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Les Fradkin: Press

Instrumental Reviews

LES FRADKIN & GET WET:
"A DAY AT THE BEACH" (RRO-1003)

LES FRADKIN & GET WET: A Day At The Beach

Once upon a time, instrumental rock music ruled the airwaves. Back in the early 1960's, songs like "Wipeout" and "Pipeline" were as well known in America as the hits the Beatles cranked out. Instrumental surf-rock is a uniquely American style of music. Created entirely within the surf culture of Southern California, surf-rock has become a genre that represents all sorts of extreme sports and lifestyles. Modern films such as Pulp Fiction have awakened new audiences to the joy of surf music, and new surf bands have been cropping up all over the world.

Get Wet, who are based in Colorado, are a surf-rock band built around the genius of guitarist Les Fradkin. Fradkin is a guitarist of the first order, and it's our good fortune that he decided to direct his talent to melodic instrumental music instead of the six-string masturbation that is common to modern area axe shredders. Make no mistake - Fradkin could show Joe Satriani or Eric Johnson a thing or two. But instead of dazzling us with how many notes he can play per second, Fradkin layers his songs with melodies that will have you humming hours after the CD has been turned off.

The album sets a fast and furious tempo with the title track, "A Day At the Beach." Hyper percussion and layered guitars combine to create the audio equivalent of a caffeine-charged large espresso. Pounding drums open "Kick Sand," but Fradkin smartly dials the volume back for the main melodic theme. The tempo is slowed a bit in "Pintor," which showcases some very stylish spaghetti-western style picking. "Key West Sunset" is a romantic sounding tune, perfect for an evening with a beautiful beach babe or dude. Sharp melodies and haunting dynamics make "Nature Calls" one of the album's highlights.

You might wonder why Get Wet decided to cover the classic Beach Boys tune, "Good Vibrations," but after hearing this version, you'll never care for the original. The Beach Boys were never a true surf band - they were more of a manufactured clean-cut version of the Beatles. Fradkin takes this tune and completely transforms it into an instrumental masterpiece.

Get ready for some real fun - after "Good Vibrations" fades from the speakers, a collaboration between Get Wet and their friends The Dirt Surfers ("The Dirt Surfers Get Wet (Wet Mix)") blasts forth like a nuclear explosion. If you can remain seated while listening to this tune, check your pulse. Do not miss this song - the gorgeous middle part alone is worth the price of this CD.

Other standout tracks include a solid cover of "Beck's Bolero," and "Hurricane Warning," which could have easily been the theme song for any recent television police drama. Just for fun, the album also includes a very memorable version of Bach's holiday classic, "Joy of Man's Desiring."

Instrumental rock doesn't get the attention it deserves these days. The recording industry, which once made stars of bands like the Ventures and artists like Dick Dale, hasn't got a clue about how to market this invigorating music. They don't understand that the melodies and driving rhythms may be enjoyed by anyone desiring high-energy rock and roll without angst-filled vocals and nasty lyrics. Whether you're cleaning your house, gardening, or heading out to hit the big waves, "A Day At the Beach" will get you moving. You can forget that large espresso, because this album will reach out, slap you across the face, and shout, "Wake Up!"
LES FRADKIN- "Strat Heaven"
(RRO-1029)
""Les has got out there and grabbed some of today's brilliant indie themes for great instrumentals. In this light, listen to Mr. F. play the fab Fall Out Boy's "This Ain't A Scene (It's An Arms Race)" and All American Rejects' "Move Along" and recognize that good instrumental material and sources of it, didn't stop in 1963!" (Dav Peckett-New Gandy Dancer Magazine-Issue 87)"

Fall Out Boy,All American Rejects,The Ventures,Gnarls Barkley,The Beatles,Bon Jovi
LES FRADKIN & GET WET-
"A DAY AT THE BEACH" (RRO-1002)

This is the real thing- an absolutely joyous, stunning album which restores our faith that surf is way,way alive in the fingers of Les Fradkin. Album of the year without doubt!
Davy Peckett - New Gandy Dancer Magazine (Sep 28, 2006)
LES FRADKIN-"PEPPER FRONT TO BACK" (RRO-1018)

