Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: The Birth Of Surf Volume 2dotdotdot
Volume two is more or less a reduction of volume one with some adders. While much less desirable, it's still a super bargain at ten bucks for 130 tracks.
Picks: The Astronauts - Baja, Movin', Surfer's Stomp, Surf Party, Pipeline, The Belairs - Mr. Moto, The Blazers - Beaver Patrol, Les Brown Jr. - Drum's Safari, Al Casey - Ramrod, The Hearse, Surf's You Right, Thunder Beach, The Centuries - 4th Dimension, The Centurions - Bullwinkle Pt. II, The Chantays - Monsoon, The Chevells - Let There Be Surf, The Crossfires - Fiberglass Jungle, Dick Dale and his Del-Tones - Death Of A Gremmie, Let's Go Trippin', Surf Beat, Jungle Fever, A Run For Life, Del-Tone Rock, Eight 'Till Midnight, Surfing Drums, The Emotionals - Misirlou, The Fabulous Playboys - Cheater Stomp, The Fireballs - Bulldog, The Five Sounds - Clumsy Dragon, The Goldtones - Strike, Bob Hafner - Surf Creature, The Hollywood Tornadoes - Lightnin', The Illusions - Jezabel, The Impacts - Wipe Out, Steel Pier, Lisa, Beep Beep, Sea Horse, Tears, Revellion, The Imperials - Avalanche, Jimmy and Stan - Tahiti, The Lively Ones - Surf Rider, Rohny Lofton and the Damangos - El Diablo, The Nevegans - One-Armed Bandit, The Nobles - Black Widow, Jaguar, The Original Surfaris - Latin Soul, The Red Coats - Midnight and Paul Revere, The Revels with Barbara Adkins - Church Key, Comanche, The Ron-De-Voos - Pipeline '66, The Roulettes - Surfer's Charge, The Royal Tones - Creeping Thunder, The Runabouts - Lobo, After Effects, The Scarlets - Stampede, The Sentinals - Surf 'N Soul, Latin'ia, Surfin' Tragedy, Tor-Chula, Tony Sperry and the Quarter Notes - The Shock, The Strangers - This Brave New World, The Surfmen - Paradise Cove, El Toro, Russian Roulette, Moon Dawg, The Tornadoes - Bustin' Surfboards, Tree Tops - Tinkle Bones, The Valiants - The Valiant, The Vy-Dels - Unknown, The Wailers - We're Goin' Surfin', The Webs - Blue Skies, Link Wray and his Raymen - Jack The Ripper

Track by Track Review


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!

Movin' dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A Lee Hazelwood composition. This track was also covered by the Surfaris and Eddie and the Showmen. It's a great track for the Astronauts' three guitar line up. This version is better than any of the others from the vintage days of surf. It's melodic, energetic, and very cool.

Surfer's Stomp dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Joe Saraceno's wimpy big band surf pop hit was first made into a real surf song right here. Old Joe had the melody, but it took a band with real guitars to make it work. Credible track.

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.

Pipeline dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

None of the delicacy of the Chantays or the edge of the Lively Ones. It's a good track, just not remarkable.

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!

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."

One Mint Julep dot
Jazz (Instrumental)

A poor man's imitation of soul instro... lacking chemistry or much of anything to catch your interest.

Drum's Safari dotdotdot
Jazz (Instrumental)

Moody bass and tremolo guitar with whammy and scary shimmer. "Drum's Safari" is easily the most interesting of all Les Brown Jr. recordings. Only cheesy jazz organ and an incredibly unimaginative drum solo detract from a near surf experience.

Woodchopper's Ball dot
Jazz (Instrumental)

Woody Herman's standard is bouncy, but not inspired. The recording is sometimes fairly ambient.

One O'Clock Jump dotdotdot
Jazz (Instrumental)

"One O'Clock Jump" is a moderately interesting jazz number. A tedious guitar solo, but some energy and occasionally cool piano.

Bernie's Tune dotdot
Jazz (Instrumental)

"Bernie's Tune" is almost interesting. It's just too stiff.

Night Train dot
Jazz (Instrumental)

With many superb versions of this venerable song, it's hard to imagine why anyone would do such a boring job with it.

