Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: The Birth Of Surf Volume 1dotdotdotdot
This is a monstrous 170 track mp3 collection from iTunes Japan and Canada for a paltry ten bucks. A few vocals between lots of instros, many of which constitute an essential part of any surf library. Not particularly well assembled or mastered, but unbeatable for the price.
Picks: Richie Allen and the Pacific Surfers - The Rising Surf, The Astronauts - Baja, Hot Doggin', Batman, Banzai Pipeline, Surf Party, The Atlantics - Monkey Tree, The Avantis - Gypsy Surfer, Johnny Barakat and the Vestells - The Long Ride, The Beach Boys - Karate, The Beachcombers - Samoa, The Belairs - Mr. Moto, The Blazers - Bangalore, Sound Of Mecca, Beaver Patrol, The Busters - Bust Out, Al Casey - El Aguila (The Eagle), Caravan, The Centurions - Surfin' At Mazatlan, The Chandelles - El Gato, The Chantays - Pipeline, Monsoon, Space Probe, Move It, The Chevells - Let There Be Surf, The Crossfires - Fiberglass Jungle, Dick Dale and his Del-tones - Miserlou, Let's Go Trippin', King Of The Surf Guitar, Surf Beat, Shake-N-Stomp, Take It Off, Dave and the Customs - Ali Baba, The Creations - Crash, Eddie and the Showmen - Mr. Rebel, Squad Car, Duane Eddy - Ramrod, The Fabulous Playboys - Shortnin' Bread, The Fireballs - Bulldog, The Five Thundertones - Homicidal, Johnny Fortune - Soul Surfer, The Frogmen - Underwater, The Gamblers - Moon Dawg, Gene Gray and his Stingrays - Surf Bunny, The Illusions - Jezebel, The Impacts - Blue Surf, Fort Lauderdale, Impact, The Jades - Surfin' Crow, Johnny and the Hurricanes - Crossfire, The Lively Ones - Surf Rider, High Tide, The Millionaires - Rock And A Half, The Nevegans - Surfbound, The New Dimensions - Cat On A Hot Foam Board, Jack Nitzsche - The Lonely Surfer, The Nobles - Body Surf, Earthquake, The Original Surfaris - Surfari, The Pagents - Enchanted Surf, The Pastel Six - Hot Dogger, The Pharos - Pintor, The Pyramids - Penetration, Pressure, Contact, The Rancheros - Linda's Tune, The Reveliers - Hangin' Five, The Revels - Church Key, The Rhythm Boys - Chinese Surf, The Rhythm Rockers - Breakfast At Tressels, The Ricco-Shays - Damascus, The Rockin' Rebels - Wild Weekend, The Rumblers - Boss, Slippin', Surf Rat, Bugged, Waimea (The Angry Sea), Boss Strikes Back, It's A Gas, The Scallywags - The Big Wave, The Scarlets - Stampede, The Sentinals - Latin'ia, Surf 'N Soul, The Space Walkers - Tecumseh, The Starfires - Fink, Re-Entry, The Stringmen - Pow-Wow, The Super Stocks - Midnight Run, The Surfaris - Wipe Out, Point Panic, The Surfmen - El Toro, The Thunder Heads - Thunder Head, The Tornadoes - Bustin' Surfboards, The Torquays - The Other Side, Busting Point, The Treasures - Minor Chaos, Bob Vaught and the Renegaids - Exotic, The Velmas - Surfin' Bells, The Venturas - Ram-Charger, The Ventures - Walk, Don't Run, Lullaby Of The Leaves, The Vibra-Sonics - Drag Race, Vince and the Waikiki Rumblers - Waikiki Rumble, The Wailers - We're Goin' Surfin', On The Rocks, Shanghaied (Shanghai'd), Keith Zeller and the Starliners - Yellow Bird

Track by Track Review


The Rising Surf dotdotdotdotdot
Pure Gorgeous Surf (Instrumental)

Among the prettiest surf instro tracks of all time, Richie Podolor's composition is stunningly crystalline and well crafted. This track delivers imagery of the surf beginning to rise from a placid state, promising but not yet delivering big surf. The tones are characteristically clean and pure, and the melody is most memorable. Thoroughly engaging and emotionally charged!

Big Breaker dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Joe Meek's production does not make this surf, nor does the inclusion of the annoying chorus. It has the UK guitar sound of the Shadows, not the surf sound, and a melody that is clearly not West Coast. The Ambassadors are believed to be the Saints in disguise.

