Surf Shack Shindig-Shorty’s Swinging Coconuts.
Released 28th July 2023 on Hi-Tide Recordings, limited edition sea glass coloured vinyl LP, also available on digital platforms Spotify, Apple etc. Reviewed by Terry Mead 20/07/2023.
From Long Beach California, USA, the combo led by Shorty Poole (The Dave & Deke Combo, The Hula Girls) has showcased their unique blend of steel guitar surfing instrumentals to crowds at Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend & The Race Of Gentlemen, with 2023 festival appearances scheduled at The Hukilau, Tiki Oasis & more.
Who’s in the band : Shorty Poole – Steel Guitar/Standard Guitar Mike Sobieski – Standard Guitar Randall Stanton – Electric & Upright Bass.
Santos Deleon-Drums & Percussion This album contains a mixture of original self-penned & cover instrumentals, all played in true surf style.
Let’s review track by track: Pacific Swell- Off we go on an instrumental surf ride and excuse the pun but a “Swell “self-penned tune to kick off this album, lovely guitar melody from the south sea islands.
Sea Nymphs of Neptune – From the deep Pacific trench comes the vibes of this tune with emphasise on the cool drum rolls and high-pitched guitar sounds.
Beach Head – Originally done by the Breakers in 1964, love the guitar riff and cord changes that blend into this one so reminiscent of those past surf classics.
Theme From Black Saddle- The western series that aired 1959/1960 this remake goes deeper with more fortitude, whilst keeping the same framework of the original theme by Herschel Burke Gilbert and Arthur Morton.
Blue Rain – Referring to the majestic colour of the south pacific sea forming rain portraited here in a magical myth of cleverly sounding guitar work with a storm brewing. Originally recorded by The Islanders in 1959 and The Coconuts version here by no means differs from it producing the distinctive island sound.
Super Stock Drag 500- The flags down and we are off on a drag race melody of instrumental guitar heaven. Another great riff runs through this self-penned track.
Earthquake- With traits of The Chantay’s and Duane Eddy running through this shaker of a track it’s a unique blend of surf and the beach culture sound, originally recorded by Marlow Stewart & The Illusions.
Hi-Tide Ska- Here’s another great combination self-penned instrumental surf with a Ska beat neat laid-back tune even has some Mexican guitar breaks to add to the flavour.
The Boss- Recorded by Tonni Kalash in 1962, the guitar riff to this track like the original reminds me of the Beatles song ‘Money’ which is very apt as money can be the Boss if you have enough of it .A very catchy composition could become a dance hall stroller.
Cheater Slick Stomp- Hollow bongo drum intro and a percussion influence glides this track along with a catchy guitar playing riff.
Our Man Flint- From the film of the same name written by Jerry Goldsmith in 1966 and what a great cover of this unique tune turning the original orchestrated version into a surfer’s paradise.
Dark Harbor- A eerie dark sound plays the essence of this track with a couple of beat changes on the steel guitar. Draw the curtains turn the lights out sit and listen !
Devil Winds- Wow hear those notes whistle through the frets to the sound of the “Devils Wind” this track is classic surf at its best straight from the academy. The guitar sound has some daunting overtones as it hits those high notes. .
Hanalei Bop-The south sea island sound is back through the steel guitar in the last of the self-penned numbers and last track on this album, lively beat full of energy.
To summarise: Here you have half a dozen covers some rare as hell and eight well produced self-penned numbers making up an album that gives a new breath of fresh air to the world of instrumental surf music. Musically they are a tight professional bunch that give a cool sound to their songs which I feel would have been in the hit parade back in those surfing era days.
Shorty Poole who normally plays upright bass in Dave & Deke Combo and Viva Las Vegas House Band has banded together with some likeminded guys from the Rockin scene who are also avid record collectors of 50s/60s surf instrumentals. After ending up at various Tiki events around USA, they decided to try something different hence the birth of Shorty’s Swinging Coconuts and a repertoire of super surf instrumentals from the era of their passion.