|Surfin' The Southwest, Santa Fe Style
The Knights (Lance Records, L-20003)
This is the second CD from The Knights coming out this year (1999). When the first, "Surfin' The Web", came out in the spring I wrote a page about the return of the Knights, so if you wanna start from the beginning, now's a good time to click here.
This brand new CD, titled "Surfin' The Southwest, Santa Fe Style", contains a total of 11 tracks, 8 of which are originals written by Dick Stewart. I'm always pleased when a new CD contains a lot of new stuff instead of the 50s and 60s covers we get so much of lately. Even the 3 covers are impressive, especially the Knights' version of "Ghostriders In The Sky". Well, actually I like all version of this great traditional and I must confess I am kinda of a ghostriders-freak :)
All tracks are played and recorded in the traditional 60s way and I like it better than the modern guitar-rock scene. My own roots go way back to the fifties and there's no way that I'll ever prefer todays music over that inspiring sound of way back when.. The songtitles are up to date though, titles like "Cut Out Y2K", "Moonbeam 2000" and "Precision 2000" are a sure giveaway of the fact that this CD was recorded near the end of the millenium. "Cut Out Y2K" is my absolute favorite of this release, but I also very much enjoyed the Knights' cover of "Wipe Out" at the end of the platter.
When the Knights reformed in 1998 with originals Dick Stewart (lead guitar), Gary Snow (bass) and Steve Hudgins (drums), they wanted to pick up where they left off as the instrumental Knights. "Surfin’ the Web" was the result. "We had fun recording "Surin’ the Web" in that early ‘60s, laid-back, traditional style of guitar rock which really wasn’t considered mild back then," says Stewart. "And although Gary and I had to get re-acquainted with studio work, it was made much easier because of our ace drummer and chief engineer, Steve Hudgins."
Dick Stewart admits that he wasn’t too savvy on the gradual re-emergence of guitar surfrock style instrumentals that began in the early ‘80s. "When Gary and I decided to go back to our instrumental guitar rock roots, we didn’t know for sure if we could develop a fan base. The release of "Surfin’ the Web" in spring of 1999 gave us the answer. There’s a lot of people who like what we're doing! Infact,it encouraged us to rush back into the studio to lay down the tracks for this newest effort, which we think is the real deal! This time we stepped up the delivery a notch or two without compromising The Knights’ traditional melodic style."
Of particular interest is one of the three cover songs on this CD which was released recently by an early ‘60s, guitar-instro-style group from Quebec, Canada, called "Red Guitars." Band members Rick Elger and George Dowser, wrote the song. Says Stewart, "I downloaded some RG tunes from MP3 on the Internet and was blown away by the band’s smooth, mellow guitar delivery and well-written instrumentals. "The Man Who Wasn’t There" is one my favorites by them and we think it worked well with our style on this CD album."
"Surfin’ the Southwest, Santa Fe Style" (coined by Gary’s wife Judi and Steve Hudgins) is truly the most profound Southwestern surf instrumental guitar album to date and we at Lance Records believe no one does that style better than The Knights.
The BlackCat, 1999