Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Chantays - Pipeline ~ The Best Of The Chantaysdotdotdotdot
artworkA fine Japanese CD containing both of their Dot albums, plus the sole single not on the album, though it appears here in mono. They are in reverse order for some reason. The Chantays were a great instro band. Their first album Pipeline is a must have for any surf fan. The title song defines the surf instro, and introduced the glissando. Their second album is not of that caliber. Their vocals demonstrated why these bands were best left in the instro realm, not that they couldn't sing, but the stark contrast between the creativity of their instros and the pedestrian blandness of their vocals can not be ignored.
Picks: Pipeline, The Lonesome Road, Tragic Wind, Runaway, Blunderbus, Banzai, Sleep Walk, Night Theme, Wayward Nile, El Conquistador, Riders In The Sky, Last Night, Monsoon, Scotch Highs, Move It, Three Coins In The Fountain, Beyond, Greenz, Space Probe, Continental Missile, Retaliation

Track by Track Review


Pipeline dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is it. This track defined surf. It is the archetype! Paul Johnson once told me that when first heard this tune on his car radio, he said Whoa! Wha-at is THAT?, and pulled over to the side of the road to listen. The Chantays defined the classic surf line up, 2 guitars, piano, bass, and drums. Glorious first use of glissandoes, first rhythm guitar dominance in the mix, and just plain essential.

The Lonesome Road dotdotdot
Surf Blues (Instrumental)

An interesting treatment of an old standard, slow and easy in a combo sorta way.

Tragic Wind dotdotdot
Epic Surf (Instrumental)

This track is a bit odd, quirkily structured, and holds your attention. It typifies the melody wit of the Chantays.

Runaway dotdotdotdotdot
Teen Tragedy Surf (Instrumental)

The most surfy cover ever of Del Shannon's tune. Where the Belairs did it pretty strait, the Chantays really surfed it up with grand glissandoes and lots of spirit. Great track.

Blunderbus dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Stop start abruptness and an unusual melody line.

Banzai dotdotdotdot
Machine Gun Surf (Instrumental)

Machine gun etiquette provides an unusual delivery for this tune.

Sleep Walk dotdot
Fifties Slow Dance (Instrumental)

An average cover of the Santo & Johnny classic.

Night Theme dotdot
Slow Dance Surf (Instrumental)

Slow dance classic from the late fifties done live by everyone, even San Jose's Preps.

Wayward Nile dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Pretty unusual Middle Eastern flavored tune with a definite Chantays edge. It's amazing how durable this track is. Shimmering and slightly exotic, with the classic Chantays sound.

El Conquistador dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Latin influences and a quirky jerky style make this a unique bit of surfdom.

Riders In The Sky dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The first truly surf version of Stan Jones' cowboy classic that had already been rocked out by the Ramrods. This version is still my favorite of all, save the insane EchoPlexed psychedelic rendition from Mexico's Los Babys. The glissandoes and piano are essential to making it work, and the resulting recording is totally infectious, and enhances any drive down an open road.

Last Night dotdot
R&B Surf (Instrumental)

Solid version of the classic R&B classic, along the lines of the Biscaynes' "Get It." Cool party tune.

Monsoon dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Follow up single to "Pipeline," this track is unusual and infectious. It's got an excellent rhythm and just seems to grab the listener. The excellent melody line right perfect, and the piano is very tasty. It appears here in stereo for the first time.

Scotch Highs dotdotdotdotdot
Scottish Surf (Instrumental)

The other side of "Monsoon." Most of the Chantays' material were covers, as was quite common back then. Their originals tended to be really unique and well written. Here, they produced a really nice melody and recording. It has remained in the top ten percent of my sixties surf track faves list for 35 years. This was a grand single... a must have.

Move It dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Chantays' "Move It" is a classic flip side... one of the best B-side melodies and concepts ever, but the rendition is hard to listen to. The version of this that truly rules is the live recording of the Spiedels. It's A-side is "Pipeline," the definitive surf instro. "Move It" is an infectious and playful ditty that emphasizes choked slides for a unique experience. The warbly almost tape-flutter mix is a difficult listen.

Three Coins In The Fountain dotdot
Lawrence Welk (Instrumental)

Sad how they dropped from really cool surf to reverbed MOR. Makes you think of Lawrence Welk at Malibu.

Beyond dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Some have raved about this track, but the production is like "Move It," and just as hard to listen to. It's a "Pipeline" clone, though it is probably the second best track on their second album.

Greenz dotdot
Booker T & the MG's (Instrumental)

Booker T. & the MG's inspired, but not surfy or interesting.

Space Probe dotdotdot
Space (Instrumental)

An amateurish attempt at space rock, inspired by the Tornadoes (Joe Meek's band) success with "Telstar." It's Americanized approach is typical of several singles ish'd in the sixties, but a little hokier than the Preps' "Moon Racers" or the What Four's "Gemini IV." Interesting non-surf turn of events.

Continental Missile dotdotdot
Space (Instrumental)

Another amateur space rock track, but less interesting.

Retaliation dotdotdotdot
Garage (Instrumental)

This is a cool intermediary track, distortion is induced, and it straddles the fence between surf and garage punk instro. Unusual.