The Ramblin' Ambassadors
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The Ramblin' Ambassadors

Calgary, Alberta, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2003 | INDIE

Calgary, Alberta, Canada | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2003
Band Rock Surf Rock


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



""Our sound is only an inch wide, but we’ve managed to get it a couple miles deep.""

"And Ramble On," he says, "is the diamond of that mining," what he believes to be “the best instrumental rock record I’ve made.”

It’s a bold statement, again, when you consider his past with Huevos, which released albums and singles, toured the world and showed you could make a go of it even in a forsaken prairie oasis.

The 10-track offering of tasty, Nuggets-y nougats was recorded last fall with producer Cam Hayden, whom the pair had a prior relationship with thanks to his helming some Neckers’s albums during their decade-long summer of fun run in the ’00s. It was life in general (families, jobs, etc.) that cooled the fun, but spawned the The Pygmies a year-and-a-half ago, allowing Blood and Fincher to fully explore the sound that was their real passion. - Calgary Herald

"" of the finest instrumental outfits around.""

With their timeless sound and reverence for classic surf, Calgary's the Ramblin' Ambassadors render these new songs with impressive muscular vigour. Featuring Brent J. Cooper (Huevos Rancheros) on lead guitar, listeners expecting punchy rhythms and twang-y, tremolo-enriched notes are rewarded. What's unique about the Ramblin' Ambassadors, however, is their resistance to any beach blanket posturing. While there are frills and some inherent quirkiness within their musicianship, the band's arrangements are meaningful and free of contrivance. Surftones cover "Cecilia Ann" is a tightly wound ball of energy whose rich guitar lines soar over the exuberant drums and double bass of Tyler Pickering and Scott Nickless. Like a good old Western frontier number by Calexico, "Frank Slide Song" is evocative, just as "Lonesome Rambler" hints at Drive Like Jehu tones, only to morph into playful blues. Complete with a crack at the Sadies' "Rat Creek," Vista Cruiser Country Squire firmly establishes the Ramblin' Ambassadors as one of the finest instrumental outfits around. (Mint)
- Vish Khanna - Exclaim! Magazine

""... fine surf, twang and garage rock that showcases the talents of the group members.""

It's been almost five years since this Calgary instrumental band released their Avanti debut, and seven since the demise of guitarist Brent J. Cooper's similar outfit, Huevos Rancheros. Like Avanti, this new one is named after a car that's pictured on the front cover. Also like its predecessor, VCCS features some fine surf, twang and garage rock that showcases the talents of the group members. There's a rumbling bass line on opener "Camino Real," some big drums on "Frank Slide Song," and Cooper turns in some impressive soloing on "Lonesome Rambler," which would be a good soundtrack to a nightclub scene in a '60s-based movie. In addition to eight originals, there are two versions (one faster, one slower) of The Surftones' "Cecilia Ann" (which has also been covered by the Pixies), The Bel-Airs' "Kamikaze" and Canadian brethren The Sadies' "Rat Creek." If you dig this kind of music, it's hard to go wrong with Vista Cruiser Country Squire.
- Steve McLean

"" fluff, padding, or filler""

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.

""...a delight for hotdoggers and gremmies alike.""

The Ramblin’ Ambassadors are the brainchild of ex-Huevos Rancheros guitarist Brent Cooper. He formed the band in 2003 to do some fi ll-in gigs and ended up recording a one-off CD entitled Avanti. Five years later their second release, Vista Cruiser Country Squire mixes shredding surf tunes, (originals like ‘Speed Wobble’ and covers of the Bel-Airs ‘Kamikaze’ and The Surftones ‘Cecilia Ann’), with twangy rockabilly numbers (‘Cabbage Diablo,’ ‘Lonesome Rambler’) and Morricone-like western tracks (‘Frank Slide Song’ and a cover of the Sadies ‘Rat Creek’). Recorded mostly live off the floor by Chixdiggit’s Russell Bloom, it’s a delight for hotdoggers and gremmies alike. If you’re mental for instrumentals, pick up this disc.
- Dave Clarke

Performance: A-
Production: A-
- Scene Magazine, London

""....this record gives the sounds the kick in the teeth needed to keep you listening for 11 songs.""

For all of you readers that aren't familiar with the geography of Canada, I'm going to solve a riddle for you. There's no ocean in the lovely province of Alberta. Instead you get a series of rivers, mountains and prairie terrain. Couple that with the fact it is as cold as a whore's heart, and you might wonder how a surf rock band like The Ramblin' Ambassadors can exist?

The answer, as their new record — Vista Cruiser Country Squire — proves, is by somehow mixing two parts hillbilly with one part Dick Dale and one part Spicoli to create a sound that is pretty well unique. Sure, Surfabilly is something lots of bands run with, but try to picture Corb Lund leaving his horses at home and trying to kick it for a few weeks at Huntington Beach. The Ramblin' Ambassadors have all the shimmery, vintage sounds (the songs are laced in tremolo), but they still have the dusty textures and feedback you'd expect to come from heavy bearded, plaid shirt wearing, tattooed hombres.

Camino Real opens the effort and while you settle into the joyous surf guitar, you get a wake up call from the distortion and grit that settles at the bottom of the mix. Cecilia Ann uses the same recipe, and the suprising surge really pushes the band past sounding like another Dick Dale/Ventures outfit, and more into the realm of the Red Elvises. Cupcakes De Milo has some feverish guitar work, heavy punk rawking drums and I guess if I wanted to put the sound in perspective, I'd say that if you wanted to surf to this music, you'd be the guys they talked about in Dogtown and Z-boys that would fight you over a wave.