Surfin' Blues - Part 1 dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A blues jam that Al wrote in the studio.

Ramrod dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Al reportedly played lead on the Duane Eddy hit single, because Duane was on tour when the studio was booked. Al was his studio rhythm player, but seldom played live with him. This is the same arrangement, played with complete abandon.

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.

The Hearse dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is magnificent. Al's interpretations of Lee's writing is amazing. He has a knack for slow pacing without a loss of power. Deep reverb and pure surf sounds. I have often wondered if this is how Lee Hazelwood intended "The Hearse" to sound, since he was a part of these sessions.

Lonely Surfer dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

O.K. tune, but not particularly note worthy.

Surf's You Right dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Another Lee Hazelwood number. Among the great surf pun titles, and a cool tune that's pretty darn fast and melodic. It has some similarities to "Deep In The Heart Of Texas."

Thunder Beach dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Inspired by or adapted from his collaborative work with Jody Reynolds & the Storms' killer classic "Thunder," this tune is great to have. Al makes everything sound big.

4th Dimension dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

From the opening Theremin through the totally infectious rhythm guitar, this surf tune features three guitars, a damped super reverbed classic surf rhythm, a dryer chord playing rhythm, and a vibratoed and reverbed lead which issues sounds from behind the bridge while not playing a lead melody. Totally weird and utterly cool.

Bullwinkle Pt. II dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

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.

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.

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.

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!

Death Of A Gremmie dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Recorded at the Rendezvous Ballroom and from the Surfers Choice album, this ranks as one of the best early pre surf ominous R&B instros, piano oriented, and very sad. Bitchin'!

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."

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.

Jungle Fever dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Jungle Fever" is the single studio version of "Surfing Drums." It is actually a cover of Bo Diddley's "Hush Your Mouth." It's a great glimpse into those long lost times in Balboa when Dick Dale was King and the big Surf sound was just dawning. It's too bad that it fades out during the drum solo, but I suspect it segues into some other tune. Dick performed it live in the early nineties as "Jungle Bunnies" with the same voiced calls.

A Run For Life dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The early Del-tone single version of the song that became "The Wedge," with the Del-tones as the band, and with Dick playing trumpet leads. It's way hokey at times, and gives you a clear glimpse at the difference between the history and sound surf music as you know it and the "world according to Dick Dale."

Del-Tone Rock dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Del-Tone Rock" was the B-side of "Let's Go Trippin'" from the Del-tone days. It displays the tradition rock 'n' roll roots Dick Dale's early instro sound was born of, and also foretells the soon to be born surf sound. It also helps clarify the residency of the original version of "Let's Go Trippin'" on the pre-surf side of the boundary. A very fine track.

Eight 'Till Midnight dotdotdotdot
R&B Surf (Instrumental)

"Eight Till Midnight" was never included on an album, but was the b-side of "Miserlou." It's a very cool R&B theme song for the Rendezvous gigs. Memorable and poppy.

Surfing Drums dotdotdotdot
R&B Surf (Vocal)

This mostly instrumental track is from the Surfers Choice LP on Del-tone (later reissued on Capitol as part of their deal with Dick). It was recorded live at the Rendezvous Ballroom in '62, and is actually a cover of Bo Diddley's "Hush Your Mouth," lyrics and all. It's a great glimpse into those long lost times in Balboa when Dick was King and the big Surf sound was just dawning. A great track. It's too bad that it fades out during the drum solo, but I suspect it segues into some other tune. Dick also recorded a version as a single called "Jungle Fever" with voiced monkey calls, as well as performed it live in the early nineties as "Jungle Bunnies" with the same voiced calls.

Rocking dotdotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

Damped pluckin' and near-glissandos spice up this guitar boogie shuffle. More manic and primitive than cool.

Firewater dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Echoed guitar drives a semi-melodic riff over a rolling basic rockabilly neat. It's OK, but not particularly interesting. The Diminshuns were from Houston, Texas.

Misirlou dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Duluth, Minnesota's Emotionals recorded this hot version of "Misirlou" comes from the B-side of a 1967 single. It's fiery, powerful, and highly energetic. One of the great vintage recordings of this classic, and most unusual given it's late recording date.

