Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Richie Allen and the Pacific Surfers - Surfer's Slidedotdotdotdot
artworkRichie Allen and the Pacific Surfers is one of many the studio projects of Richard Podolor, guitarist and writer of many a pop instro, recorded by and for everyone from Sandy Nelson to the Chocolate Watchband. Richie was also the guitarist behind the Devons, the Super Stocks, and most of the Hondells studio sessions, along with drummer Sandy Nelson. Podolor's writing is head and shoulders above all other studio guys. His tones were stunningly clean and readily identifiable. His tone came from his peculiar recording technique. He'd plug directly into the board, and effect the guitar via the effects buss to an outboard or real acoustic chamber. By doing this, he retained all of the clarity and accurate reproduction possible, while still using effects that otherwise would dampen of muffle the details of the note. This CD is mastered from stereo vinyl, so the quality is not the best, but the music is undeniably important and enjoyable.
Picks: The Rising Surf, Surfers Delight, Undercurrent, Foot Stomp USA, The Quiet Surf, Breakin' Out, Ground Swell, Push Off, Swanee River Twang, Put It On, Rumble, Surfers Slide, Sunday Surfer, The Lonely Surfer, Ridin' The Woodie, Swing Low (Sweet Chariot), Surfers Hop, A Touch Of Blue, Malibu Run, Surf Man, Comin' Back To You, Undercurrent, Tidal Wave, Cave Man, Room 304, Lonely Guitarist, Breakin' Out, Swanee River Twang, Swing Low (Sweet Chariot), Stranger From Durango, Redskin, Not So Quiet, Haunted Guitar

Track by Track Review


The Rising Surf dotdotdotdotdot
Pure Gorgeous Surf (Instrumental)

Among the prettiest surf instro tracks of all time, Richie Podolor's composition is stunningly crystalline and well crafted. This track delivers imagery of the surf beginning to rise from a placid state, promising but not yet delivering big surf. The tones are characteristically clean and pure, and the melody is most memorable. Thoroughly engaging and emotionally charged!

Surfers Delight dotdotdotdot
Choppy Surf (Instrumental)

This tune is also know as "Surf Beater." It's a totally fun choppy tune with lot's of pickage and a wailing' sax bridge. The double picked transitions are speedy, and there are touches of Chuck Berry through out.

Undercurrent dotdotdot
Link Wray Surf (Instrumental)

Based on Link Wray's "Rumble," it's slower, vibrato laden, and ominous in a shimmering tremolo kinda way.

Foot Stomp USA dotdotdotdot
Driving Surf (Instrumental)

There is an utterly infectious rolling rhythm, melody and structure here, entirely unique in the surf idiom, and only occasionally seen in other genres. The picking is really great. Rhythmic, bouncy, infectious, galloping meter, perfect. Need I say more?

The Quiet Surf dotdotdotdotdot
Pristine Perfect Surf (Instrumental)

This is easily one of my favorite all time surf instros, and it's Richie Podolor on guitar and penmanship, of course. What a grand sound. Entirely liquid and emotional. Every time I hear this track, it raises the hair on the back of my neck. Brilliant chords, lush tone, and a wonderful backtrack. It was originally known as "Samoa." This is simply stunning and shimmering, with rolling exotic tom-toms. The Mermen do this very well.

Breakin' Out dotdot
Honky Tonk (Instrumental)

This is a choppy song with a fifties honky tonk feel. While it's pretty unremarkable for Richie Podolor, it does bear at least one listening.

Ground Swell dotdotdot
Peter Gunn Surf (Instrumental)

Based on Henry Mancini's "Peter Gunn," "Ground Swell" is an ominous low-E and sax track. Quite derivative, but cool. Also released as "Tidal Wave."

Push Off dotdotdotdot
Marching Band Country Funk Surf (Instrumental)

Marching band country funk... The melody seems targeted at Buck Owens and the cadence, well it'll take you back to your home coming game at South Central High. a.k.a. "Kick Off," as the cheers from the stands would indicate. The original title actually tells the tale. It has a decidedly football game cheerleader mentality, cowboys ropin' steers, that sorta thing. It's very fun, not too surfy, and infectious.

Swanee River Twang dotdotdot
Folk Surf (Instrumental)

This is a moderately interesting surfization of "Swanee River." It's pretty light weight, but certainly serviceable, especially when you consider that the Belairs did "Little Brown Jug," and all those covers of "Shortnin' Bread," and, well, there's just a lot of such covers from the original era.

Put It On dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

An answer to Dick Dale's "Take It Off" maybe, this song is otherwise not like Dick's greatest hope. It is rhythmic and very tribal thundering. A "Surf Beat"-like tune with lots of energy and evil low-E tones.

Rumble dotdotdot
Link Wray Surf (Instrumental)

This is a relatively limp version of Link Wray's classic. Free of the usual ominous feeling derived from listening to the original, and it's a cover of Link's LP version, not the superb single. The arrangements are quite different.

Surfers Slide dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A surf film style instro, great to drive to... light and airy and happy. Cool plucky piano. Also released as "Not So Quiet." Great to drive to.

