Bumble Bee," with more energy and more chunk. It's quite cool, despite the hokey nature of the track. Nice piano tinkling.

Moon Dawg dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This starts out with the worst, most echoed imitation angry dog barks of any version of the Gamblers' hit. It's pretty darn fine, spirited, and crude. Even the harmonies are cool.

Vaquero dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

George Tomsco of the Fireballs created this originally. This is a reasonably accurate cove, but with a lot more edge and spirit. Pretty nice track.

Shootin' Beavers dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Spunky surf R&B fun jammin', like a honkin' sax party anthem with guitar domination. Perfect for a frat party.

The Inebriated Surfer dotdotdotdot
Frat (Instrumental)

This is a spiffy beer-drenched beach rave. It's low-E chunk and growly sax provide both an ominous and comic sound. Cool to be drunk epic.

The Gremmie - Part II dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the single B-side, better than the album version of the A-side, but less than the single A-side. Fine raw sax, chunky surf guitar, and rockin' party fun. This is rhythm dominated, with jam-based melody substitution, but it doesn't matter because it's so boss!

Beyond The Surf dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is one of the coolest of the haunting flat water instros. It's right up there with Davie Allan's "Beyond The Blue." It's slow, piercing, fluid, and relentlessly mysterious, with a wandering vision permeating the whole piece. The superfine use of echo on the guitar adds much, as does the coming and going of the brushed crash cymbal. Great track!

Charge Of The Tornadoes dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Another cut at the "William Tell Overture," without a whimper of the silliness that usually accompanies such things. This is fast, furious, rhythmic, and mighty fun. Totally cool. The bugle calls added are too funny, even the roosters crowing make it happen.