Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Tornadoes - Beyond The Surfdotdotdotdot
artworkThe 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-plexed 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." They started life as the Vaqueros. This release includes the vocal "Phantom Surfer," "Who Was That?!?!," and "Johnny B. Goode." The last track is a funny interview with all five original members of the band.
Picks: Bustin' Surfboards, Beyond The Surf, Moon Dawg, Shootin' Beavers, Bumble Bee Stomp, The Swag, The Gremmie, The Inebriated Surfer, Malaguena, Vaquero, The Tornado, Charge Of The Tornadoes, The Gremmie - Part II, Raw Hide, Lightnin'

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.

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!

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.

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.

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.

The Swag dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This previously unreleased track is a surfed up version of Link Wray's tune. It's a solid rendition, with the surf replacing the raw carport edge of the original. Appropriate rawness and surf drive. This might easily be one of the roughest of the Hollywood Tornadoes' recordings. Pretty darn cool!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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!

Raw Hide dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This previously unreleased Link Wray instro is pretty straight. Spirited and raw, but more ringing than the Linkster's original.

Lightnin' dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a surfy variation on "Shoot That Beaver." It's much more surfable, and much more interesting. It's still a frat raver, but with the reverb, it retains that beach front feel.