Baja dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Baja" displays power of their trademark three guitar line up, and shows what a few weeks at RCA Hollywood could do. Actually, having said that, I'd really like to remix this. The lead guitar is too loud in the mix. Anyway, if there's a list of the ten most significant surf singles, this must be on it. Hazelwood had a knack for melody, and the Astronauts had a knack for the sound, and together, look out!

Hot Doggin' dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This was the Astronauts' non-album single follow-up to "Baja." It's very hot, feisty, almost assaultive in its delivery. Melody and power merge for an infectious effect.

Batman dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Another Lee Hazelwood composition, this track was also covered by the Surfaris. It's a good track for the Astronauts' three guitar line up, but not quite as interesting as "Movin'." It's melodic, energetic, and very cool. It is not the Neil Hefty TV theme.

Banzai Pipeline dotdotdotdot
Beat Generation Surf (Instrumental)

When Henry Mancini named this, he undoubtedly was capitalizing on the surf trend du jour, but he gave it none of the hallmark characteristics of a surf instro, not the beat, the melody, or anything. When he recorded it, he gave it the big band sound he was famous for, and given it's Beat Generation structure, that was a perfect match. Undaunted, Boulder, Colorado's Astronauts used the classic surf instrumentation to recreate it into a surf classic, if only because of it's reputation as the first crossing into the MOR-Lounge venue for surf material. It's quirky, completely uncharacteristic of surf, but curiously endearing and catchy. A fun track, for sure.

Surf Party dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the title track from the movie Surf Party, and it appeared on the soundtrack and a as a single, but never on an Astronauts album. A great example of what a college band from Boulder Colorado can do with Al Schmitt at the controls at RCA Hollywood. Remarkable.

Monkey Tree dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is definitely not the Australian band. Its quasi-surf tone separates it, as does the almost "Hippy Hippy Shake" thematic quality of the melody riff. Distorted and murky, and very jammy. I'm guessing this is really late fifties.

Gypsy Surfer dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a chilling track. The surf rhythm guitar is harsh, the lead shimmers with vibrato, and the sound is both thin and effective. Great infectious classic obscure surf with a hauntingly magnetic sound. The organ break is different from other discs of the day.

The Long Ride dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Johnny Barakat was a kid who'd been shot in a holdup of his folks store, and left restricted to a wheel chair. Out of sheer boredom, he learned to play the guitar... and did he ever. His buddies the Vestells backed him on this incredible vintage surf monster. This is the second best track on the CD, and it appears nowhere else. It may be from vinyl, but it's totally killer. His whole catalog of recordings is on AVI's Rare Surf Volume 3.

Karate dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A very simple progression played repeatedly, interrupted occasionally with cries of "Karate." Rhythmic back-grounder, just barely surfy. Historically valid, but unimportant. Will fit into a surf set as a break from the intensity and melodic power of the real thing. Also known as "Beach Boys Stomp."

Samoa dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is easily one of my favorite all time surf instros, and it's Richie Podolor on guitar and penmanship, of course. What a grand sound. The Mermen do this very well. It became "Quiet Surf" when it was recorded for the Rising Surf album. This is simply stunning, with rolling exotic tom toms and a totally different treatment than the more familiar Richie Allen & the Pacific Surfers' session.

Mr. Moto dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is it, their claim to fame, their most familiar song, and the first surf release from May 1961 on Arvee Records. "Mr. Moto" is just about the most influential surf instro ever. "Mr. Moto" came to be a surf classic, and was recorded and released months before Dick Dale's "Let's Go Trippin'," before he opened the Rendezvous Ballroom, and before it was called surf. If you must draw a line in the sand, it must be drawn here. "Mr. Moto" was recorded at Liberty.

Covered by countless others, this song features 15 year olds Paul Johnson and Eddie Bertrand trading guitar parts in their trademark style on a prototypical PJ writing masterpiece. Jim Roberts' piano work is stunningly perfect for this song. A historical absolutely must have!

Bangalore dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a MONSTER track! The Blazers were one hell of a surf band. The guitar tones are piercingly powerful, and the rippin' double pickin' is a sound to behold. It is melodic, hot, infectious, and among the best twenty vintage surf instros. Why it wasn't a hit, I'll never know. Totally great!

Sound Of Mecca dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is one of the VERY BEST Middle Eastern surf instros ever! The vibrato guitar is matched with the vibrato sax, for a mystical and mysterious air. Completely enthralling, and superbly played. What a wonderful track. Haunting desert caravan in a gentle breeze across the Sahara. A must have piece of history.

