Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: 100 Years Of Surfingdotdotdot
artworkWith the exception of "Let's Go Trippin'," 100 Years Of Surfing is a collection of remakes, not original recordings. While they are mostly good, sticking with the originals is wise. This is not terrible, it's just not what it pretends to be. Shame on you, Body Glove!
Picks: The Chantays - Pipeline, Dick Dale and his Del-tones - Let's Go Trippin', The Routers - Let's Go (Pony), The Ventures - Walk, Don't Run '64

Track by Track Review


The Chantays - Pipeline dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The opening glissando pans across the speakers. The guitars are quite dry. Otherwise, all the parts are as they should be. It's just mixed so unsympathetically. Better than the K-TEL track, but nothing like the hypnotic power of the Downey monster.

Dick Dale and his Del-tones - Let's Go Trippin' dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dick Dale's August 1961 recording of "Let's Go Trippin'" is ahead of the surf sound, more a rock 'n' roll number than what would be later identified as surf. It is nevertheless a very important key to the development of the genre.

Dick's original Del-tones were a hell of a band. This session featured a seasoned Barry Rillera on sax, who had been in his brother Ricky Rillera's band the Rhythm Rockers (no relation to the surfband of that name), with whom Richard Berry had sung for over a year at Harmony Park between 1954 and 1955. It was at Harmony Park one Saturday night in 1955 that Richard heard them do Rene Touzet's "El Loco Cha Cha" for the first time, and was inspired by it's "duh duh duh, duh-duh" intro to write "Louie Louie."

The Mar-Kets - Surfer's Stomp dotdot
Big Band Surf (Instrumental)

Joe Saraceno's studio band the Mar-Kets were quick to jump on the band wagon with Surf titles, laying down the nearly Lawrence Welk forties-ish "Surfers Stomp." This is a rerecording, probably for some K-Tel TV infomercial compilation. It lacks the charm of the original, but is much crisper sounding.

The Mar-Kets - Balboa Blue dotdot
Big Band Surf (Instrumental)

This 1975 remake is relatively accurate, but just not as infectious or fun. The piano is right on, and while the notes and playing are solid, it has little chemistry. Stick to the original.

The Routers - Let's Go (Pony) dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

I don't know which of the many post-sixties Saraceno sessions this is from, but it's not bad. It has quite different character from the original, but is pretty listenable. The sax particularly is very suitable. The over all energy is lower. As it dates from 1975, perhaps K-Tel is the source.

The Surfaris - Wipe Out dotdotdot
Sci-Fi Surf (Instrumental)

This is a 1975 remake recorded for K-Tel. Ron Wilson is not on the session, the sound is less crisp, and the bass is more upfront, but otherwise it's recognizable from a guitar standpoint as the Surfaris. There is a serious attempt to capture the drums and guitar tone, and it's not far from the original, but not quite there. The room ambiance, compression, and chamber reverb are not correct at all.

The Ventures - Hawaii Five-0 dotdotdot
TV Surf (Instrumental)

Often covered TV theme song from the chameleons of instro rock from the 1968 TV series. Every one has heard this. Its horn section, and the great drums, along with the soaring sound command attention. This is a remake from dates unknown. Closer to the original than most, but still not up to par.

The Ventures - Walk, Don't Run '64 dotdotdot
Studio Jam (Instrumental)

One of many remakes by The Ventures. The date is unknown, but it feels like the eighties with remastering. The guitars are pretty dry, echoed rather than reverbed, and the glissandos are gritty and flat.

The Ventures - The Lonely Surfer dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Jack Nitzsche's super low-E studio surf classic, played correctly, but with even less flair than the original. It's sorta pretty, but uninspiring.