That's not to say the band isn't routed in the classic sounds. They take the time to pay homage with covers of The Surftones and The Bel-Airs, it's just that they are trying to put their stamp on the genre. Perhaps the biggest treat for the listener is their take on the Sadies track, Rat Creek. The Ambassador's keep the crashing drums and high energy, but add a bit more of the California sun to the track, and the result is terrific.

I know most people think surf rock was played out after Pulp Fiction (or maybe after the Fatboys dropped Wipeout), but this record gives the sounds the kick in the teeth needed to keep you listening for 11 songs. Don't believe me? Just listen to the guitar solo on March of Dimes and enjoy.


""... fast and furious tremolo guitar swells and crashing drums.""

Almost five years have floated by since Calgary's surf-rock instrumentalists the Ramblin' Ambassadors' critically acclaimed debut Avanti hit the streets in the summer of 2003. And apart from the addition of guitarist "Gentleman" Doug Waite to the line-up of ex-Huevos-Rancheros guitarist Brent J. Cooper, Scout Nickless, and drummer Tyler Pickering, not much has changed. Echoes of the distant past still ring out on a handful of songs including the south-of-the-border opener "Camino Real" with its Duane-Eddy-style twanging guitar and, of course, their revved-up cover of surf-rock pioneers the Bel-Airs' "Kamikaze". The excellent "Lonesome Rambler" joins the dots between the grinding-guitar, tassell-teasing strip-club combos of the '50s and the reverbed fun-in-the-sun surf bands of the '60s. But it's the contemporary monster sound of numbers like "Speed Wobble" and "Cupcakes di Milo" which provides the highlights with fast and furious tremolo guitar swells and crashing drums. -

""Though they hail from Calgary,... [they] still play like they're out surfing every day....""

I've been obsessed with instrumental music since I was a wee lad and my parents played Perez Prado's "Cherry Pink and Apple Blossom White." That drunken trumpet used to carry me away-and it still does to this day. Since then, I've always had a hard spot for all things sans vocals, especially surf rock. Though they hail from Calgary, Brent Cooper (ex-Huevos Rancheros guitar slinger) and his band still play like they're out surfing every day. Then again, it's not just surf sounds the Ambassadors roll out on their second album; there's sock-hoppin' rock, country twang and a few choice covers, including the Sadies' "Rat Creek" and two takes on the Surftones' "Cecilia Ann" — which Pixies fans will recognize, as it led off Bossanova with a rumble. And as always, one of the most charming things about any good instrumental rock record is the evocative titles. You can't go wrong with songs like "Cabbage Diablo," "Speed Wobble" or "Cupcake De Milo."
- Bill Stuart

- Monday Magazine, Victoria

""...dangerous and exhilarating.""

Say that you’re a rambler, and folks’ll most often think immediately of the old train-hoppin’, campfire hobo-type of rambler. And there’s certainly some of that lifestyle—or at least the feel of it — in The Ramblin’ Ambassadors’ latest, Vista Cruiser Country Squire. But that’s only half the story — maybe even less than that. This is a modern take on vintage surf sounds, filtered through an old, beat-up car that isn’t afraid to kick up a little bit of dust on the backroads. Brent Cooper’s guitar leads the way with the most important ingredient in any instrumental album: plenty of memorable melodies and riffs. The contributions of the rest of the band should be in no way discounted, though; the joy of this record is in the reactions and pinball bounces that ricochet between drums, bass and guitar: melodies slink in and out and over and under, fills occasionally pop up when you expect they might but more often when you don’t and the unexpected twists and turns leave you feeling like you’re making fast, hairpin turns next to a steep cliffside — it’s dangerous and exhilarating.
- Eden Munro

- Vue Weekly, Edmonton


Ramble On (2012)
Pine Beetle Express (7") (2010)
Vista Cruiser Country Squire (2008)
Avanti (2003)



Ramble On. The Ramblin’ Ambassadors’ third album for Mint Records proves again that the Canadian West is the true home of instrumental rock and roll. Serving up another platter of big beat, no bullshit guitar instrumentals, the boys from Calgary kick up way more turf than surf. Ever spend too much time at the Brazilian Barbecue? One hot dog too many? Then check out “Meat Sweats;” a greasy homage to that pulled pork you just washed down with a shot of cheap booze. “Back Seat Action” clearly conjures up borrowing Mom’s land yacht for the big date, and every electric note of “Dallas B. Goode” counts the odometer clicks on your ’56 Buick or maybe even your ’73 Pacer. Cars (“Superbee”) parties (“Clambake!”), and even the environmental activism of the forest-scorching “Pine Beetle Express” define what occupies the rock and roll minds of The Ramblin’ Ambassadors.

Ramble On was recorded entirely in the band’s secret underground bunker, under the tutelage of musical whiz-kid Russell Broom. This album strips the Ambassadors’ sound even further back, with pretty much a single track for each instrument. (Well, the drums are in stereo, so that’s a couple.) Ramble On has the fiery twin guitar attack of Brent J. Cooper and Gentleman Doug Waite that we have grown familiar with, and listeners will notice that Brent J. occupies one side of the stereo spectrum and Gentleman Doug the other. Scott Nickless rides the yellow line, keeping his big bass right up the middle, and Tyler Pickering’s able drumming puts the tyger in the tank. Ramble On follows the traditions of the Ambassadors’ two previous Mint records, slamming home the fact that they remain, according to Exclaim Magazine, “one of the best instrumental acts around today.”

An excellent choice for fans of Huevos Rancheros, Southern Culture on the Skids, Reverend Horton Heat, The Sadies, or Los Straitjackets.