Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Beach Boys - Surfin' U. S. A. / Surfer Girldotdotdot
artworkThis Gold Disc CD is an expensive reissue, with the price blow softened by being a two-fer. There are some nice primitive surf instros, though they are quite dry, and the double picking where used is crude and the meter is rough. The playing skill was one of two reasons the Beach Boys didn't play their own instruments in the studio on the vocals. The other was the usual studio rules of the day. Many of their tracks feature Glen Campbell on lead, or Jerry Cole.
Picks: Misirlou, Stoked, Honky Tonk, Surf Jam, Let's Go Trippin', The Rocking Surfer, Boogie Woodie

Track by Track Review


Misirlou dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is an extremely dry, light weight, sloppy metered, and an almost energy free rendering. The performance does not inspire, and is placid. It's not bad, it's just free of the expected excitement of this song in the surf idiom. The inconsistent meter and pick attack really stand out.

Stoked dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This track sports is a nice progression, and a simple melody line. It's mostly rhythmic, and sounds like the studio required them to "play quietly," as was the standard of the day among the white lab-coat boys. "Stoked" is perhaps the Beach Boys best original instro.

Honky Tonk dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Uninspired rendering of the Bill Doggett classic R&B groove instro. Clean, but not very interesting.

Surf Jam dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is probably the most energetic of the Beach Boys instro sessions. It is mostly a jam, as the title suggests, but it is infectious and fun. The rhythmic chunk carries it off.

Let's Go Trippin' dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A tepid performance and a thin guitar sound add up to a so-so track. No flair, and little to set it apart from the sea of covers.

The Rocking Surfer dotdot
Frat House (Instrumental)

This organ based jam accented but thin guitar is less than interesting and bears little resemblance to anything surf. It's more filler material than anything else.

Boogie Woodie dotdotdot
Boogie Woogie (Instrumental)

This is actually pretty nice neighborhood band boogie woogie jam, but as a surf track, it has no merit at all. The piano work is cool, but beyond that, unless you're looking for a frat party dance number, you won't miss it.