The Avalanches: Ski Surfin’

1960s L.A. studio players cut some rockin’ instrumentals

The Avalanches were a one-off studio group formed around Los Angeles studio players Billy Strange and Tommy Tedesco on guitar, future Bread main-man David Gates on bass, and legendary Wrecking Crew drummer Hal Blaine. The original instrumentals offered here (in addition to the themed covers, “Baby It’s Cold Outside” and “Winter Wonderland”) are the sort of studio rockers that populated dozens of mid-60s albums and exploitation film soundtracks. Strange and Tedesco blaze away in their respective twangy and fuzz-soaked styles, and the rhythm section burns down the slopes. There’s little here that’s really surf music, aside from a few moments of half-hearted staccato picking; the occasional jabs of pedal steel suggest Alvino Rey and the electric piano leans to the soul rave-ups of Ray Charles. But mostly this sounds like incidental music from a low-budget AIP teen-film. And that’s a complement. [©2011 hyperbolium dot com]

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