Beaver Patrol dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Many of the Surf bands (maybe most) from Southern California were teen bands, some not old enough do drive yet. The Blazers were a Fullerton teen band that just ripped. The recordings this band made were among the hottest most energetic of any band of the era, including the New Dimensions and the Fender Four. "Beaver Patrol" was banned here and there due to it's obvious slang meaning. It's raucous and mean and high energy. It ranks right up there with their incredible "Bangalore" and their beautiful "Sound Of Mecca."

The Chase dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

A "Yellow Rose Of Texas" sorta thing, fifties simple. The guitar is stinging in spots, and the sound is somewhere between the Shadows and a hard working Bison Bop band.

Wildest Drums Yet
Surf (Instrumental)

This drum solo is very repetitious. I noticed that I could drop the cursor anywhere during playback and not notice that I was in a different part of the song!

Drum City dot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Drum City" is essentially a drum solo. While competent, it's a long way from interesting.

Baby Elephant Walk dot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is an orchestra l arrangement of "Baby Elephant Walk" with dominant drums. Completely lacking in chemistry.

Bust Out dotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

This is actually a pre surf single from 1960. Its original title is "Typhoid." It foreshadowed the double picking of Dick Dale, and the raw energy of the surf sound yet to come. Highly rhythmic and driven. Lots of power. "Bust Out " evolved from a song the Sapphires did called "Typhoid." Alan Orkins had the original idea, but we all added to it." - Don Gates Jr., drummer for the Sapphires. While basically riff rock, it has held up really well over the years.

Surfin' Hootenanny dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Al and producer Lee Hazelwood took a basically cool jam/compliment to the surf bands tracks and placed the Blossoms (K-C-Ettes) over the top inspired by Dick Dale's "King Of The Surf Guitar," rendering it an interesting time capsule, but not particularly great surf, and hiding some otherwise grand guitar work.

Surfin' Blues - Part 1 dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A blues jam that Al wrote in the studio.

Guitars, Guitars, Guitars dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Duane Eddy tribute/reaction single. OK, but not great.

El Aguila (The Eagle) dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Lee Hazelwood produced this album, and since he wrote this, it is likely that he intended it to sound like this, as opposed to the way the Astronauts played it. This is a wonderful tune, and Al's guitar work does it justice.

Caravan dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Al's playing on Duke Ellington's "Caravan" is really cool. It has a mean tenor about it, and the tribal toms give it such a primal feeling. This is the best surf version out there!

Surfin' At Mazatlan dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Surfin' At Mazatlan" is one of their faster more upbeat tracks. It's Spanish influences are obvious, though somewhat mechanical. Bitchin' vintage mean surf.

Green Onions dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Relatively soul free cover of the Booker T. & the M. G.'s hit, with a more Hammond-like organ, and sax in lieu of the guitar. A backdrop for your frat party, but not the center of your attention.

You Can't Sit Down dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Another pedestrian number. The hits of the day played for the sock hop crowd, neither original nor interesting. I didn't much care for the Dartells' original, and this is not up to that level.

El Gato dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"El Gato" is a track John Blair sent me on cassette years ago, and it ranks as one of my favorite obscuros, at least as far as moderate tempo numbers are concerned. It's not exactly double picked, but it is a very infectious low note tune based on a unique riff. It makes you wanna drive the open road on a hot day with the top down on your '67 Camaro. Originally issued in 1963.

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 glissandos, first rhythm guitar dominance in the mix, and just plain essential.

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.

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.

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.

Let There Be Surf dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Chevells were around for a while, but recorded little. "Let There Be Surf" is infectious. It has a melody line and rhythm interplay that stick with you. And the title... brilliant! This is one of the great lost infectious surf tunes. Above average pace with a great rhythmic and driving feel to it.

Power Shift dotdotdot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

Talk about your low energy stuff... this is about as unsurfy as it gets. Mostly a fifties jam kinda thing, with very restrained playing and hot rod effects.

Fiberglass Jungle dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A gentle wave rippling at the shore chord opens to a totally ominous low-E grinder, with evil sax from the twins Kaplan-Volman a.k.a. Flo and Eddie, thundering bass from Chuck Portz, rhythmic tribal drums from Don Murray, and utterly incredible Al Nichol guitar work. This is a must-have surf MONSTER!

