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Vista Cruiser Country Squire

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Album Review

Since it's too chilly to surf in Canada most of the time, Calgary's Ramblin' Ambassadors indulge their passion by re-creating the sounds of warmer weather and hanging ten with sizzling reverb-drenched instrumentals. The band's second album comes five years after its debut but it might well have been five months, since the combo's sound hasn't changed appreciably during the half decade between releases. Lead guitarist Brent Cooper, ex of Huevos Rancheros, indulges his passion for all things tremolo and twang as he leads the band through a dozen tracks that could be the soundtrack to any spaghetti Western, beach movie, or '60s gumshoe film noir. Sure, it's retro and has been done before — by Rancheros, among others — but the band plays with passion and fire, and after a few spins the songs take on their own identity. Eight of the 12 are originals, but the covers, including a version of the Sadies' "Rat Creek," are so obscure they will be new to all but the most fanatical surf fan. It's an album that could have been recorded anytime since the mid-'60s with plenty of variety in approach and influences (surf, garage, rockabilly, Tex-Mex, Link Wray) to keep things interesting, at least for its brief, just over 30-minute playing time. Tunes such as the roaring "Cabbage Diablo" tear through their paces at a breathless high-speed pace with enough twists and turns to satisfy a stock car racer. Only the thudding "Lonesome Rambler" clocks in at over four minutes, with a handful at three and the rest getting the job done in even less time. There is no fluff, padding, or filler, making this music cruise like the titular vehicles tuned up and ready to cruise to the nearest beach.


Formed: Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '00s

Guitarist Brent J. Cooper of Huevos Rancheros fame supposedly formed the Ramblin' Ambassadors on a dare. A booking agent needed a band, so he asked Cooper to come up with something. Cooper recruited bassist Scott Nickless, and quickly began writing songs. They had a few people fill in the drummer position, including David Alcock from Chixdiggit, who would eventually end up producing and recording Avanti. The Ramblin' Ambassadors settled down with...
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Vista Cruiser Country Squire, The Ramblin' Ambassadors
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