Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Challengers - Wipe Out [the Surfaris substitutions]dotdotdot
artworkThe cover hides the fact that the Surfaris first album was, how shall we put this, contested heavily between Richard Delvy and the band. This album is part of the bizarre history of surf music. When the Surfaris single "Surfer Joe" c/w "Wipe Out" recieved some airplay, it got noticed by Richard Delvy of the Challengers, who offered them rerelease and better distribution on his Princess label. He was able to get significant enough airplay and sales volume to interest DOT Records in a deal. Delvy licensed it out to DOT, then best known for Pat Boone's records, but part of the deal was an album. He took the Surfaris into the studio, gave them a list of songs to record, and waited. The resulting tapes were not used, and their where abouts are unknown, though I'd guess Delvy still has them. When the album came out, only the two hit tracks were actually the Surfaris. The rest of the tracks were "Other Groups," presumably the Challengers. The instrumentation and sounds are classic early Challengers sans without reverb, even dryer than their first two albums. Law suits resulted, first removing the Surfaris picture from the album, then finally adding "And Other Instrumental Hits From Other Artists." The other result was the Surfaris moving to Decca Records. The sad thing is that these tracks are not even up to Challenger standards. Maybe they were demos, or maybe a rehearsal. Either way, these are the Surfaris Substitutions.
Picks: Wiggle Wobble, Torquay, You Can't Sit Down, Green Onions, Tequila, Wild Weekend, Teen Beat, Yep, Memphis, Walk, Don't Run, Wipe Out, Surfer Joe

Track by Track Review

Wiggle Wobble dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a pretty strait cover of the Les Cooper hit, but is minus the infectious energy of that original upbeat sax lead instro dance soul groove. The Challengers are tight and precise here. It's a nice track, just nothing different or special.

Torquay dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Talk about strange. This has none of the flair or wetness of the Fireballs' original, and is arranged more like "Tequila" sans horns. It's a nice rhythmic rendering, quite different in character than the original, and not as infectious.

You Can't Sit Down dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Pretty standard rendition of Dovells's hit. No where near as interesting as theirs, and that wasn't all that interesting to begin with. Pass.

Green Onions dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Relatively soul free cover of the Booker T. & the M. G.'s hit, with a more Hammond-like organ, and sax in lieu of the guitar. A backdrop for your frat party, but not the center of your attention.

Tequila dotdot
Exotica Mexica (Instrumental)

OK, so it's over done, over imitated, and overplayed. Still, it's a great song. So, why do it so boringly?

Wild Weekend dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Not as deep and powerful as the Rockin' Rebels' original, but a solid cover, and a fun listen. This track sports the hottest guitar work of the set, however brief it may have been. The piano work is nice too.

Teen Beat dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With a drum beat closer to George of the Jungle than Sandy Nelson's "Teen Beat," this is just an OK track. It lacks the infectiousness of the hit. The drums are just so-so.

Yep dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A decent Duane Eddy guitar tone, and a reasonable imitation Steve Douglas sax sound, and even the chorus. It's shallower sounding, but a solid repro.

Memphis dotdot
Country (Instrumental)

Uh, yeah. I'm sure this is unnecessary.

Walk, Don't Run dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Unusual arrangement, but nothing that holds up to multiple listenings.

Wipe Out dotdotdotdot
TV Surf (Instrumental)

"Wipe Out" is simply the definitive drummer's badge of courage. If he can do a decent "Wipe Out," he's hired. Simple, and written and recorded in just minutes, this is an international classic that has sold multimillions of copies, and still does every year worldwide.

Surfer Joe dotdotdotdot
Surf (Vocal)

This is the hit three verse version of the song, not the full five verse original.