Jerry Cole

Power Surf!: The Best of Jerry Cole & His Spacemen

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Twenty early-sixties instrumental rockers, most tied (if nominally) to surf music, taken from three 1963-64 Capitol albums (Surf Age, Hot Rod Dance Party, and Outer Limits). Cole was different from the average surf guitarist: he was more experienced and versatile, a result of his extensive experience in Los Angeles sessions. His arrangements were also slicker--in the favorable sense of that adjective--with tight, and tightly paced, arrangements (frequently with brass) that reflected his proximity to the world of Hollywood film and television. So it is that much of this sounds like cool background music for action sequences in early-to-mid-sixties teen-oriented movies and TV shows. Perhaps his closest counterparts in this regard would be the Marketts (whose "Out of Limits" Cole covers here); there are also strong echoes of the Ventures, and occasional nods to exotica. This is less "garage-y, " perhaps, than much vintage surf music, but no less powerful. It's also more melodically varied than most vintage surf acts were, and Cole excels at coaxing an impressive assortment of thick, assertive tones from his axe. As a consequence, this disc is recommended to surf fans who are getting a bit tired of the same-old generic Southern California sound as the reissue vaults get more deeply plundered, and want to hear a refreshingly different take on the style.

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