Miserlou dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The introductory note of Miserlou is somehow bigger than life. Dick's machine gun staccato is perfect. This is Dick Dale's biggest Del-tone singles, the incredibly archetypal "Miserlou" featured so prominently in Pulp Fiction. No comprehensive Surf collection should even be conceived without this song. This IS the sound of primal surf, the source of the idea of really LOUD guitar leads. It's reported that the arrangement was developed after Dick saw Johnny Barakat do it this way.

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."

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!

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.

Shake-N-Stomp dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This Del-tone session is an early double picked track, before "Miserlou" as a single, but from the same period live. This track is often assumed to have been recorded at the Rendezvous, but reportedly was recorded at a small studio. Good grindage.

Take It Off dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Take It Off" is from the Rendezvous and the Surfers Choice album. It has Dick's heavy slightly reverbed sound, and it's quite the party surf cruncher.

Ali Baba dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dave and the Customs recorded what must be the other "Miserlou." This is a totally tubular track that just plain moves. The relentless rolling drums, the low-E double-picked melody, the crescendo break... it made me twitch in my britches the first time I heard it. This is definitely the highlight of this CD. Oh, what I wouldn't do for the studio tapes on this one! Who were these guys, anyway? The other side of this single was a vocal version of "Shortnin' Bread." Their other single was "Mizerlou" c/w "Bony Marony."

Crash dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This spirited surf single has been covered many times. It's as obscure as they come, but very infectious and pure surf. Very percussive guitar and thundering toms make this a must have track.

Mr. Rebel dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Eddie and the Showmen's third single was a tribute to KRLA DJ Reb Foster, who also owned the Revelaire Club, where Eddie Bertrand found themselves to be the house band for a while. This is one of the great surf singles, sporting a totally infectious and optimistic melody and beat.

Squad Car dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is THEE Eddie & the Showmen song, and their second single. Written by Paul Johnson, it totally shreds. The best news is it finally appears in stereo.

Ramrod dotdotdot
Twang (Instrumental)

An often covered rockin' jamster designed for party time. Not much melody, just energy and fun. Incidentally, Duane Eddy was on tour while this was recorded. It's Al Casey's guitar on the record (he wrote it too).

Shortnin' Bread dotdotdotdot
Surf Twango (Instrumental)

Heavy surf rhythm track with piano and a surf lead playing low-E twango. While its a cover of the old standard covered by a number of bands of the day, this take is particularly rippin'. Stompin' drums and great piano, along with that tuff surf rhythm. Very cool.

Bulldog dotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

"Bulldog" is rhythmic and infectious, and has a quiet power about it, as did most of the Fireballs / Norman Petty output. All of their sessions are available in various CD forms, from ACE, Sundazed, and others. The Challengers borrowed "Bulldog" for their debut album Surf Beat.

Homicidal dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

A handful of instros have surfaced over the years from Lenny and the Thundertones. Pre-surf, raucous instrumental madness with primal stompin' credentials. Pretty cool!

Soul Surfer dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is one of those magical tracks that stands alone soundwise. "Soul Surfer" was written in the back seat of the car on the way to the studio. An afterthought of sorts, it became a classic in it's own time, being covered by contemporary bands. Johnny Fortune's melodic sense, combined with some flamenco and jazz influences to create a wholly unique sound. Highly melodic and magnetically rhythmic.

Underwater dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Frogmen romp with "Underwater." It's very much a surf precursor, and important for that reason. Numerous of their tracks have appeared on various budget comps over the past few years.

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.

Kahuna dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Grode distorted reverb laden guitar romps under nasty sax. It's not structured like surf, but with the reverb, it clearly is. rare, but unremarkable. The riff is not far from the TV ad "stronger than dirt" theme.

Surf Bunny dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Surf Bunny" is one of the great surf obscuros, full of raw power, spirited vocal eruptions from Gene, and a really grungy sound. This record has been on my top 20 list since it's release in '63.

Hurricane dotdotdot
Near-Surf (Instrumental)

Every band had to have a song named after themselves in those heady days gone by, and it usually was the B-side of their first single. It was also usually just a riff and rhythm. This has a certain surf or near-surf sound to it, but not much melody.

Jezebel dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is "Rumble On The Docks," originally done by the Vulcanes. It's not as thick, but has the edge. This is one of the great mean obscuros, so it's nice to hear someone covering it. This is more surf pristine and less evil, but it works really well.

Blue Surf dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

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.

