Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Tridents - Soul Surferdotdotdot
artworkThe Tridents were founded in 1960 as an R&B/rock 'n' roll cover band called the Tempests. Inspired by the Ventures' "Walk Don't Run," they became more focused on instrumentals. In 1962, Three of the original four members went off to college at the UC Santa Barbara, where they discovered reverb-driven, staccato surf music. They became a surfband, changing their name to the Tridents.

The four original members of the Tridents reunited almost twenty years ago. The lead guitar player, George Mamalakis, is a businessman in Santa Barbara. Joe Weis, rhythm guitar, is a professor at The University of Washington, Seattle. Mike Hack, bass player, is a dentist in San Francisco. Gordon MacDermott, drummer, is the General Manager of Anchor Steam Brewery in San Francisco.

This CD-R was recorded in Santa Barbara in August 2002. It's all classic covers played in a more or less delicate fashion. Some nice stuff here.
Picks: Soul Surfer, Apache, Driving Guitars, Sleep Walk, Misirlou, Harlem Nocturne, Hideaway, Let's Go, Honky Tonk, Walk Don't Run Medley, Summertime, The Heavies, Memphis, Bluebird, Pipeline, Telstar, Mr. Moto, Surf Rider, Rik-A-Tik

Track by Track Review


Soul Surfer dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Johnny Fortune's glorious "Soul Surfer" is reverently played. The tone is not as warm as the original, but the playing is really nice, and the resulting guitar sound is inviting.

Apache dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

the Tridents use the Jorgen Ingman arrangement as the basis for their version of "Apache." True to the sixties.

Driving Guitars dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Ventures' "Driving Guitars" sounds like they cut it back in the day. Very much a period piece.

Sleep Walk dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a tasteful arrangement without lap steel, which in itself is a difficult thing to attempt. Flowing and enjoyable.

Misirlou dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Lower energy than the Dick Dale powerhouse it's based on, but this cut's restrained approach is a nice change from the full tilt assault that this song usually generates. very nice.

Harlem Nocturne dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Earl Hagen's stellar "Harlem Nocturne" features ringing vibrato chords and a slightly faster pace than the classic Viscounts version. The guitar work is silky and inviting. Quite nice.

Hideaway dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Freddy King originated "Hideaway." Many surfbands played it in the day. While this is not particularly original, it is very vintage sounding, with a funky edge and cool lilt.

Let's Go dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Hand claps, chant and all, the Tridents recreate the cheerleader attraction originated by the Routers. The softer arrangement is an interesting idea for this usually high spirited song.

Honky Tonk dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Bill Dogget's R&B classic "Honky Tonk" is nicely done, with long string slides and a surf smoothness. Very nice track.

Walk Don't Run Medley dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With their Ventures T-shirts on, the Tridents pay homage to their inspiration of 40 years ago. It's a low key performance that's pleasant and groovy. They include "Walk Don't Run," "Perfidia," "Lullaby of the Leaves," and "Blue Moon" in the medley.

Summertime dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With hints of "Runaway" and a bluesy lead delivery of George Gershwin's "Summertime," the Tridents arrangement is original and warm. Mid tempo groovy cool, with vibrato throb adding a sultry liquid feel. Nice track.

The Heavies dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Ventures' song "The Heavies" is close to the original, with a reverent feel and attractive twang.

Memphis dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Chuck Berry's "Memphis" is played in a toned down Lonnie Mack arrangement.

Bluebird dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Ventures' "Bluebird" is a nice choice, with it's flair intact, and a playful attraction. Jazzy, surfy, and twangy, with an inviting sound. Nice track.

Pipeline dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Vibrato chords accent this light arrangement of the Chantays' signature tune "Pipeline." Where many take the power route with this song, the Tridents have chosen a restrained and almost delicate arrangement that's quite complimentary to the melody.

Telstar dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Joe Meek's organ monster is translated to delicately double picked guitar. The light handed approach gives it a different feel.

Mr. Moto dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Paul Johnson seminal instro is very warmly done. The notes pour in liquid fashion from the lead guitar, well supported by the rhythm. The bass is complimentary, and the drums nicely played. It took a couple of listenings for this to grow on me, but grow it did.

Surf Rider dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Nokie Edwards wrote it, the Ventures originally released it under the title "Spudnik," and the Lively Ones made it into a liquid anthem. The Tridents stay close to the Ventures' arrangement as they do a refined and restrained performance.

Rik-A-Tik dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This classic Fireballs tune was first surfed up the Lively Ones, who employed significant fire in their performance. The Tridents play it closer to the Fireballs' original, and they give it a little more liquid surf flow. Nice track.