Breakin' Up dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is one of those frustrating moments when a band that totally had the instruments and the sound, goes off and records something that isn't even remotely surf, and doesn't lend itself to being surfed up... interesting, but they must have recorded something really cool I've never heard. It's an R&B Vegas trash thing, but with surf sensibilities. Odd, and the absurd laughs make is even less credible.

Cheater Stomp dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

John Blair didn't list this in his "Illustrated Discography Of Surf Music 1961-1965," and neither did Rich Hagenssen in his phone book thick compendium of instrumentals. Heavy surf and plucky piano riffola. Very fun indeed.

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.

Clumsy Dragon dotdotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Grode and playful, this is a little like a demented variation on the Chantays' "Move It." Pretty cool, with rich guitar tone and lots of interesting damped chops. It's hard not to dig this track, if only for its unique sound and grinning structure. Very cool!

Strike dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

From the pins crashing in the opener, this rocker is a lot like the b-side, except with more a riff orientation. Rhythmic and intense, "Strike" is a powerhouse of lap steel drive and rock chunk. It was used as the theme to the local TV show Bowling For Dollars. Great drums.

Surf Creature dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This track is a very moody vibrato laden monster with distant howling in the background. Bob Hafner aka R. (Robert) J. Hafner wrote numerous surf tunes. This is his only direct credit for performance. It's been covered, because it's mighty evil and mysterious. Great track.

(My Old) Kentucky Home Rock dotdot
Sax (Instrumental)

Big rockin' sax belting out an old standard. Nothing special here.

Lightnin' dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a surfy variation on "Shoot That Beaver." It's much more surfable, and much more interesting. It's still a frat raver, but with the reverb, it retains that beach front feel.

Jezabel 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.

Wipe Out dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

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."

Steel Pier dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Except for "Sea Horse," this is Merrell Fankhauser's best writing, as evidenced by the number of covers out there. It features a simple melody line with drum breaks and a dark brooding tone in an infectious setting. Very cool.

Lisa dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Slow and silky and bluesy and romantic... "Lisa" ages pretty well. I have grown to appreciate this track over the years.

Beep Beep dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is one of those utterly silly and totally fun tracks that tends to be overlooked because it is so fluffy. The whole thing is a play on a honking horn riff. It sneaks up on you when you aren't looking, and grabs you with a major grin attack.

Sea Horse dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is my favorite Impacts song. It is hokey, with a Little Grass Shack melody and backtrack, but it is so sincere and so fun, that it is irresistible. A fine lighthearted ditty for the South Seas.

Tandem dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A cool R&B flavored surfy number, nice but not particularly memorable.

Tears dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Sad, silky, lap steel tear jerker with a flowing sound and pleasurable arrangement. Great steel.

Revellion dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Slow (very slow), melodic, moody and enjoyable. Not terribly remarkable, but worth having in your library.

Avalanche dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Echoed guitar and a murky backtrack, with just enough infectious guitar to keep it interesting. The guitar patterns remind me a little of some of Paul Johnson's early work.

Tahiti dotdotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Thumpy in a Bob Vaught kinda way, with edgy echoed guitar playing a cool riff and dancing around the surf idiom. Great tribal drums and cool licks.

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.

El Diablo dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Not a hint of the Devil in this basic riff rocker. More than a jam, but missing the chemistry of a well developed song. It is pretty close to the surf envelope, and does have a coastal feel.

Knockout dotdotdot
Piano Boogie (Instrumental)

Bobby Mizzell must have been a piano player. This raucous piano boogie is a pumping monster. "Knockout" is highly rhythmic and entirely fun. Not a guitar in sight.

Rock, Guitar, Rock dotdotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

This is a soft rockabilly boogie, with piano and riffin' guitar. Brushed drums and jammin' guitar.

One-Armed Bandit dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With R&B underpinnings, and a soft spoken kind of happy soul, "One-Armed Bandit" rolls a long with cool sax injections and a simple and pleasing guitar line. Nice track.