Fort Lauderdale dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Among the Impacts better tracks. Their recordings were OK, but not great. They canŐt be counted among the seminal bands, but their album was good.

Impact dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Cool tom-tom action, low down sax, and a simple progression on the guitar - sounds like an R&B number with reverb. Quite alluring.

Surfin' Crow dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a studio session, with the necessary surfisms and rolling drums. Muddier here than the masters, it's none the less a solid example of lessor surf singles of the day. If I recall correctly, this was cut in Memphis. Shouts of "surfin' crow" and "caw-caw" bird calls enhance the track.

Crossfire dotdotdotdot
Sax Guitar (Instrumental)

Guitar machine gun riff and a growling sax in a most ominous tune. You can just see a stylized prohibition gang land drive by...

Surf Rider dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

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.

High Tide dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is one of the most infectious and fiery surf instros anywhere. It flies through a staccato lead line, and a softer break. Very powerful. "High Tide" is one of my favorite classic surf tracks.

Surfer's Stomp dotdotdot
Sub Surf (Instrumental)

The Mar-Kets created this nearly Lawrence Welk forties-ish "Surfer's Stomp." Simple slow paced innocent instrumental rock and roll, with great piano and saucy sax. Infectious and unpretentious. Don't look for the classic surf sound here, but do enjoy the simplicity and fun. Smooth and right nice.

Rock And A Half dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a little less melodic and interesting than their other tracks, but still a great fifties instro track.

Surfbound dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is an alternate take of the "Russian Roulette" single by Las Vegas' Teen-Beats. Nevegans is the pseudonym under which these guys played. It has the same rolling rhythm as "Russian Roulette" and "High Roll" (aka "Downey Surf"), and it sports a mighty infectious melody line. This is another must have vintage track.

Cat On A Hot Foam Board dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Cat On A Hot Foam Board" is a track I've adored for 30 years. It's fiery, has a bitchin' melody, an incredible infectious tinkly piano, and pummels the drawers right off of your surf buns with its great staccato lead lines. Crank this one up big time! This song is worth the price all by itself! There are not enough stars...

The Lonely Surfer dotdotdot
MOR Surf (Instrumental)

"The Lonely Surfer" is an enigma, hardly legit surf band fare, yet definitely a genre classic. It only charted at 39 on Billboard, but it is among the more recognizable and sophisticated surf standards. It's haunting moody and dramatic. The French horns are surreal, giving it a major pompous feel that somehow transcends the dismissibility of other similar works, like the "Surfers Stomp" Marketts sessions. Amazing.

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.

Earthquake dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This fine tune was covered by the Surfaris. It is mean and vibrato laden, and uses EchoPlexed string swipes to simulate the same sorts of sounds they used when they covered "Moon Dawg." It's a very rhythmic track, full of body and power. This band's output on Vee Jay should be released!

Surfari dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Original Surfaris' "Surfari" is a really cool high energy number that has been only narrowly circulated and covered even more rarely. It has a bunch of energy, great low-E double picked leads and a solid helping of hooks. Great track

Enchanted Surf dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Pagents deliver a softer surf tune, a riff based mid tempo tune with ringing slightly vibratoed chords beneath carried on electric piano. It's a nice tune, moody and pretty, not particularly memorable. The liners say this might have been a San Luis Obispo area band, but there's nothing to base that on provided.

Hot Dogger dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Bluesy club tune, simple progression nature, and more a backtrack than a song. Previously unreleased.

Twitchin' dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Your basic progression, repeated repeatedly, creating a redundant redundancy. Fun frat dance thing with honky sax.

Pintor dotdotdotdot
Spanish Surf (Instrumental)

The Pharos are a total mystery. No one seems to know who they were. A few quirky tracks exist, "Pintor" among them. It's a rare, pleasant listening, Latin surf track. It has a certain quaintness, an infectious melody, and well placed whammies. Their other tracks are on various Del-Fi compilations and elsewhere.

Penetration dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

One of a handful of nationally successful surf single, this track has been covered more than "Miserlou," and in more varieties of rock styles. If you don't own this track, you have entered the surf idiom yet. This is one of the essential classics. The production is unusual and masterful, and the melody is simple and enduring. It spawned hundreds of covers, and is still quite infectious.

Pressure dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Pressure" was one of the Pyramids follow-up singles to "Penetration," and did not appear on their album. Totally infectious, a collector's must have, and a surf fan's delight.

