Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: The Big Surfing Sounds Are On Capitol Recordsdotdotdot
artworkThis rare comp features a significant number of Dick Dale cuts.
Picks: Dick Dale and his Del-tones - Surf Beat, Hava Nagila, King Of The Surf Guitar, Let's Go Trippin'

Track by Track Review


Dick Dale and his Del-tones - Surf Beat dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Demonstrating the power of CHUNK in surf, "Surf Beat" lent it's name to the genre, and clearly is a standard. A great performance captured live at the Rendezvous Ballroom and issued in 1962. This is the embodiment of rhythm based surf chunk.

If you want to play the chords right, when the lead and rhythm both play together, the rhythm guitar would "push" the chord downward, while the lead must "pull" the chord upward - remember, Dick Dale played left handed and used a right handed guitar upside down without restringing. That meant when he pushed the chord, it was the same as pulling it. I verified this with Dick personally in '88, so there ya go.

Dick Dale and his Del-tones - Hava Nagila dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Following up "Miserlou" (and the B-side of "King Of The Surf Guitar") most naturally meant another traditional Middle Eastern song, and who could have imagined that this song could have been so powerful at the hands of Dick Dale! A must have track!

Dick Dale and his Del-tones - King Of The Surf Guitar dotdotdot
Surf (Vocal)

The King has the Blossoms sing about him while he plays gorgeous notes on his guitar. An ego feed and anthem, and a lot better than the 1975 GNP version, but still... sure do love that guitar!

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."

John Severson - Murphy's Grey Wet Suit dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This sounds like a Hollywood session from the usual suspects. A happy, poppy melody, and its only relationship to surf music is via the title and tremolo guitar. Otherwise, it apes much of the Southern Rock style of Duane Eddy.

John Severson - Goofy-Foot Glen dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is very pretty, sorta Spanish island holiday, with tremolo guitar and Champs-style horns. It is, however, very forgettable.