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Best Of The Batch: The Space Cossacks
Never Mind The Bolsheviks-The Best Of…
By MuzikMan
(more articles from this author)
2006-02-24
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Artist: The Space Cossacks
Title: Never Mind The Bolsheviks-The Best Of…
Genre: Surf Instrumental
Label: MuSick Records
Website: www.musickrecords.com/artists/theSpaceCossacks.html

It has been nearly six years since the last Space Cossacks album came out, notwithstanding any cool colorful 7” or LP vinyl that they have a habit of releasing.

Never Mind The Bolsheviks-The Best Of… is a compilation of the best of their incredible two albums released on MuSick Records, including live cuts and some unreleased studio gems. All of that is fine and dandy with me. I love this band, and in fact, I have never had a bad thing to say about them. The only complaint I have is that they have not put out a new album in so long!

It is understandable why - you simply cannot make a living performing and recording in the genre. Back in ‘60s, the golden age otherwise known as the first wave of surf instrumental, it was different. There were songs that actually charted. Now a majority of young listeners do not even know this music exists, which is a cryin’ shame. Maybe CDs like this will fall into the right hands and serve as an introduction to the third wave of surf instrumental to legions of music fans just dying for something new to sink their teeth or ears into ... we can only hope.

Twenty-Four tracks are crammed into this CD, well not exactly crammed, all tracks in this genre run for two to three minutes, it is pretty much the standard. Regardless, this band is one of the very best at what they do. Ivan Pongracic is one of the highly regarded and pioneering players in this circle, or small community of musicians if you will. He is comparable to the big fish in a small pond analogy. Ivan is one of the reigning kings of surf instro guitar because of his nod to the past, his roots, and the ability to recognize all of the sub genres and influences thereof that make the music what it is. His playing can be vicious and beautifully tasteful within one song.

The rest of the band compliments Ivan nicely. Mark English provides a nice rhythm guitar for him to drop his piercing leads on, just as Don Wilson does for Gerry McGee of The Ventures. Doug Hoekstra (drums) and Catherine Gray (bass) are a rock solid rhythm section. At times, it’s necessary to play that machine gun bass and drum rhythm, and this pair are dynamite in providing the necessary backbeat on every track.

As expected, to go with all of this great music, the CD artwork is very colorful and interesting; it always is with the Space Cossacks, their CDs and 7” vinyl are a gas to view. The liner notes are excellent as well; several people give the band their due including the owner of the label Art Bourasseau.

So there you have it. Start off the year 2006 with some of the best surf instro music you ears will ever have the pleasure of hearing. This is your own personal self-starter kit if you are new to the genre. If you are an old poke like me, you will love this CD too!

Rating-10/10

01. Space Victory Theme
02. Red Sunrise
03. Solaris Stomp
04. Bombora
05. Transylvanian Orbit
06. Metsakukkia
07. Defector
08. Jewel of Duende
09. Tsunami Tsurprise
10. Space Probe
11. Exolumina
12. Apes of Wrath
13. Black Sand
14. Penetration
15. Transatlantic Orbit
16. Cossack Rocket Patrol
17. Escape from Gulag 17
18. Planet of the Apes
19. Mir Rescue
20. Gunmetal Express
21. Hava Nagila
22. Tsar Wars
23. Moroccan Adventures
24. Red Sunrise

Credits:

Ivan Pongracic: Lead Guitars Mark English: Rhythm Guitars
Catherine Gray: Bass Guitar
Doug Hoekstra: Drums

For more information and to contact the author, click on the author’s name at the top of the page.


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