Contact dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the b-side of "Pressure," and was not on their album. As with the flip side, it is a very cool rhythmic and infectious track.

Hang In dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This rock instrumental is little more than a backtrack, missing a melody, and dominated by a low-in-the-mix fuzz riff. Potentially a cool number, but mixed very oddly, and by leaving the fuzz guitar in the background, "Hang In" loses the power it just might have had.

Mozart Stomp dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Chords and monotone sax grind out a Mozart theme. Uninspired.

Linda's Tune dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A cool surf obscuro, more rare than wonderful. It's an average foray into the lesser singles of the period, melodic, and good listening. The original title is the ever familiar "Cielito Linda" written in 1882 by Quirino Mendoza y Cortes.

Hangin' Five dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Low grindy el distorto guitar over a bit of wave sound effects, a surf rhythm guitar. More Midwest style than surf. From '63. A-side to "Patch."

Church Key dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This version of "Church Key" is the same take as the hit, but with a different vocal intro, and with Barbara Adkins giggle at the end. Hot track!

Chinese Surf dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Heavy low-E vibrato, surf intentions, and spiffy double picking in a fifties framework yield a hybrid track of surf worthy note. Very cool. No idea who these boys were.

Breakfast At Tressels dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

More raw and rhythmic than reverbed, they were a dance band with a solid following. "Breakfast At Tressels" is from their lone album, and exemplifies them. This sports a cool title I've always liked. The basis of the tune is a fifties boogie, with reverbed guitar and lots of twang. No melody, but quite infectious.

Damascus dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Crunchy rhythm guitar, EchoPlexed lead, and a semi Middle Eastern melody. Not very exotic, not surfy, and not very infectious, though it could really be surfed up by a solid band like the Space Cossacks. I can hear the chunk now!

Wild Weekend dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is the one. This is the song everyone thinks of with this band. It was cut originally as a theme for the Tom Shannon Show on Buffalo, New York's legendary WKBW, from whence came free form progenitors Tom Donahue, Bob Mitchell, and Peter Trip. This is growly, dark, evil, chunky, melodic, and features near-surf rhythm guitar behind a raw R&B sax. A great and necessary track.

Boss dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the Rumblers lone national hit, and was the basis for their follow up singles "Boss Strikes Back," "Son of Boss," and "Boss Drums." Heavily R&B based, rhythmic and grumbly, its catchy thump and honkin' grodiness are essential listening for ant fan of the genre.

Slippin' dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Cool tribal saxy moody primal. Naturally, it's the Rumblers. Not like "Boss," but not dissimilar either. A progression for the sweaty. Previously unreleased.

Surf Rat dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

One of the most surfy instros the Rumblers ever cut. It has a simple progression, a whining sax in the background, and a "Let's Go" drum cadence. "Surf Rat" is actually called "Pack Rat."

Bugged dotdotdotdot
Space (Instrumental)

This exceptionally fun R&B instro has some narrated vocalizing, making it hard to define totally as an instro, but it's just too fun to pass up. That excellent quirky Rumblers sound and dumb utterances... what more could you ask for than that.

Waimea (The Angry Sea) dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This highly unusual track features the ugliest grodiest bass ever - mostly sounding like cabinet rattle without the bass notes... really cool! It's choppy, dark, brooding, and angular. A great track to augment a surf set.

Boss Strikes Back dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Boss Strikes Back" is a perfect followup to "Boss." It's derivative enough to be familiar, but different enough to satisfy. A bit less dangerous and up tempo. It's also more surfy. An excellent track!

It's A Gas dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The classic "Boss" rhythm theme is the underpinnings of "It's A Gas." Derivative, but a tuff and very cool groover with great drums!

The Big Wave dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dark double picked guitar, studio changa-changa rhythm and sax, and delicate damped surf verses. This is either an inventive band or a gimmick dependent studio session. hard to tell. Scallywags is pretty outrageous, and the guitar wanking is pretty cool in its own way.

Stampede dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Here it is, boys and girls. The original thrash out that's been covered by so many of the modern rockabilly / psychobilly bands. It's echoed, reverbed, piano tinkled, and a bit too muddy, but it certainly carries the energy, and it's easy to hear why so many have covered it. High energy, infectious progressions, cool pomp-n-stomp' tribal drums, raw sax, and throbbing bass. It's all here.

Latin'ia dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Easily one of the most beautiful Latin surf instros ever recorded. Tommy Nunes' writing and guitar wizardry were unsurpassed. I'd sure like to hear what he's doing now. This song shimmers. It's been on my top ten surf instro list for 33 years.

