Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Tornadoes - Now and Thendotdotdotdot
artworkThis is a career spanning CD, with sixties vintage tracks, tracks from their nineties CD, live tracks from A Surfer's Paradise, and a brand new studio track as well. There area number of vocals here, mostly in a roots rock vein. This CD completes the vault purge for the Hollywood Tornadoes. The booklet is stuffed with info.
Picks: Bottom Feeder, Southern Surf, Dawn Patrol, Bustin' Surfboards, Beyond The Surf, The Gremmie - Part I, The Gremmie - Part II, Moon Dawg, The Inebriated Surfer, Shootin' Beavers, Phantom Surfer, Vaquero, Shootin' Beavers, Pier Pressure, Bedlam, Bustin' Surfboards, Grunion Run, Dark Eyes / Malaguena, Bumble Bee Stomp, The Cruncher

Track by Track Review


Bottom Feeder dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Bottom Feeder" is a softly flowing surf instro with an uplifting flow. The guitar melody is augmented nicely by the sax. It seems to circulate in never ending cycles of easy motion.

Southern Surf dotdotdotdot
Southern Surf (Instrumental)

Jim Masoner (Lively Ones) plays guitar on this track, which he wrote. This is probably the best track on this CD. It has a cowboy surf feel, and more energy than anything else here. The fluid nature of the composition is in stark contrast to the other tracks. It is a little deliberate sounding, and uses many elements usually associated with the NRPS (New Riders Of The Purple Sage) school of large hall country rock thought. That's not a negative, just a characterization. I like this track. It is smooth, well thought out, and fluid.

Dawn Patrol dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Mid tempo music for a pre dawn escapade, or maybe breakfast with Jacque le Beau. The writing is good, but the track seems to wander a bit, and the delivery seems somewhat stiff.

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!

The Gremmie - Part I dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is one of the great singles. Part I launches into the riff and scene with great energy and fun. The beat is infectious, and the guitars raw. The single A-side is significantly different from the album version, as well as others that have appeared on comps, principally in the voices overdubbed.

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!

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.

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.

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.

Phantom Surfer dotdotdot
Surf (Vocal)

This non-album vocal track has only surfaced on the Sundazed CD Surf and Drag Vol. 2.

Vaquero dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Vintage surf from one of the coolest surfbands of the sixties. Their version of "Vaquero" is a perfect fit for their raw approach, and the rhythm really makes this compelling. Totally 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.

Pier Pressure dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Spaghetti references aside, this track meanders between fast and slow with humor and drama, and implies both Italian westerns and vibrato swirl. The changes are refreshing. It's a far cry from trad surf, but "Deadwood" not only has the feel, Squid Vicious is not afraid to risk the wrath of the trad nazis by venturing into uncharted territory. Nice track.

Bedlam dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Paul Johnson guests on this cover of his own standard from his days with the Belairs. It's just like most of his other recordings of this tune. The Tornadoes didn't bring anything new to the table, which is too bad. They are an appropriate backing for Paul, but it would have been nice to see some inventive Tornado-isms in the arrangement. Only Jack Freeman's (Dick Dale) sax seems creative and fresh.

Bustin' Surfboards dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Thee signature song of the Tornadoes, "Bustin' Surfboards" is nicely done here. It's less edgy and garagy than the single, but there's definitely the feel of the period. The (Hollywood) Tornadoes show was pretty tepid at A Surfer's Paradise. They played in a restrained fashion with a cleaner sound. This is island silky and very pretty. It's marred by snorting into the mic as they were finishing up, just before thanking Quentin Tarantino for putting their song in Pulp Fiction.

Grunion Run dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Grunion Run" is a blues jam with some guitar wizardry and a solid groove.

Dark Eyes / Malaguena dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Tornadoes do a really cool rendition of "Dark Eyes." It's tribal and cool, with a more modern tone, yet retaining the feel of period surf. Lines from "Malaguena" are meshed for an interesting sojourn through traditional sounds.

Bumble Bee Stomp dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a fine 2004 live take of Nicolai Rimsky-Korsakov's often surfed-rocked melody. Mighty fun!

The Cruncher dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a brand new studio track with a bluesy underbelly and vintage sound. Moderately paced, and very fluid.