Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Beach Boys - Instrumental Hitsdotdot
artworkMost of The Beach Boys' instrumentals are, at best, lesser among the genre. Even the 5 picks here are tepid by comparison to the contemporary instrumental bands. It was rumored back in the day that they did not play on these tracks, though I have not substantiated that. Certainly, they were young and formative when most of these were cut, so who knows. Anyway, most of these have seen repeated issues in various forms.
Picks: Moon Dawg, Misirlou, Stoked, Surf Jam, Let's Go Trippin'

Track by Track Review

Moon Dawg dotdotdot
Garage Rock (Instrumental)

This song require either high intensity performance, or extreme precision displayed pristinely. Neither are here. It's a tepid rendering of the Derry Weaver composition from the Gamblers sessions. It's not bad. In fact, it's listenable, and even enjoyable, but you won't miss it if you don't own it.

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.

After The Game dotdotdot
Last Dance Surf (Instrumental)

"After The Game" is a slow dance number, perhaps originally intended as a vocal. The mono sound and simplicity suggest it was either an outtake or demo, or perhaps a developmental song.

Shut Down, Part II dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Lightweight surf instro from the heralders of pop surf syrup. The instrumental work is about like on "Karate" or "Stoked," relatively in inspired. The "stereo" seems like it's more or less artificial, though it's not.

Denny's Drums dotdot
Drum Solo (Instrumental)

Just what the title implies - Dennis plays the drums. He's no Sandy Nelson.

Carl's Big Chance dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

the relentless progression "borrowed" from Chuck Berry's "Memphis, Tennessee" eventually gets a semi-blues jam lead over the top. Totally forgettable.

Let's Go Trippin' dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The deal is, by the time this live take was cut, the Beach Boys had learned to play pretty well, and their performance here has quite a bit of chemistry. Rockin' fun for sure.

Summer Means New Love dotdot
MOR (Instrumental)

Sea shore MOR emotes from the shimmer of the vibrato. "Summer Means New Love" is pretty, but has little character.

Let's Go Away For Awhile dot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a mono backtrack. It clearly illustrates why they needed vocals. Not much musically going on without the four part harmonies.

Pet Sounds dotdot
MOR (Instrumental)

Backtrack with effected guitar melody overdubbed. In a strange sorta way, the MOR sensibilities here are tweaked just a bit by the guitar in the same way that Buddy Merrill would have done it.

Fall Breaks and Back To Winter dot
Strangitudinal (Instrumental)

Dark in a disturbed kind of way, like what samplers do today. Analog-electro strangitude. This is a variant of the Woody Woodpecker's Symphony.

Passing By dot
MOR (Instrumental)

This must be a backtrack. There's no focus without the lead vocal line, and the chorus vocals are just too Anita Kerr!

Diamond Head dot
MOR Exotica (Instrumental)

Don't get your hopes up. This is NOT the Danny Hamilton song. Tropical rains and gurgling shore break, Hawaiian guitar. Exotica without the charm or emotion. It never gets going.

The Nearest Faraway Place dotdot
MOR (Instrumental)

Beautiful piano bar keyboard work opens "The Nearest Faraway Place," and a shimmering vibrato electric keyboard carries the melody. Over dramatic and lush.