Surf 'N Soul dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This tune is a funky cool almost Pachuko soul track, with a stroll kinda feel. Fun and cool, in a pre-lounge way.

Tecumseh dotdotdot
Indian Surf (Instrumental)

A thin lead guitar tone, no reverb, and a lot of sax are the telltale signs of a fifties rock instro. It sports a few of the Indian isms you'd expect from a track named after such an Indian luminary. His name is uttered occasionally in a dramatic fashion.

Fink dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

A progression masquerading as a melody in that fifties style. When the lead guitar moves to a damped style, it begins to reek of surfisms. very cool track, despite it's minimal melody.

Somethin' Else dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

A very un-surfy track, without the redeeming Pacific Northwest sound or the deep feelings of the Minneapolis pre surf era. Just a fifties instro, though the cow bell is totally cool.

Re-Entry dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A very un-surfy song style, more R&B, but a very reverbed guitar. This song is energetic, fun, and utterly contagious.

Teen Theme dotdotdot
Fifties Rock (Instrumental)

Jeepers, vibes and a thin guitar. Interesting, if only for it's unusual use of the vibes. Otherwise, it's a shallow track, though much more melodic than most fifties instros.

Three Guitar Theme dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

A guitar boogie shuffle with a progression and a lack of imagination.

Pow-Wow dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This fifties boogie has appeared on several fifties comps to date. It's mostly a riff and a rhythm, with a cool chunky break. It could be surfed up easily enough. It reminds me of a Johnny Fortune clone attempt, but from a prior decade. Cool

Midnight Run dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is THEE defining Super Stocks track. It is melodic, dramatic, emotional, powerful, dynamic, and highly melodic. It was written by Gary Usher, Richard Burns, and Roger Christian. It has one of the most infectious sounds of any of the more layered less assaultive surf instros. Totally great.

Wipe Out dotdotdotdot
TV Surf (Instrumental)

"Wipe Out" is simply the definitive drummer's badge of courage. If he can do a decent "Wipe Out," he's hired. Simple, and written and recorded in just minutes, this is an international classic that has sold multimillions of copies, and still does every year worldwide. This is the long version.

Point Panic dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A-side of the follow up single to "Wipe Out." Great intro scream and tom toms. The fire in the bones of the band is clear here. High spirited, chunky, and rhythmic. Grand power glissandos, and those wonderful Ron Wilson drums. Jim Pash's sax is most appropriate. Not often covered, but a really good tune.

Widget dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Super low-E whammy lines, piano tinkling in the back, and a progression that goes on and on, interrupted only for froggy croaks of "Widget" and a sax break or two.

El Toro dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

For all the world, this sounds like the foundation for "High Tide," and may hint at the original arrangement that the Surfaris copied at the controversial "Surfer Joe" session, and, if verified, may put to rest the argument against the track dating on the "Surfaris Stomp" CD. This is slow and moody, and melodic. It pleases the ears with its round guitar tone and very pretty melody. It's listed on the sleeve as "Paradise Cove."

Topless dotdot
Echoplex Indian Surf (Instrumental)

Surf guitars and Echoplex and a direct rip off of "Apache" that evolves into a Las Vegas stop-start grind. The Indian tom-toms are cool.

Thunder Head dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A slowly rising snare drum open into a surf pluck fest with reverb kicks and an unusual riff. It's quite an interesting track. The muddiness of the recording hides an effective rhythm track. Closer to a jam than is preferred, yet quite fun and very infectious.

Bustin' Surfboards dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Bustin' Surfboards" is one of the most recognizable of the tribal surf instros from the sixties. It's drum dominated raw sound was nothing short of magical when I first heard it on KRLA. This is one of the essential surf instros, a desert island must-have.

The Other Side dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Another obviated title rests on this excellent B-side. I think this is better than the A-side. It uses a Ventures drum beat, and a great surf-n-Euro melody line that is both original and familiar. Excellent surf rhythm guitar and a driven performance make this a must have single.

Busting Point dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Torquays were one of a million bands using that name between 1960 and 1967. This is the Detroit band. Their music was dominated by the Fireballs, the Ventures, and the Chantays. "Busting Point" is rhythmic and mighty infectious, like a hotter version of Lonnie Mack's "Memphis" converted to surf. Sometimes too jam like, but always fun, this is a great rare find.