LES FRADKIN: Pepper Front To Back

It is hard to see how anyone who is both a Beatles admirer and a fan of guitar instrumentals could fail to be won over by this latest release from the Fradkin workshop. We have already had from him some material from the stellar ‘Abbey Road’ album, but it would be good to see a follow-up offering the entire set in true Come Together fashion!
Malcolm Campbell - New Gandy Dancer Magazine (Aug 3, 2008)
LES FRADKIN - "PEPPER FRONT TO BACK" (RRO-1018)
You gotta have chutzpa to tackle what is often considered the all-time greatest album in rock. I mean, it's one thing to cover a Beatles song, but to take on the entire Sgt Pepper album ?! No problem for Les Fradkin. He has the credentials and the chops to pull it off, which is exactly what he does on Pepper Front to Back, and then some !

The man who portrayed George Harrison in the original Broadway cast of Beatlemania! and who already has two George Harrison tribute cd's under his belt confirms himself here as one of the great guitar players of our time. Actually he had already done so on previous albums, but this time he's taking things even further. With the entire album performed on guitar synthesizer, a first for a Beatles cover album, Les brings Pepper right into the 21st century.

So how does all that translate into music ? There's of course no need to introduce the songs. Like the title says : it's Pepper front to back and has All you need is love added as a bonus track.

What makes this album so amazing is that you can easily compare it with the original Beatles album and Les Fradkin still comes out smelling like a rose ! From the powerful opening of the first track to his own "inner groove" sounds, Les always puts his personal stamp on each track ! While still staying fairly loyal to the original song, each song is approached with a fresh new look. It makes each and every song a pleasure to listen to for very different reasons : the "horns" on Lovely Rita, the lead and harmony guitars on She's leaving home, the Joe Cocker touch on With a little help, the "animals" on Good Morning, the "horns and strings" on All you need is love... the album is filled with all kinds of gimmicks that'll make you want to listen to it over & over again!

This is an album that will absolutely thrill Beatles fans and everybody who's into guitar albums. Les has been putting out some amazing music over the past years and has been building a loyal fanbase with it. This is a perfect opportunity to discover this unique talent !
Eddy Smit - Rock Of Ages (Apr 14, 2007)
LES FRADKIN- "Guitar Revolution"
(RRO-1024)

LES FRADKIN: Guitar Revolution

George from the original cast of Beatlemania has 11 more Beatles guitar instrumentals for ya. You will hear snippets of Jeff Beck, Jeff Lynne, the Ventures, the Fab Four and a host of other "classic rock" influences in Fradkin's interpretations of these Beatles and McCartney songs.

"Live And Let Die" is the standout track among the eleven songs that combine Phil Spector's "Wall of Sound" with classic rock to surf treatments. Good for instro fans and parties.
LES FRADKIN-GUITAR REVOLUTION
RRO (1024)

LES FRADKIN: Guitar Revolution

Nobody covers the Beatles like Les Fradkin and if his own songs weren't that great, I'd say that's what he does best. His reconstruction of the entire Sgt Pepper album was nothing less than a revelation. And he continues in the same direction on Guitar Revolution.

In case you still haven't acquainted yourself with the music of Les Fradkin, this is as good a place to start as any. Les is all about guitars. Those in the know will drool over the equipment as it is listed on the inside cover. Those who listen to the music will file Les right next to Jeff Beck. The songs are a mere vehivle to display his amazing talents on the guitar. Although these are a bunch of the Beatles' best & well-known tracks, it almost doesn't matter as you always get caught up in the way Les treats them. I'll Be Back has that Ventures rhythm woven in, who would expect that solo piano on Within you Without you... I mean, there's something about each and every track that makes it stand out and why it's not "just" a cover of a Beatles song.

Once again two thumbs up for Les. WAY up !
Eddy Smit - Rock Of Ages (Dec 15, 2007)