Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA Collection: California Dreamin'
|This concept CD is all about the external perception of California - the pop image so to speak. Four instrumentals, three of which were actually by California artists, are included on the disc. The rest ranges from UK band the Flowerpot Men's "Let's Go To California," the relatively rare Roger McGuinn session with the Beach Boys playing "California Dreamin'," Ritchie Valens' party anthem "Come On, Let's Go," Canned Heat's "On the Road Again," and more. It does have a sense of the coast the way it's view from afar, but as a surf CD, it's mighty sparse.|
Picks: Walk, Don't Run, Misirlou, Bullwinkle Part II, Let There Be Drums
Track by Track Review
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.
Spy Surf (Instrumental)
No match for the Dick Dale version, but a damn fine rendition anyway. This has something magnetic about it, even though it is in some ways light weight.
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.
"Let There Be Drums" was the first track released after Sandy Nelson lost his foot. It is an infectious thing with a rolling rhythm and great drums. The formula was a cross between "Wipe Out" and "Rebel Rouser." Nelson's drums are solid, and Richie Podolor's guitar work is excellent too.