Minor Chaos dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This 1964 release is one of the GREAT surf obscuros. The Treasures called Fargo, North Dakota home, and shunned the surf label, seeing it as limiting. They employed Gretsch hollow body guitars for a more gutty sound. "Minor Chaos" is melodic, powerful, and rhythmic. The drums are spectacular, and the melody is strong. This is an essential surf monster. This is credited to Treasures guitarist Paul Hubbard, but the Steve Rowe and the Furys release of the same song credits Steve Rowe as the writer. It's a surf instro who done it. Paul says they co-wrote it, and it developed in various bands they both shared.

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.

Surfin' Bells dotdotdot
Christmas Surf (Instrumental)

This is a surf instro version of "Sleigh Ride." Very cool, in that trashy period commercial sort of way. Most cool.

Ram-Charger dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Ram-Charger" is a chunky, rhythmic, driven track with a real surf sound. It opens with a slow sad melody over dramatic rolling tom toms, then launches into a topdown kinda thing that is mostly a rhythm, but still captivates. "Ram-Charger" later appeared as a B-side to "Apache."

Walk, Don't Run dotdotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

This is essential. The Ventures were one of the two bands that served as the model for early surf bands, the other being the Fireballs. This was their first single, and is an absolute standard. It was based on the early fifties Chet Atkins arrangement. This is their signature tune, a solid and enduring cover of Johnny Smith's jazz classic. Rhythmic, solid as a rock, and very warm with pre-surf whammy. Only the Pink Fairies' vocal version is better than this. Great classic pre surf.

"Walk, Don't Run" and "Perfidia" were recorded a year before there was such a thing as surf music. Totally vintage and majorly important to the birth of surf, this Ventures single is still their hallmark and best effort. Every collection requires this track.

Lullaby Of The Leaves dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Among the most often requested of their vintage tunes, this is well surfed from a whammy point of view, but really is in the "Walk, Don't Run" mold stylistically. Excellent treatment.

Drag Race dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Unusual guitar and surf sounds merge to create a very cool tune, with a playful lead riff and solid bass and raging drums. Lots of fun, and a bit of surf too.

Thunderstorm dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

No, this isn't an early lineup of England's incredible Vibrasonic. It is a fifties kinda rhythm thing with no more than a progression passing for a melody. Fast and energetic, but not memorable.

Waikiki Rumble dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a very interesting surf tune. Many of the vintage surf bands used pianos, not Farfisas like so many of the new bands. The piano was a rhythmic melody instrument... listen to The Chantays' "Pipeline" or Dick Dale & his Del-tones' "Miserlou." This band clearly had the surf sound down, as is evident in the backing to this piano lead tune. Most unusual and cool. It is not the same tune as Jon & the Nightriders (natch - that was written in the eighties). Vince and the Waikiki Rumblers was fronted by Vince Mutulo from San Jose, who also was involved in the recording of Paul Revere and the Raiders' infectious "Like Long Hair."

We're Goin' Surfin' dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Like every other band on earth at the time, the Wailers tried to move into the pop consciousness on the wave of the surf sound. Their vocal attempts (Party Time U. S. A.) were pretty lame, but this instro is quite good, though not very surfy in the traditional sense. No double picking, and no Fender reverb, but plenty of watery groove. The girls chorus singin' "everyone's surfin', we're going surfin..." etc. could have been dropped, but still, it was a great single, and stands up well over time. The melody is the same as Dave Myers and the Surftones "Aqua Limbo Luau."

On The Rocks dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Now, I love the Wailers, but this is just a pale attempt to recapture "Tall Cool One" by playing a clone slightly faster, or did it come before? Maybe it was the earlier arrangement. I don't know. It's a solid Pacific Northwest rocker.

Shakedown dotdotdot
PNW Rock (Instrumental)

Guitar boogie progression with a swingin' melody for the bachelor pad. Spunky fun, but doesn't rise above the jam.

Shanghaied (Shanghai'd) dotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

Bobby Fuller & the Fanatics used to do "Shanghaied" and is has all the elements necessary for inclusion in a surf set, with just a little imagination. It's raw and garagy, and primal. The melody is playful, while the tone is ominous. Fake stereo delay detracts significantly from the original raw power of this track.

Yellow Bird dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Yup, it's Arthur Lyman's composition that was such a hit for Lawrence Welk, but that's where the similarities end. It's vibrato lead guitar is very surfy, though the backtrack is a standard fifties thing. Pretty cool.