Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: 100 '60s Surf Classicsdotdotdot
artworkThis is a giant collection of tracks. Despite the title, only 49 are instros, the rest being mostly garage and psych, much of it from the midwest. Lots of credit errors, ranging from misspelling to contractions and even wrong song altogether. All that adds up to what may well be a bootleg.
Picks: Craig Cahill and the Off-Beats - Surfin' Elephant, The Centuries - Outer Limits, The Champs - Tequila, Freddy Countryman - Back Up And Push, The Fender IV - Everybody Up, The Gamblers - Moon Dawg, The Marauders - Slidin' In, Marty and the Monks - Mexican Party, The Monarchs - Friday Night, The Mustangs - Jack The Ripper, The Nobles - Body Surf, The Renegades - Geronimo, Charge, The Run-A-Bouts - Wild Fire, The Spotnicks - Spanish Gypsy Dance, The Storms - Thunder, The Swanks - Ghost Train, The Tempos - Heartbeat, The Titans - Reveille Rock, Unknown Group - The Fifth Dimension, Bob Vaught and the Renegaids - Exotic, The Velaires - Brazil, The Ventures - Night Stick, La Bamba, Louie Louie, Blue Moon, The Vibrants - Wildfire

Track by Track Review


Surfin' Elephant dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a playful and highly rhythmic mid tempo number that brings a smile to the face. It shows off tight meter and synchronization. It makes you wanna move. The Surf Raiders covered this in the early eighties.

Outer Limits dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With almost "Boondocker" rhythm guitar work, warbly leads and behind the bridge notes permeating the track, this stands out as one of the most unusual surf releases. It's ominous and weird, and surfing aliens written all over it. Too cool!

Tequila dotdotdotdot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

This is their BIG HIT!. It is a sax based number that was probably the frat house standard, long before "Louie Louie" was. The spoken "Tequila" at the end of the lines has become a standard of Latin party rock. Very infectious.

Back Up And Push dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

Piano and guitar rock with a catchy riff and a lumbering pace. "Back Up And Push" passes between typical fifties B-side rock and not quite surf. Beyond a riff rocker, with great piano plinkery.

Everybody Up dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

From the first drum beat of the intro, this track shreds. The beat is strong, the rhythm infectious, and the melody incredibly good. There are few surf instros that compare to the power and energy of this magical track. Exceptionally good playing, and magnificently strong writing. The glissandos grab and shake you, leaving you spent when it's over. Originally issued in February, 1965.

Moon Dawg dotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

Right in the pocket is "Moon Dawg" from this great studio band. "Moon Dawg" is intense and energetic. Even Paul Revere and the Raiders covered it on their first album. Producer Nik Venet did the dog howls. As a side note, the B-side of the original World Pacific single was called "LSD-25," one of the earliest drug-titled rock songs.

Out Of Limits dot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a low energy cover of The Mar-Kets' "Out Of Limits." I think it's fake band time again. The drums are machine like, and the whole point of the song is missed.

Pegasus
Psychedelic (Instrumental)

Extreme psychedelic swirl. This track from Distortions album is very large hall jammy. That said, it's a fine example of just how trippy psych could get. Powerful and occasionally disturbing, with tempo changes and really dirty guitar, feedback, and delightful ugliness a la Blue Cheer sneaking in.

Slidin' In dotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

This is another fifties progressional, without benefit of melody. It is nicely delivered, with fine guitar picking, especially the delicate and precise used of played out chords. It has an air of surf, maybe even a flair for the waves, but its heart is in the fifties. It is infectious in a strange sorta way.

Mexican Party dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This surf song uses behind the bridge plucking well, like in "Rockin' Cricket." The tune is a progression based on Barrett Strong's "Money" amped up by weird whammy. The exotica percussion is very cool, especially against the behind the bridge picking and bottle neck guitar weirdness. It is both peculiar and interesting, despite such a minimal melody line. There's little "Mexican" about this track.

Friday Night dotdotdot
Strip Rock (Instrumental)

This is a great instro, even if it is mostly just a riff. It came out towards the end of the surf scene, and in some ways can be lumped in with the surf singles. The guitar tome is rounder and less reverby, but the idea is not unlike some of the surf tunes that came before it. Excellent guitar sustain, and cool restrained percussion. I've like this single since first hearing in KRLA or KFWB.