Sunday Surfer dotdotdot
Mandolin Surf (Instrumental)

Homer and Jethro light, with mandolin and surf band and a chorus. Also known as "Sunday Picnic."

The Lonely Surfer dotdot
Surf Lite (Instrumental)

"The Lonely Surfer" is a Sunday drive kinda song with tremolo and shimmering tone, coupled with plinky piano and a light rock beat. Also released as "Lonely Guitarist."

Ridin' The Woodie dotdotdotdot
Indian Surf (Instrumental)

An Indian tune, heavy on the tom-toms. A great melody line is played over a whammied series of notes a la the usual "Peter Gunn" intro or "Church Key." It's a very cool track that was also issued as "Redskin."

Swing Low (Sweet Chariot) dotdotdot
Gospel Surf (Instrumental)

Rich tremolo shimmer somehow makes it alright that "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" gets included here. It's unusual, but certainly not special.

Surfers Hop dotdotdotdot
Hoe-down Surf (Instrumental)

Can you spell hoe-down? A Virginia reel with a vibrato lead, like Buck Owens on a surf board. Thoroughly infectious and way cool! Makes you wanna wear checkered shirts and kerchiefs!

A Touch Of Blue dotdotdotdot
Pretty Surf (Instrumental)

"A Touch Of Blue" is a very pretty and sad slow dance number with a romantic flow. On the unusual side, and pretty low energy. The chords are island gorgeous.

Malibu Run dotdotdot
Studio Surf (Instrumental)

Similar to "The Lonely Surfer," but with low notes and a sax. A studio structured tune. "Malibu Run" was also issued as "Room 304."

Surf Man dotdotdotdot
Ominous Surf (Instrumental)

Also known as "Cave Man" on a pre-surf single, Richie Podolor does it yet again. Heard within the confines of this song are the base elements for several other Podolor tunes. He often wrote pieces with enough things happening that subsections or runs could be morphed into whole new songs with yet more little foundation lines. Amazing writer.

Comin' Back To You dotdotdot
Never On Sunday Surf (Instrumental)

A "Never On Sunday" approach to surf, light and plucky. Lovely tone in a very poppy setting, not unlike the lighter side of the Sandals.

Undercurrent dotdotdot
Link Wray Surf (Instrumental)

Based on Link Wray's "Rumble," it's slower, vibrato laden, and ominous in a shimmering tremolo kinda way.

Tidal Wave dotdotdot
Swell Surf (Instrumental)

Based on Henry Mancini's "Peter Gunn," "Ground Swell" is an ominous low-E and sax track. Quite derivative, but cool. "Tidal Wave" is "Ground Swell" remixed.

Cave Man dotdotdotdotdot
Neanderthal Surf (Instrumental)

Same as track 21. "Cave Man" was also issued as a single under both names. Also known as "Surf Man" later, Richie Podolor does it yet again. Heard within the confines of this song are the base elements for several other Podolor tunes. He often wrote pieces with enough things happening that subsections or runs could be morphed into whole new songs with yet more little foundation lines. Amazing writer.

Room 304 dotdotdot
Cinnamon Surf (Instrumental)

Much like a "Cinnamon Cinder" backtrack, and also released as "Malibu Run."

Lonely Guitarist dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Lonely Guitarist" is a Sunday drive kinda song with tremolo and shimmering tone, coupled with plinky piano and a light rock beat. Also released as "The Lonely Surfer."

Breakin' Out dotdot
Honky Tonk (Instrumental)

This is a choppy song with a fifties honky tonk feel. While it's pretty unremarkable for Richie Podolor, it does bear at least one listening.

Swanee River Twang dotdotdot
Folk Surf (Instrumental)

This is a moderately interesting surfization of "Swanee River." It's pretty light weight, but certainly serviceable, especially when you consider that the Belairs did "Little Brown Jug," and all those covers of "Shortnin' Bread," and, well, there's just a lot of such covers from the original era.

Swing Low (Sweet Chariot) dotdotdot
Gospel Surf (Instrumental)

Rich tremolo shimmer somehow makes it alright that "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" gets included here. It's unusual, but certainly not special.

Stranger From Durango dotdotdot
Body Rub Surf (Instrumental)

"Stranger From Durango" is a slow close body contact dance tune. Richard Podolor's guitar tone is in evidence. Pretty and on the verge of surf. It was issued both as Richie Allen and Richie Allen and the Pacific Surfers. Pretty poppy.

Redskin dotdotdotdot
Indian Surf (Instrumental)

An Indian tune, heavy on the tom-toms. A great melody line is played over a whammied series of notes a la the usual "Peter Gunn" intro or "Church Key." It's a very cool track, a different mix of "Ridin' The Woodie," less ominous, and quite cool.

Not So Quiet dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A surf film style instro, great to drive to... light and airy and happy. The infectious guitar line and plinky piano are quite attractive. Also released as "Surfers Slide."

Haunted Guitar dotdotdotdot
Acoustic Surf (Instrumental)

"Haunted Guitar" is a dramatic and almost classical acoustic number. It's a slow dance Spanish flavored song on the pop side of the aisle.