Rockabilly Central

Surf - Reviews

Greaseballs - "Wake Up And Smell The Greaseballs"

As usual, surf music rides a series of waves. The fact that the genre is on a down cycle doesn't mean that bands cease making good music, and the Chicago-based Greaseballs are a case in point. Surf is difficult to play, but at it's best should sound as if you could go home and do whatthe Greaseballs guitarist Bill Bullinski does with no effort at all.

The 17 originals display a timelessness that makes them sound like covers. "Hoboken Hustle" churns with a theme reminiscent of "The In Crowd", while "Froggy Went A Surfin'" will trigger Ventures flashbacks. But this exquisitely executed music offers some of the most important elemens of killer surf action - coolness. Bulinski's guitar work, rather than pyrotechnics, consists of a seemingly endless series of exactly the right notes in the right places. Drummer Theresa Drda carries the right blend of propulsion and reserve, keeping a rock-solid pace, and the throbbing of bassist Carl Hayano provides a gutteral foundation.

- Kevin M. Williams, the Chicago Sun Times. 3 Stars (11/21/99)

SPIES WHO SURF - "Calling All Martians"

The only real mistake the Spies Who Surf made was coming too soon. They were playing surf to enthusiastic crowds around Chicago before there was any kind of surf revival on a larger scale. Perhaps if they’d been a touring band they could have started it themselves, but if they were around today the crowds that dig Link Wray, Dick Dale, Los Straitjackets and the Exotics to name just a few would totally be into the Spies. Their one and only release was this 1993 disc "Calling All Martians" and for ages even this was really hard to find, but it is currently available direct from Monsterdisc, at (312) 266 5770 and it cost $15, but it's worth getting if you dig surf.

The SHADOWS - "The Shadows Are Go!"

If you’re into the Ventures, Los Straitjackets, or any other surf greats, but have somehow missed out on the British quartet The Shadows, then this is your chance to rectify the omission. This is the first time a Shadows album is being made domestically in the States, and you couldn’t ask for a better introduction. This collection features 23 killer vintage cuts of Shadows surf, recorded between 1960 and 1966, including 12 of their top ten hits (4 number ones) and the themes from "Stingray" and "Thunderbirds". Even the artwork is cool, with models of the Shadows alongside the real Thunderbirds.

I grew up listening to the Shadows on the radio, but I had totally forgotten just how great they were. You see, back in England, these guys weren’t considered rebels or anything, they were just there! But while the Ventures were showing America that you don’t need vocals, they were back in Blighty doing the same thing.

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