Jack The Ripper dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a pretty credible nod to Mr. Wray's classic. Definitely not up to Link Wray's level, but a solid cover with almost surf tone via what sounds like some spring reverb and real room reverb at the studio. Quite tasty.

Kon-Tiki dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a very nice cover of The Shadows' "Kon-Tiki." The rich guitars and muted rhythm play nicely against the drums and bass. It's nothing special, or even original in arrangement, just pleasant listening.

Apache dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Among the sea of covers of Jerry Lordan's "Apache," The Mysteriums' version is pleasant, but unremarkable.

Body Surf dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Body Surf" a boogie progression over a surf beat with chunky rhythms. It's not their best recording, yet it has a certain draw that makes it work really well. It's is a lesser tune from the album, fairly dry, simple progression based and quite rhythmic.

Geronimo dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This a perfect upper Midwest buffalo bop styled instro... a basic riff and lots of Indian stereo types... whoops and hollers, gun shots, and dull cries of "Geronimo" Very fun. "Geronimo" was included in the soundtrack to "The Ghost Of Dragstrip Hollow."

Charge dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Opening with a trumpet blasting out the charge, and covered with woodblock horse hooves, this two chord wonder with a spiffy melody riff is both a fifties backwoods marvel and a presurf tune waiting for a decent reverb treatment.

Mustang dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Lot's of whoops and hollers punctuate this rhythmic riff rocker. Hard driven, rodeo fun, and almost chunky.

Wild Fire dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Deep dark guitar very similar to the Centurions drives this basic surf tune. While it's quite basic, it's also mean and creeps into your daydreams. In some ways, it reminds me of a faster "Ray Bay."

Spanish Gypsy Dance dotdotdot
Euro Rock (Instrumental)

A flamenco based piece with a military beat and rich guitar. It's restrained, yet commands attention. Quite nice.

Thunder dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With the manic energy if a less than correctly wired board rider in storm surf, this track angrily disorients the listener with a defined reality filter. Intense and nervous. "Thunder" was one of the singles that inspired the first generation of surfbands, from Paul Johnson onward.

Pipeline dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is most likely a fake band. The telltale sign is rough glissandos amid otherwise competent playing, and arranging that seems contrived. that said, this take on The Chantays' "Pipeline" is not bad... just unsympathetic and lacking chemistry.

Wipe Out dot
Surf (Instrumental)

Nope... The Surf Heroes doesn't get the drums right, and the performance lacks chemistry. Unimpressive.

Ghost Train dotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

This is one of the more often comp'd instros from the fifties. It is a fast and infectious train tune, with a big reverby lead guitar and lots of subtle whammy. The double picked guitar work is very "swank," and the the contrast between the surf guitar's optimism and the minor key danger of the rhythm guitar and bass is quite effective. Fine track.

Heartbeat dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is Midwest style progression, over a relentless backtrack, with spiffy piercing single note slides. It has a strong mean appeal despite it's two chords. Raw dark sky storm surf. "Heartbeat" is infectious in its simplicity and dangerous sound.

Line Drive dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

On the gutty side, "Live Drive" is a minimal riff rocker with that leather jacket fifties edge. More than just a riff rocker, but not particularly engaging.

Reveille Rock dotdotdotdot
Dry Midwest Surf (Instrumental)

The Titans were a Midwest instro band, with a pretty dry sound. Not a surf band, but this is so cool, it doesn't matter. Only the reverb is missing to make it surf. Unlike Johnny and the Hurricanes, this is sans organ and shreds even harder!

The Fifth Dimension dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is one of those grand mysteries. The source is an acetate or test pressing with only the title, so the band remains unidentified. It's a fine track, like a much moodier "Out Of Limits" with a more dissonant and dangerous sound. Progression based, yet interesting and engaging.

Exotic dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Bob Vaught's band had a pretty dry sound, but they did some really cool surf stuff, most notably, the best recording of "Surfin' Tragedy." This song started life by the Sentinals in that horn-lead Pachuko soul style of the Soul Kings and the Rhythm Kings... sort of Mariachi R&B. The Sentinals recorded it with Tommy Nunes' guitar lead, and this is a cover of that. It is interesting, but not Bob's best work, or the best version of the song in either style. This is a driving treatment of Bruce Morgan' tune, completely different from the powerful-gorgeous Sentinals treatment. This is raw in your face garage surf.