Stompin' dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Man, what a simpleton frat rocker this is. The sax man can blow hard, but he uses damn few notes and left style at home. The rhythm guitar riff is Neil Hefty's "Batman." Boring.

Black Widow dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This surf obscuro sports a lead guitar that's buried pretty far in a somewhat murky mix. Too bad too, because, while this is pretty simple, it's actually quite infectious. There's lots of energy and great drums rolling and rocking throughout.

Jaguar dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Great electric piano vibrates against nasty sax and great drums in this murky little single. Not even a little melodic, yet pretty tuff and driven.

Latin Soul dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

While crudely recorded, particularly the drums, this is the poundiest, hottest, and most infectious version of this fine tune. Ultra powerful guitar tones take it beyond the Sentinals version. It has all the Latin flair, but is monster surf guitar dominated.

Dizzee dotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

Sax duets and one-chord riffin' just barely make a song. Definitely on the filler side of the single.

It's A Reamer dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

In some ways, this is like a less interesting second cousin' to the Gamblers' "Moondawg." Similar simplicity and structure, but a little less drive and murkier sound. Still, it's pretty infectious in a fifties rocker kinda way.

Driftin' dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

"Driftin'" is a riff rockin' post boogie progression. slightly twangy and somewhat gutty, but not very interesting.

Midnight and Paul Revere dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Great damped guitar rhythms pump out a relentless non-melodic sludge while the tom toms pound and the dogs bark. "Midnight and Paul Revere" is mighty infectious despite its creative limitations. It's on the edge of being surfable. Pretty fun.

Monongahela dotdotdot
Rockabilly (Instrumental)

"Monongahela" is a fast rhythm rockin' jam with only its manic energy to keep it afloat.

Church Key dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Revels had been playing for quite a while before laying down the classic slang-for-can-opener titled "Church Key" with producer Norman Knowles' girl friend Barbara Atkins giggling away. Danny Darnold is the lead player here, and Norman does duty on the sax. If you're impressed with their edgy energy.

Intoxica dotdotdot
Alcohol Drenched Rock (Instrumental)

This track sports the same sort of laughter and brew sounds that "Church Key" sports, but is less interesting. It's a fine tune, of course, but this is a pretty slow version, and relatively uninspired, though the sax if quite hot.

Comanche dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the tune that wailed in Pulp Fiction. Howling honking sax Indian flavored "Navaho Trail" kinda tune with major edge. San Luis Obispo's Revels cut "Comanche" with more guts and danger than just about anything else in their repertoire.

Runaway dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a basic riff rocker with honky tonk piano and raspy sax. Nothing unusual happening here, no hooks, no catchy riffs, just a bit of spunk. This is not the Del Shannon tune.

Pipeline '66 dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a crude live take of the Chantays' classic, with a muddy sound and some minor hints of the period it was recorded in. Reverb kicks and a plodding pace plus ambient room sound. Quite out of step with the times.

Nightbeat dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Cool guitar chops and riffin' over a walking bass line and pumping piano dominate this 1959 single. Otherwise, it's just a jam.

Surfer's Charge dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Surfer's Charge" is heavily rhythm dependent. The rhythm is reverbed, with extreme room reverb on the hand claps. The track is mostly just a riff, but the use of slowed real room echo on the hand claps is an innovative mechanical and creative pre-Quadraverb production effect, not widely used. The Roulettes were really the Invaders. This was originally called "Invasion." This is a subsequent single release.

Creeping Thunder dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The thunder crashes as the Royal Tones break into a piano rocker with some nice guitar tidbits. Not dismissible, but not really memorable either.

Lobo dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

A grode Low-E guitar grumbles under an introductory narrative, then launches into basic riff rocker with enough chamber reverb to make it sound pretty surfy. A cool and mighty obscure track, with overdubbed handclaps and a rock solid beat. Also credited to Johnny Hammer and the Runabouts.

After Effects dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Big vibrato throb guitar over a "Running Scared" (Roy Orbison) beat, with a nasty sax. It sounds like an Al Casey kinda track. Just slightly south of surf, this cool track broods over who knows what lost love with an edgy rebel rock feel. Also credited to Johnny Hammer and the Runabouts.

