Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Tornadoes - Charge Of The Tornadoesdotdotdotdot
artworkThis is a darn solid set. It has many tracks in common with Bustin' Surfboards '98, but also sports some previously unreleased material. Most significant of all is the amazing liner notes! The Tornadoes are one of the more important surfbands of the sixties!
Picks: God's Finger, Bustin' Surfboards, Malaguena, The Tornado, Talladega, The Inebriated Surfer, Charge Of The Tornadoes, Bumble Bee Stomp, The Gremmie - Part I, Raw-Hide, The Swag, The Gremmie - Part I, Vaquero, Bumble Bee Stomp

Track by Track Review


God's Finger dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a tasteful modern country-surf track. Groovy glissandos and whammy chords, saucy sax, and a Southern rock feel. While the tone is dry, the track really works well. Great drums and pumping bass.

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 Laquona, though it sports some glissandos. And spirited shouts, plus some castanet-like percussion sounds.

Devil's Tail dotdotdot
Surf R&B (Instrumental)

Chunky instro fare, with a decidedly R&B feel, and nothing surf sounding except the lead guitar, which is actually much closer to Austin or Nashville tonality. This tune has a late-in-life optimism about it. Norman Knowles (Revels) plays sax on this track. It is playful and enjoyable.

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.

Full Circle dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This seems completely out of the envelope, pompous and deliberate, lacking any of the innocence of surf. Unimpressive MOR.

Talladega dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Indian toms, bass thunder, damped guitar chunk, and a western melody. This is a mostly solid track, except for the sluggish middle part. The lack of emotional content leaves it relatively unimpressive.

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.

Green Flash dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Southern California surf/frat boys the Bomboras play a very Link-like tune (I'm Branded?), which must have been recorded in a school hallway... The sound sux.

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.

Phantom dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Hollywood Tornadoes first new track in thirty years closes out the set. It's called "Phantom," and it's from Phantom of the Opera. Still, it's an OK track.

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 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.

Ola Final dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Spanish intentions, double picked dramatics, deliberate pacing, and some nice writing ideas converge in a track that doesnÕt quite gel. It has a fifties slow dance feel, and a pompous air. Sterile sounding, or maybe just lacking emotional immediacy. Pleasant, but not memorable.

Raw-Hide dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Hollywood Tornadoes do a rock-solid performance of another Link Wray classic, with everything needed to make it rough and ready. Great track.

Bustin' Surfboards '97 dotdotdot
Surf Country (Instrumental)

If youÕre waiting for a better recording of the hit, or an updated edge amplifying the power of the old single, you might just as well skip to the next track. This completely changes the character of the tune, and not in a way that adds to the magic. ItÕs fast, too busy, and has four note fills where there used to be that really effective whammy... I just donÕt get it. ItÕs like taking a very powerful minor key tune about danger, and making it into a funny track about getting killed on the rocks. If it had not been done so well in Ō64, or if it were not a cover of such a familiar tune, it would work fine. Without taking itÕs history into account, this is playful, almost laughingly dancerific. It frolics and fluffs, and has the kind of fanciful humor country instros often sport. However, I canÕt get past how much it misses the point of the original. The fact is that this seems quite at odds with the whole concept of the song.

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 - Part I dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is one of the great singles. "The Gremmie" 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.

Vaquero dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

While this is fairly straight forward, and the sound is very weak on the guitars and sax as if it is it soundboard, The Fireballs' "Vaquero" is done reverently and does pass the enjoyability test.

Bumble Bee Stomp dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The plinking piano just makes this... it combines the piano charm of "B. Bumble & The Stingers" with the stripped down arrangement of The Ventures, but employs reverb and sax. I like this a lot.