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SurfGuitar101 Forums » Music Reviews »

Permalink CRAZY ACES GREATEST HITS VOLUME 2 CD REVIEW BY NOEL

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CRAZY ACES GREATEST HITS VOLUME 2 CD REVIEW BY NOEL

What do a group of successful Nashville sidemen do after performing, recording and touring for over twenty years with some of the biggest names in country, pop and rock music? Yep! Form a surf band to play surf music in Nashville, and then make a surf record.

My interview with Crazy Aces is here http://surfguitar101.com/forums/topic/19597/ in which Jeff Senn discusses their musical backgrounds, inspirations, musical influences, gear and more. Again I want to thank Jeff Senn and Crazy Aces for enthusiastically giving me a peak inside their band. I appreciate it.

There are thirteen tracks on the CD. The first and last tracks are under a minute each and act as bookends to the CD. The first sets the stage. The first thing heard is the sound of a needle dropping on a scratchy record, and the sound is old – like a worn-out record. “Are these the sounds of days that are past, or do we record a new dimension of history?” we are asked after hearing a great piece of vintage-sounding spy called Chainsaw Dance.

Then Invasion of Malibu plays; a fun 1’st Wave kind of tune that wouldn’t be out of place on any record made back in the ‘60s. Catchy melody for sure. They all have catchy melodies. Right off the bat I have to say I’ve missed bongos. There aren’t enough bongos in surf music. This CD uses bongos to great effect, and I love that. Jedd’s Sled shows just how much fun bongos are and how well they fit surf music. A favorite is Eastwood Outlaw, spot-on whistling and all. It hits all the right musical cues.

An impression forms as the tunes unfold during the record. They form on a kind of musical journey through various forms of surf-instro music. Attention Shoppers reminds me so much of those fun Ventures covers of favorite standards and novelty tunes they were so fond of recording. If you’ve listened to their Never on Sunday you’ll understand. The record pivots with Arigato Terauchi, which he could have recorded and performed himself. After that an edgier and rock-ier sound takes over with Hippy Trip. Makes me almost want to head-bang. Fun stuff. There’s more later, but one of those wonderful sound poem surf tunes comes next, The Last Song. That sensitive and gorgeous acoustic rhythm guitar is played by Steve Wariner. This is one of those tunes that you play at the end of a perfect day on the beach, after the last wave is surfed and the bonfire has turned to warm glowing embers. How that feels is how this tune feels.

Theme From Crazy Aces follows. More hard-rocking surf-instro. Driving bass and drums, dirty guitar tones and all. Boogie Bored isn’t boring. It has a memorable melody phrase that ties it together along with some great guitar playing. Did I mention all the guitar-playing on this record is terrific, as is all the musicianship? It is. Killer good. Lots of love has already been expressed for Bangers, and it’s well-deserved. It’s a roller-coaster ride of hard-driving surf, rapid-fire rhythm changes and hard drumming.

Winston Churchill’s “finest hour” quote introduces the Return of Chainsaw Dance, which ends with the sound of an old record scratching to the empty last groove. So what to say in conclusion about a record like this? I was going to write something about how this record makes me think of what would have happened if some of the Wrecking Crew had formed their own surf band and recorded and performed under their own name.

Then Jeff told me this, “I hope you enjoy the record as a listen or guitar playing inspiration. That's the real, main goal of the whole Crazy Aces thing. To create music that's just plain fun to listen to, no commitment from the listener, no proving ground for our musical skills, just memorable melodies and fun music. When I quit playing on the road I knew I'd want to keep playing, of course, but after being in the serious, demanding side of the music business for years I finally had the chance to do whatever I wanted, for my own gratification and this band, this music, was my answer to myself.”

This CD is all that. Mission accomplished.

One last comment. The guitars used on many tracks on this record were guitars any one of us could afford to buy. Many Teiscos and even a 1964 Harmony Stratotone. I quit learning guitar as a kid because my own Harmony, a 1963 high-action jazzbox with razor-sharp bridge cables for strings was just no fun to play. I wonder what would have happened if I’d selected a Stratotone instead? I was floored when I saw the list of instruments Crazy Aces use. So all you closet Teisco and Harmony collectors out there? Time to come bring those guitars out into the open. These old guitars sound great!

Contact the Crazy Aces at:
crazyaces@comcast.net

Purchase Crazy Aces CDs at:
https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=8T89CKXLG439Y

And the Crazy Aces can be found here:
http://www.facebook.com/CrazyAcesMusic
http://www.reverbnation.com/crazyacesmusic
http://www.youtube.com/user/crazyacesrock

This is Noel. Reverb's at maximum an' I'm givin' 'er all she's got.

