Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Bustin' Surfboardsdotdotdotdot
artworkAmong the first surf compilations to be issued on CD that wasn't California beach music (Beach Boys - Jan & Dean swill), this stands the test of time. It remains a solid and varied collection of mostly vintage surf, accented with a couple of modern surf tracks, including label chief Neil Norman's only surf instro.
Picks: Surf Jam, Out Of Limits, Fast Freight, Our Man Flint, Curl Rider, Our Favorite Martian, The Perfect Wave, Wild Weekend, The Victor, Bustin' Surfboards, Moon Dawg, Yang Bu, Surf Rider, The Lonely Surfer

Track by Track Review


Surf Jam dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is probably the most energetic of the Beach Boys instro sessions. It is mostly a jam, as the title suggests, but it is infectious and fun. The rhythmic chunk carries it off.

Out Of Limits dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the hit. It sports the great guitar work of Tommy Tedesco. It's infectious little riff was heard everywhere in the hey day of surf. It's quite a rock standard. This track blends surf with Joe Saraceno's orchestral thinking, guitars, French horns, and bells. Unlike almost all of the Marketts' tracks, this features the lead guitar as the lead instrument, and approximates real surf music. It is a studio session, with Tommy Tedesco on lead, but it rips right nicely. A classic surf hit.

Fast Freight dotdotdot
Latino Rock (Instrumental)

This track has little or nothing to do with surf, but on the other hand, it is a fine rhythmic instro from one of the truly great losses to the rock world. Richie Valens' name was shortened by Del-Fi from Valensuela) to overcome fears of a stigma from the Mexican name. His raw energy and magnetic appeal were unmistakable from his sessions. This track has plenty of his flair, and while not very melodic, and void of any surfisms, it holds attention throughout with it's shear innocent excitement.

Our Man Flint dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

By the time these guys got to GNP, they'd lost all of their surf authenticity, and had become a Southern California Ventures, covering everyone else with nearly MOR arrangements, and little imagination. They were not quite the style chameleons that the Pacific Northwest boys were, but did produce a lot of flaccid material. This is a pedestrian an uninteresting cover of the spy theme.

Curl Rider dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This classic revival track from the second or third band to carry the torch in the eighties is a fine, melodic, rhythmic pure surf tune with plenty of power and oodles of surfisms. A really important track to the reemergence of surf instros.

Our Favorite Martian dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Bobby Fuller played some of the best surf instros on the gentler side of the track. This recording is essential to any surf collection. It begins with a slowed reverb kick, and moves right into one of the most recognizable of the more obscure instros. The structure and sound are perfectly surf, and the energy and style are exquisite.

The Perfect Wave dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a stellar track. It shreds mightily, double picked excellently, powering it's way through a fine melody and dramatic arrangement. It's a monster of an eighties surf recording.

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.

The Victor dotdotdotdot
Not (Instrumental)

Not the great Capital session, but from the GNP sessions in '75. It's a fine version, but suffers from the same weakness they all had, little energy in the mix, but a good performance. The Capital session is a lot stronger. This track ranks as one of the great Middle Eastern surf epics. It sports a minimal melody, but has an intensity all it's own, which lead the Mermen to include it in their infamous "Middle Eastern medley." Power, Intensity, Grace... what more do you want? This version is both better and lesser, depending on what you are looking for. More chunk and clarity, less energy and panache.

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.

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.

Yang Bu dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Super chunky mean surf. The boys scream and shout relentlessly. The melody is shallow, but the ominous nature of the tune is very magnetic. This is a powerful and vicious surf track. It is also the Jesters' most familiar track.

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.

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.