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.

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.

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.

Surfin' Tragedy dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Among the best version of this song, second only to the Bob Vaught & the Renegaids version. It is a flowing and pretty song, sad and melodic.

Tor-Chula dotdotdotdot
Soul Surf (Instrumental)

A Latin Laguna Luau party number from the minds of San Luis Obispo or Pismo Beach... I forget. One of their more ethnic numbers, very Latino and very wonderful. This Latin soul jazzy number has been one of my faves for a millennium (almost). It has a really cool soulful feel and great damped barely reverbed guitar. A brilliant arrangement.

Swampin' dotdot
Riff Rock (Instrumental)

Riffin' sax and basic stop-start rock in a standard fifties vein. Not particularly interesting or inventive. The guitar tone is sub surf, but hints of things to come.

The Shock dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Big guitar chords crash and strut through the acoustic chamber reverb while two note progressions wander along. "The Shock" hints of surf a little, but just dances around the edges.

Sandstorm dotdotdot
Fifties Rock (Instrumental)

This is not a cover of Johnny & the Hurricanes' great instro. It is a melody-free grinding fifties B-side kinda thing, intense, Link Wray influenced, and energetic.

This Brave New World dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

In the Atlantics' vein, but more bass heavy. I'm sure it's an Atlantics tune, but can't place it at the moment. Intense and infectious.

Paradise Cove dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Surf Men's rendering of "Paradise Cove" was the second recording for them. As the Expressos, they had recorded it as Wandering with Aki Aleong producing. They had renamed it "Extasy," but changed it to "Paradise Cove" to relate to the rising surf phenomenon. It's more basic than the familiar Lively Ones version, and truly primal and significant in it's seminal creation of the Polynesian rhythm cool lagoon variety of Surf. This is a must-have track for any collector.

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."

Russian Roulette dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Russian Roulette" is an updated version of "Surf Bound" with a much surfier sound and much better audio quality. Superb arranging and production, likely from Wenzel's Music. Utterly infectious rolling beat and guitar lines that are perfect for a drive with the top down!

Moon Dawg dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This starts out with the worst, most echoed imitation angry dog barks of any version of the Gamblers' hit. It's pretty darn fine, spirited, and crude. Even the harmonies are cool.

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.

Tinkle Bones dotdotdot
Piano Surf Boogie (Instrumental)

Piano tinkle and walking bass thump. This primitive riff rocker sports a "ooh-wah" kinda chorus and lots of fun,. Under the fifties riffin' can be heard a near surf guitar double picking its heart out.

The Valiant dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Can you spell r-a-r-e! Not the best surf track ever, but really cool, and so rare that I'll never see an original copy. It has a very unusual melody line, and it has a certain appeal. Very nice track.

Desert Boots dotdot
Rockabilly Boogie (Instrumental)

Not a melody in sight on this pumping thumper. One chord piano pounding and distant sax.

Unknown dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Unknown" has been covered many times. The Mermen still include it in their live shows, as captured on their Haunted House CD, and Splashback do a killer rendition when they play live as well. This is one crunchy track, splashy and intense right from the initial reverb kick and glissando. Don Bradley's melody line is exceptionally good. It was the A-side of "What I'm Gonna Do" (Garnet 101).

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."

Blue Skies dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Super reverbed pluckage, whammified notes, shimmering Hawaiian images... it's all here, in a simple and appealing surf instro. "Blue Skies" is the classic melody from Irving Berlin. Very nicely done!

Jack The Ripper dotdotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Is there another instro up to the power or importance of "Jack The Ripper?" I don't think so. I still vividly remember the chill I felt (there it is again) the first time I heard this record. Even on cruddy little table radio, this stood the hairs on the back of my neck on end. This is a powerful and ominous recording, with its rolling rhythm and tom tom cadence, and intense guitar tone. It dominates you as you listen. It is as essential as it gets. Issued in 1961, it has inspired and been covered by countless guitarists. It is dark, brooding, mysterious, and the vibrato is superb. This timeless melody personifies the ability of voiceless rock to convey an image, even more than "Rumble" does. It is simply superb.