Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Astronauts - Raritiesdotdotdotdot
artworkThe Astronauts were among the most important of the surf bands, even though they were an accidental surf band, and from land locked Boulder Colorado. They had a national hit with "Baja" and several tracks on the soundtrack to the Surf Party film. They were on RCA Victor, and recorded their amazing work at RCA Hollywood, mostly produced by Al Schmidt. It's amazing how much good material was left unissued in the RCA vaults from this band. Back in the eighties, there was a JVC LP issued that included "Che Che Che," so I knew there were some tracks I'd not heard, but this CD is loaded with great and previously unreleased material. A major must have CD.
Picks: Surf Softly And Carry A Big Big Board, The Pier, Surf Party, Firewater, Hot Doggin', Quasimoto, Scotch And Guitar, Surf's You Right, Surfer Girl, Surf Softly And Carry A Big Board (dubbed), Main Title Theme From Ride The Wild Surf, Razzamatazz

Track by Track Review


Surf Softly And Carry A Big Big Board dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

An obvious title in hindsight. This is a melodic, almost Mancini like number. It has that rolling sound they used when they recorded "Banzai Pipeline," but without the stop/start choppiness. A great track.

The Pier dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This rock-based surf instro is unusual, and somewhat similar to "Surf Softly..." in structure, but not in character.

Surf Party dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the title track from the movie Surf Party, and it appeared on the soundtrack and a as a single, but never on an Astronauts album. A great example of what a college band from Boulder Colorado can do with Al Schmitt at the controls at RCA Hollywood. Remarkable.

Firewater dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This song was covered by the Sid Presley Experience in the mid eighties, a pre-God Fathers band. They didn't carry it forward, and that's a shame. What a fiery monster this can be. Melodic, spirited, energetic, and piercing.

Hot Doggin' dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This was the Astronauts' non-album single follow-up to "Baja." It's very hot, feisty, almost assaultive in its delivery. Melody and power merge for an infectious effect.

Quasimoto dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This previously unreleased track is rare, but to interesting. It has an OK melody, but not much attraction, which is probably why it has languished in the vaults all these years.

Scotch And Guitar dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The cool thing here is the almost Sandals like approach, with the slow vibrato shimmer of the lead, and contrast against a modest Astronauts backtrack. Interesting indeed.

Surf's You Right dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the same tune that Al Casey did, but faster and less sludgy. It has plenty of that Astronauts sound and energy, and is infectious enough.

Surfer Girl dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a very pretty instrumental version of the Beach Boys hit, employing a shimmering vibrato lead guitar over slowdance backtrack. Nice.

Surf Softly And Carry A Big Board (dubbed) dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Take a great track and overdub Mancini-like horns for a film soundtrack... The undubbed version is WAY better! Still, it's great to have.

Main Title Theme From Ride The Wild Surf dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

From the soundtrack to the movie Ride The Wild Surf, this is the alternate to Jan and Dean's vocal. Horns and surf guitar. It was also a single.

Razzamatazz dot
British Invasion Blues (Instrumental)

This is a basic British Invasion styled blues instro, harmonica lead, and unremarkable. It's a lot like a backtrack to "Tomorrow's Gonna Be Another Day."