Two Sides of the Chantays/Pipeline

by: The Chantays

Two Chantays albums on one CD, comprising much of the surf band's early '60s repertory. The "Move It" that opens the disc is not the Cliff Richard song but a slower, raunchier number with vocal choruses carrying a lot of the melody. "Maybe Baby" is the Buddy Holly song, however, and the group does a decent job of singing it. Unfortunately, not a lot of what else is here is exactly first-rate material -- "It Never Works Out for Me" is a tuneless bore, and much of the rest is similarly uninteresting, and generally vocals were not this band's strong point, based on the evidence here. "Beyond" is a follow-up to "Pipeline" with a similar opening, and it is far and away the best track off of that album. The Pipeline album includes several attempts to emulate that hit, repeating its introduction and mimicking passages, but without much of the vitality or excitement of "Pipeline." The best parts of the album are the band's instrumental cover of Del Shannon's "Runaway," which is a tense, exciting workout for the entire band -- and that goes double for lead guitarist Bob Spickard and pianist Bob Marshall, and "Blunderbus," an almost bluesy number that, if not for the piano, could almost pass for a Yardbirds demo. "El Conquistador" gives Spickard a chance to play an electric version of Spanish guitar. The sound is excellent, perhaps too good in the sense of being almost too clean -- surf music was supposed to have its loud, aggressive edge, like early rock & roll, and Steve Hoffmann's domestic remasterings of the Chantays' releases for DCC have that hard edge. ~ Bruce Eder

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