Personnel: Dick Dale (vocals, guitar); Scott Matthews, Prairie Prince (vocals, drums, percussion); Morgan Raimond, Joe Marquez (vocals); Ron Eglit (bass, 6-string bass).
Recorded at Prairie Sun Studios, Cotati, California.
UNKNOWN TERRITORY was released in 1994, the same year that the use of his music in Quentin Tarantino's PULP FICTION began the Dick Dale comeback overnight. The album finds the guitarist/singer (yes, he sings sometimes) in a position suggested by its title. Not content merely to rehash his glory years, Dale adds any number of touches--from the Buddy Holly-style pop of "Maria Elena" to an even more world-music-informed reworking of "Hava Naglia," a popular Dale tune back in the day--to his familiar surf-guitar base.
Highlights include the joyously raw "Fish Taco," a rocking version of the classic "California Sun," and the moody, almost cinematic "Scalped." The latter makes one wish Dale had been the reverbed guitarist on all those Ennio Morricone spaghetti western soundtracks of the late '60s. A fine, fine album, comeback or no.
Q (11/94, p.110) - 4 Stars - Excellent - "...one is slightly concerned that Dale's instrument might actually explode, so furious is the picking....Grand stuff: slightly camp, perhaps; over-nostalgic, maybe: but jolly, by thunder, all the same..."
Alternative Press (2/95, p.58) - "...this is less a surf guitar primer than the work of an interpretive genius as multifaceted as Sinatra..."
Option (11-12/94, p.110) - "...a much more basic and wilder sort of guitar hero today, relying on heavy feedback, rapid-fire picking and frenzied rockabilly riffs like a Duane Eddy or a Link Wray. This is a delightfully noisy set of tunes with Dale wailing on Western, Mexican and Native American motifs over a huge beat..."
Musician (8/94, p.89) - "...Dale offers an even more hellacious performance this time--all double picked growls, rippling glissandi and full-curl powerchords. Yet the fretboard machismo never obscures the music's soft inner spirit..."