Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Tornados - The EP Collectiondotdotdotdot
artworkThis CD collects the EP sides from the [London] Tornados. They are best known for their thick swirly "Telstar." The Tornados were Alan Caddy - lead guitar, George Bellamy - rhythm guitar Clem Cattini - drums, Roger Laverne - keyboards, and Heinz Burt - bass and vocals. Also included are 5 teddy boy vocals.
Picks: Telstar, Ridin' The Wind, Globetrotter, Robot, Popeye Twist, Jungle Fever, Locomotion With Me, Life On Venus, All The Stars In The Sky, Hot Pot, Joystick, Chattanooga Choo Choo, Earthy, Night Rider, Costa Monger, Alan's Tune, Dreamin' On A Cloud, Red Roses And A Sky Of Blue, Theme From 'A Summer Place', Chasing Moonbeams, Flycatcher

Track by Track Review

Telstar dotdotdotdotdot
Space Rock (Instrumental)

This is it, the Tornados signature hit. Brilliantly filled with damped plucking, rhythmic churn, and whirring space. Joe Meek wrote this tune. It is utterly unique in the annals of rock. Meek was the UK master of thick completely filled sound, compressed until totally flat, and very cool. This 1962 release has been done by a bazillion surf bands. A must have for any serious instro fan. It is the Tornados signature tune.

Ridin' The Wind dotdotdot
Space Rock (Instrumental)

In this highly melodic and thickly produced wall-of-noise masterpiece, earthly floating happiness cohabits with the darkly brooding expanses of space. Infectious and almost pretty, if any Joe Meek production can be so characterized.

The US version is much more like "Telstar" aurally than the lighter UK version.

Globetrotter dotdotdot
Space Rock (Instrumental)

Organic thick pop sludge, with a melody that hints of "Venus In Blue Jeans," while being pretty darn syrupy under the dull roar. very strange sounding track.

Robot dotdotdotdotdot
Space Rock (Instrumental)

Talk about amazing! "Robot" opens with just about the best reverb kicks and deep crackling effects anywhere, then promptly evolves into a thick and dark stompin' monster.

Popeye Twist dotdotdotdot
Cartoon Rock (Instrumental)

It's the theme from Popeye, all spaced out and carnival atmosphere. Thick and really bizarre. Too cool.

Jungle Fever dotdotdotdotdot
Space Rock (Instrumental)

This was the B-side of "Telstar." It is beyond great. The compression is as much an instrument as any band member's implement of acoustic slaughter. Thick and utterly undynamic (the meters just sit there at zero VU plus-or-minus 1 dB), this is a masterwork of layered sound. The jungle noises, the growling organ, even the male chorus is superb. There is not another track like this anywhere.

Locomotion With Me dotdotdot
Space Rock (Instrumental)

Among the rare tracks from the Tornados with vocals, even if only a chorus. The organ sound is not as interesting as others, but the drums are more drum like and distinct.

Life On Venus dotdotdot
Space MOR (Instrumental)

Space sounds, a news flash about sounds from Venus, and then a typical Tornados tune, melodic and a mix of MOR and space sludge. Amazing.

All The Stars In The Sky dotdotdot
Space MOR (Instrumental)

"All The Stars In The Sky" is a Joe Meek composition launched off of the "Telstar" idea. Not as powerful and much more poppy, its lilting melody and thick textures work together to create a watery view of the cosmos.

Hot Pot dotdotdotdot
Space Rock (Instrumental)

Like an alternate tack of "Jungle Fever," this track sports a reverbed lead guitar and a plucky rhythm guitar. More rhythmic than melodic, still it's a weird blending of Joe Meek space rock and surf. Very cool!

Joystick dotdotdotdot
Space Rock (Instrumental)

Playful Johnny and the Hurricanes sounding thing, organ led and choppy. If Joe Meek had produced Johnny and the Hurricanes, they'd have sounded like this, though Dave Yorko's guitar never sounded like this.

Chattanooga Choo Choo dotdotdot
Space Rock (Instrumental)

Amazingly enough, the rockabilly guitar work and mall organ do wonders with this big band standard. Too funny.

Earthy dotdotdot
Space Rock (Instrumental)

Plucky and thick with a fluffy organ line and round guitar tone. Joe Meek had a knack for making simple ideas seem complex through his wall of sound, which he applied here with compressors on 10.

Night Rider dotdotdot
Space Rock (Instrumental)

A horse whinnies and then rides off just before the almost chorus sounding organ comes in. Like a cross between a mall organ and a carnival, this seems to have an unreal quality, while also seeming to fit into the elevator just fine.

Costa Monger dotdotdot
Space Rock (Instrumental)

Bouncy and flirty in a popcorn vendor kinda way, this whistle accompanied number is silly and playful. Too MOR for me.

Alan's Tune dotdotdot
Space Rock (Instrumental)

With a railroad shuffle beat and a plucky lead guitar, this has an almost Baja Marimba Band feel to it, though certainly none of the sound there of. A bit too contrived for my taste.

Dreamin' On A Cloud dotdotdot
Space MOR (Instrumental)

MOR fluff, eerie elevator music, dark and dangerous when the elevator gets stuck.

Red Roses And A Sky Of Blue dotdotdot
MOR (Instrumental)

Plucky MOR fluff, like Paul Mauriat or someone, but more intense. It floats along OK, but sure is fluffy.

Theme From 'A Summer Place' dotdotdot
MOR (Instrumental)

Exotic birds calling, swirly keys and guitars shimmering, and a slow shiny arrangement of the MOR classic.

Chasing Moonbeams dotdot
MOR (Instrumental)

Punchy bouncy MOR... infectious in a commercial jingle kinda way... can't stand the fluff.

Flycatcher dotdotdot
MOR Rock (Instrumental)

"Willie and the Hand Jive" rhythms and churning organ... more than MOR, less than rock.