Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Torquays - A Date With The Torquaysdotdotdotdot
artworkSteve Soest used to play bass in Dick Dale's band. He is a fine guitarist, and excellent writer. The Torquays include Don Parra, Duff Paulsen, and Gerry Gordon, who combine with Steve to "deliver the experience of a surf band from 1963." This is traditional surf, traditionally delivered, well crafted. A time capsule, with perfect trad tunes, and perfectly trad new originals. It's not often that a large slab of surf covers catches my attention, but there is magic within the little silver bumps of this CD.
Picks: Journey To The Stars, Latin'ia, Hopscotch, Twilight At Trestles, Penetration, Jack The Ripper, Bumble Bee Twist, Ghost Riders, Tide Pool Q, Yellow Jacket, Dead Sea Stroll, Wonderful Land, Shake-N-Stomp, Twitchin', El Sleazo Chorizo, Nervous Tic, Peace Pipe

Track by Track Review

Journey To The Stars dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Opening with a spacy countdown, culminating in a dry reverb kick, and thundering into the tom tom intro, this fast paced cover of the Ventures classic shreds where their version was merely powerful. Big glissandoes, powerhouse guitar, and hot energy. It's less thick, but more interesting than the Ventures version. There's no denying that this track is well played and high spirited.

Latin'ia dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

In a slight variation to the glorious Tommy Nuñes original, this is both spectacularly clean, and precisely delivered. It is less emotional than Tommy's, but very fine. The acoustic chords under the reverbed lead add a nice touch, and the dowels add an air of sophistication. Nice track.

Hopscotch dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Challengers' classic tune and TV show theme Channel Nine a.k.a. Hopscotch drips with more energy and reverb than the originators ever produced. It's very spirited, and most enjoyable. Ed Fournier's amazing melody and structure are delivered with extreme precision and pristine sound, with an infectious delivery beyond any cover of this I've previously heard.

Twilight At Trestles dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Co-written by the two guitar players, Steve Soest and Gerry Gordon, this is a slower, Spanish influenced, and sensual track. It is fluid, gentle, and very pretty. The drop into a vibrato lead in the middle is a nice touch.

Penetration dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Pyramids hit is recreated with panache and chunky second guitar. Accurate, and enjoyable.

Jack The Ripper dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Imaging if you please, an almost Boris Karloff voice introducing this classic Link Wray tune. This is a dichotomy, with an extremely reverent approach, and yet a totally surf and unusual sounding interpretation. It shimmers, it threatens, and it shakes. The rhythm track is a perfect counterpoint to the great lead guitar. Very strong version.

Bumble Bee Twist dotdotdot
Classical Surf (Instrumental)

The flight of the bumble bee chronicled as the Ventures interpreted it, but from a more surf platform. I think the Ventures wanted to sound like this, but never quite did. The tones are round and war,m, and the reverb is ample. I like the string bending under the break. Like Church Key whammy dips bringing life to a simple bridge.

Ghost Riders dotdotdotdot
Cow Surf (Instrumental)

Rowdy Yates can be seen off in the distance, as this Ramrods based interpretation plugs away. It has the same kind of surf chunk that the Woodies used in Bonanza, but adds a sax to the second verse played by Billy Zoom, and is less tongue in cheek and more ominous. Even the Ramrods hoots and hollers and whistles are included, giving it an updated powerhouse life.

Tide Pool Q dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Drummer Duff Paulsen wrote this tune. It's a dramatic number, a little like some of the Evasions' material from a decade ago. Warm, whammified, and infectious, good driving music. Solid track.

Yellow Jacket dotdotdot
Ventures (Instrumental)

This Ventures tune is very countrified, and has that Bob Bogle feel to it. Nice, but not particularly remarkable.

Dead Sea Stroll dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This song has been around for a while. I'm not sure who the originators were, but it's a very good melody idea, and a solid performance. The catchy nature of this is obvious, and clearly why Steve has kept it in his set for a long time. Great stuff.

Wonderful Land dotdotdot
Shadows (Instrumental)

This is Jerry Lordan's tune that the Shadows were famous for. A nice version, well played and easy to listen to.

Shake-N-Stomp dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

One of Dick Dale's lesser singles, this has always been a fave of mine. This performance is strong, and more reverbed than the vintage Dick Dale version, but no less energetic and strong. Powerfully simple melody, chunky sound, and direct to the gut attack. Strong thundering staccato surf.

Twitchin' dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A Steve Soest original, funky, bluesy, surf driven, with an infectious melody and major chunk. The hook value is high, and the energy is solid. It's hard to sit still while this dominates the stereo. A very imaginative melody. I think this is among Steve's best writing.

El Sleazo Chorizo dotdotdotdotdot
Reggae Surf (Instrumental)

This reggae based thing uses a melody line reminiscent of Don't Fear The Reaper, but not derivative of it. It's infectious, way fun, and just quirky enough to capture your heart. Totally in the groove, and imaginative. Original concepts, surfed to the luau max.

Nervous Tic dotdotdot
Fuzz (Instrumental)

Fuzz guitar, edge-o-rama tones, and an almost Davie Allan melody lone from bassist Don Parra. A bit repetitious, but not offensively so. Shredding second guitar double picked under the intense fuzz lead is a nice touch. Go Go surf.

Peace Pipe dotdotdot
MOR Surf (Instrumental)

Slow sinewy melody line, romantic South Seas imagery, and silky sounds all add up to a nice moonlit beach walk scene. Teen dance surf in the MOR vein the Challengers did so well.