Last edited: Sep 30, 2012 22:07:48

Noel,
Thanks again for taking the time to review our record. We love making our music and hope others will enjoy it as well. We should have a few singles out as well over the fall and winter.

http://www.facebook.com/CrazyAcesMusic
http://www.youtube.com/user/crazyacesrock
http://www.reverbnation.com/crazyacesmusic

I finally got a copy from Double Crown (Thanx Sean! The deals are too good to pass up). As Noel noted at release time, this is a very good record. In fact, my wife insisted on keeping it in her car for the time being, so I've only heard it once. Hippy Trip is really cool, but I will be spending more time with it once I get it back. Great job Jeff and all you Crazy Aces.

Rick

Rick

Thanks for the kind words and support Rick. I'm glad you and your wife like it, that's funny and awesome she stole it from you. Let us know what you think after you get it back from her and get in a few more listens. It's always fun to hear which songs people like, don't like etc.

http://www.facebook.com/CrazyAcesMusic
http://www.youtube.com/user/crazyacesrock
http://www.reverbnation.com/crazyacesmusic

After getting this album for myself (since St. Nick is reading-challenged) I finally gave it a good listen today.
This is a superb album; great thought applied by some folks who obviously know what it takes to put a winner out there and insure it's engineered good enough to be one. Not a single ho-hum track on this thing.

Bravo Zulu gentlemen!

Wes
SoCal ex-pat with a snow shovel

DISCLAIMER: The above is opinion/suggestion only & should not be used for mission planning/navigation, tweaking of instruments, beverage selection, or wardrobe choices.

Wes,
Thanks for not only picking up our record but also for listening so closely.
We can only hope you enjoy our new one, due out later this year, as much.
Thanks again,
Jeff

http://www.facebook.com/CrazyAcesMusic
http://www.youtube.com/user/crazyacesrock
http://www.reverbnation.com/crazyacesmusic

Can't believe I missed this before. Another great review Noel! Much deserved Jeff, it's an excellent release.

Mike

manfromravcon.com

All I can say is that Crazy Aces Greatest Hits Volume 2, Los Straitjackets Jet Set and Insect Surfers Infra Green have been the only 3 CDs in constant rotation on my mp3 player lately. Can't wait for the new Crazy Aces album.

Wow Ron, that's some serious company you've put us in and we're humbled and thankful!
I can't wait for the new record either...LOL.

http://www.facebook.com/CrazyAcesMusic
http://www.youtube.com/user/crazyacesrock
http://www.reverbnation.com/crazyacesmusic

I'm really happy to see this review get bumped by people who like this record.

This is Noel. Reverb's at maximum an' I'm givin' 'er all she's got.

Down side is now I've gotta search for something. Little grand-daughter was listening & wants to know if there's an instrument she can play to make that 50's creature movie whistle sound "so then we could invade Malibu too, papa."

Another one hooked. Now if I get the grandson some sticks...

Wes
SoCal ex-pat with a snow shovel

DISCLAIMER: The above is opinion/suggestion only & should not be used for mission planning/navigation, tweaking of instruments, beverage selection, or wardrobe choices.

Badger wrote:

Down side is now I've gotta search for something. Little grand-daughter was listening & wants to know if there's an instrument she can play to make that 50's creature movie whistle sound "so then we could invade Malibu too, papa."

Another one hooked. Now if I get the grandson some sticks...

Fabulous! Great story.

This is Noel. Reverb's at maximum an' I'm givin' 'er all she's got.

Badger, Ha Ha, that's fantastic!
If you have an iPad the sound in that song is a keyboard sound in garageband called, appropriately, Sci-Fi
How about a slide whistle? That would do it.

Most of our best, most immediate responses to our music have been from children, to the point where we're probably going to record something specifically for that age group.

http://www.facebook.com/CrazyAcesMusic
http://www.youtube.com/user/crazyacesrock
http://www.reverbnation.com/crazyacesmusic

Thanks Jeff for both ideas. These little ones are too much fun sometimes and will dance to whatever I've got playing, in an unabashed way that usually takes an adult bridal party large quantities of liquor to achieve. This might be final impetus for me to get an iPad - things to do during snowbound times.

As Noel mentioned elsewhere, challenge is to find venues where 'all ages' are welcome and to get them to it. Never know what might flip a switch in a kid to music. Now on to find a slide whistle.

Thanks again for what you're givin' us.

Wes
SoCal ex-pat with a snow shovel

DISCLAIMER: The above is opinion/suggestion only & should not be used for mission planning/navigation, tweaking of instruments, beverage selection, or wardrobe choices.

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