Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA Collection: Big Surf Hits
|This is the CD reissue of one of the Del-Fi label's surf comps from their own bands. Mostly a nice cross section of releases. This release also includes the Bruce Johnston Band's "The Original Surfers Stomp" under the name of the Surf Stompers.|
Picks: The Centurions - Bullwinkle Part II, The Impacts - Wipe Out, Blue Surf, The Lively Ones - Surf Rider, Hillbilly Surf, Dave Myers and the Surftones - Church Key, Moment Of Truth, The Sentinals - Big Surf, The Surf Mariachis - Undertow, Watermelon Man, The Surf Stompers - Green Onions
Track by Track Review
The Centurions - Bullwinkle Part II
This unusual track was featured prominently in the cult film Pulp Fiction, which thrust this otherwise little know band into the frontal lobes of the American conscience. The track is oddly structured, and very cool. I like the rawness of the original better, but the sense of ensemble here leaves this to be the over all fave.
The chorded introduction is charming. The guitar progression is the basis for the Surfaris' "Wipe Out." It took me a long time to come to realize/accept this, but it surely is so. There are also differences which are in part the luck of the draw on takes chosen for the release, particularly in the lack of drum breaks. Here is Merrell's timeline and comments about the song.
"The facts are: I wrote a song in 1961 while surfing I called "Kick Out." The [Impacts] sax player laughed at me and said 'You Really Got Wiped Out!' We changed the title from "Kick Out" to "Wipe Out" before we went into the studio Sept. of 62 and recorded 18 tracks, some of which were on The Impacts Del Fi LP and others ended up on compilations. We didn't know anything about contracts or copyrights... Drummer Richard Delvy of the Challengers was watching us record in Ted Brinson's studio in L.A. that day. Producer Tony Hilder told Delvy to go out in the car and get more publishing contracts, and we signed our rights away. We later came back a month or so later and re-recorded "Wipe Out" with drum solos, our original only had one solo. We did 4 different versions, that to my knowledge never came out. Our chord progression was exactly the same as the almost 1 year later Surfaris version. The newer version The Impacts did had my guitar mixed more to the front and was very close to the Surfaris. It's interesting Delvy went on to work with The Surfaris and even played drums on a lot of tracks on their first LP. Also they had a song called "Blue Surf" as The Impacts did that was similar, and our producer Tony Hilder also worked with the Original Surfaris. Its quite a coincidence if it really was?... Our version was copyrighted by Hilder almost a full year before The Surfaris version. If we only had those 4 other takes of "Wipe Out!" Revels Sax man Norm Knowles heard them and there was no doubt in his mind something strange happened."
Slow (very slow), melodic, moody and enjoyable. Not terribly remarkable, but worth having in your library. It is in many ways very similar to the Surfaris song of the same name from a year later.
The Lively Ones - Surf Rider
This is what happens when a real surfband covers a Nokie Edwards (Ventures) tune that had no relation to surf as written. In fact, it started life as a Potato concept song called "Spudnik." This is the grand and beautiful song that runs under the ending credits of Pulp Fiction. This is the full length version, not the single edit.
The Lively Ones - Hillbilly Surf
A rousing surf treatment to the western folk standard. It must have been a hoot to watch the surf kids slamming to this. Fast and furious, and wailing sax lines.
Dave Myers and the Surftones - Church Key
Dave produced a unique arrangement of a song that was recorded by a bazillion instro bands, making it his own. I like it better than the original Revels version because of Dave's great double picking throughout matched exactly by his marvelous drummer. One of the better covers of the Revel's classic, and certainly the most surfy under it's original name.
Dave Myers and the Surftones - Moment Of Truth
Dave's interpretation of the Original Surfaris masterpiece "Moment Of Truth" is nothing short of essential listening. What Dave does with it transforms it from a stomp on demand surf obscuro to a melodic rolling almost entirely new song. The melody has been embellished, and the whole sense of rhythm has been replaced with something so infectious that it is irresistible. The use of tenor sax gives it a near-jazz element that adds to the mystery. This remains among my all-time favorite surf tracks.
Great tracks come in many flavors. Here, the Sentinals create an amazingly interesting tune from a few sparse notes and chords, and the imagery of big stormy threatening waves in unmistakable. What a killer track.
The Surf Mariachis - Undertow
R&B Surf (Instrumental)
An ominous sax lead tune with a rippin backbeat. Hot and evil R&B rave. Most unusual.
The Surf Mariachis - Watermelon Man
The West Coast jazz influences in surf are no more clear than when the bands did this song. Lots of horns, and a decent arrangement.
The Surf Stompers - Green Onions
Frat Rock R&B (Instrumental)
This live take of the Booker T. and the MG's hit is rockin' and fun, but a far cry from surf. The Surf Stompers are really the Bruce Johnston Band.