Brazil dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a fifties styled "rockin' cricket" kinda tune at times. The lead guitar is dry, though chamber reverb is present in places in the mix, and the muted lines are kinda wet. being 1961, its presurf, and before Leo Fender's grand contraption, but it has a very surfable sound. This is the only instro they issued. The Velaires were from Sioux City, Iowa. Their sound is not unlike many of the Midwest artists of the period, especially instrumentally. It's always interesting to hear what bands do with standards, especially when they can make them work well. Very cool.

Hawaii Five-0 dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a remake from who knows when. It's not terrible, it's just completely dismissible, with the exception of the percussion.

(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

When the Ventures morphed once again into the go-go sound, they picked tunes that leant themselves to the style, then used the style on only some. This is a pretty tame instrumental take on the Rolling Stones definitive sixties punk anthem, with tame fuzz guitar carrying "that riff," while the keyboard carries the melody line.

The 'In' Crowd dotdot
Go-Go (Instrumental)

Dobie Gray's soul hit about cliques as viewed from the inside and peer pressure as a good thing is delivered by organ mostly, without much flair or interest.

Memphis dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Memphis" has always been such a riff rocker... this is not to far from Lonnie Mack's cover hit of Chuck Berry's classic.

Night Stick dotdotdot
Go-Go (Instrumental)

This is one fast and choppy track, a progression designed for the dance floor of the local discotheques like Sunnyvale's Wayne Manor. Quite fun.

Telstar dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This just lacks the grode drive of Joe Meek's' knob twisting compressed production of the original Tornados hit. It also lacks the charm of the surf versions, and the later eighties punk-power pop covers. The organ lead is shallow, and the guitar is weak.

Walk, Don't Run dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

I don't know where this originates from, but it's a remake. It's OK enough, and well played of course. It's just not really very interesting. Stick to their 1960 and 1964 versions.

Perfidia dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This remake of "Perfidia" is very easy on the ears, but not really engaging or interesting. Their 1961 version is still their best take.

Rebel Rouser dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Covering Duane Eddy with slightly edgier guitar tone and dry rhythms doesn't make it interesting.

Secret Agent Man dotdotdot
TV Surf (Instrumental)

Another TV theme "Venturized" in the formula that became the "sound" of the Ventures... girl chorus, all too familiar covers, and adoring fans. Johnny Rivers version is way better.

La Bamba dotdotdot
Go-Go (Instrumental)

This go-go treatment of the eternal Richie Valens hit is really nice, with excellent guitar work and an infectious beat. The harmonica verse is an odd change, reflecting the folk rock influences that coexisted with the go-go sound.

Sleep Walk dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This song just doesn't work without the lap steel. I'll stick to Santo & Johnny.

Louie Louie dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The perennial and definitive rock 'n' roll song from the mighty pen of Richard Berry is done up here with the organ carrying the chords and the guitar playing the melody. It's a mid tempo arrangement, with a well balanced arrangement.

Blue Moon dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The Marcels made it a household rock standard, though it started life as something totally different. The Ventures bring swell whammy and that "Walk, Don't Run" drums and rhythm sound to it, making it straddle the fence between rock & MOR with really tasty edge and guitar tone.

I Like It Like That dotdot
Go-Go (Instrumental)

Chris Kenner's song is lightly delivered, without his soulful artistry and without feeling.

Go-Go Slow dotdotdot
Go-Go (Instrumental)

Choppy go-go backtrack, guitar throbbing with vibrato, and the organ whirling in the background. Parts of this melody are mighty close to "Mrs. Brown, You've Got A Lovely Daughter."

Wildfire dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This single was the B-side of "Scorpion." The guitar string bending gives it a demented tone, almost as weird as the Pastel Six's "Bandito," but much richer and lower, and faster too. Quite a nice track.

Surf Rider dot
Surf (Instrumental)

Boy, does "Surf Rider" miss the point! remove all of the rich tone and savvy of The Lively Ones and you're left with so much ho-hum! Boring.

Rumble dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

this is a technically competent but low energy and low edge version of Link Wray and his Raymen's "Rumble." Where's the edge and the chemistry? Fake band?