Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Charlie Does Surfdotdotdotdot
artworkCharlie Does Surf is a pretty consistently good comp, with a variety of approaches to the music of the Clash from 18 bands. Most of these tracks have not been out before.
Picks: Charlie Don't Surf, What's My Name, Rudy Can't Fail, Atom Tan, Garageland, Safe European Home, White Riot, Janie Jones, Straight To Hell, London's Burning, Spanish Bombs, Train In Vain, Stay Free, Death Or Glory, Clampdown, Complete Control, The Guns Of Brixton, London Calling

Track by Track Review


Charlie Don't Surf dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Finally committed to disc, Pollo Del Mar's cut of the Clash's peon to surf has become very VERY surf. The rhythm is infectious, the bass solid, the drums perfect, and the glissandoes right on. A thoroughly wonderful track!

What's My Name dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Brazil's Estrume'n'tal intensely drive "What's My Name" with long compressed distortional twang. Thick and relentless, though the song is not very melodic. Heavy and unrelenting.

Rudy Can't Fail dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Chicago's' very cool Cocktail Preachers give tribal percussion to "Rudy Can't Fail." The lack of much melody is made up for with varying arranging and splash. Rhythm dominated and interestingly picked.

Atom Tan dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Atom Tan" is an interesting choice made practical instrumentally by an arrangement employing dueling guitar lines and sax. This track works quite well, especially for a song that's only slightly melodic.

Garageland dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Bill McGlynn's saucy Glasgow Tiki Shakers take "Garageland" into a tropical lounge where surf and umbrella drinks overshadow all else. Upbeat, yet somewhat moody, the song sounds like it's supposed to be done this way.

Safe European Home dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A very warm tropical sound converts "Safe European Home" into an instant island classic. Long whammy chords speak of the tropics while the melody is optimistically sad. Vibrato and reverb and liquid coolness.

White Riot dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

pumping with energy and dry chord attack, coupled with glissandos and tom toms, "White Riot" is fast and double picked for a ride on the inside of a closing tube. Very nice arrangement.

Janie Jones dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Sequenced keyboard weirdness and dry rock guitar. "Janie Jones" is an interesting instro, but a very long way from anything surf.

Straight To Hell dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

You can always count on CHUM to do unusual and intriguing things with unexpected songs. "Straight To Hell" is very surf, very liquid, tribally sultry, and lurid. It's gentle and delicate, yet dripping a subdued kind of power. Excellent.

London's Burning dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Heavy chords and distortion, feedback, echo, and an angular sound. "London's Burning" is mostly a progression with lot's of changes. Edgy, fuzzy, and kinda cool.

Spanish Bombs dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The bells open before the near-surf guitar plays the melody with a nod to the Clash and surf. More variations is tone or attack would make this less repetitious.

Train In Vain dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Susan and the SurfTones play with "Train In Vain," creating a carnival atmosphere between the organ and guitar. At first, it's more strange than interesting, but I found this very difficult song grew on me. Not at all fluid in the surf sense, but compelling and angular.

Stay Free dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The always experimental Thurston Lava Tube do a very surf arrangement of this song, with a bit of the islands and an ample surf edge. "Stay Free" demonstrates the flexibility of the surf idiom. Organ takes the break, "Wipe Out" drums add a classic reference, and the swells are in evidence everywhere.

Death Or Glory dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dark and heavy and fuzzy, "Death Or Glory" is melodically punky, with a garage feel and just a hint of surf. While there are not a lot of changes, the relentless thickness conveys the song well. The bass drives the break.

Clampdown dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Great glissandos and chord splash... Urban Surf Kings make the surf sound seem like a natural in this song. "Clampdown" seems so right, almost as if the band wrote it. Very good track.

Complete Control dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Lava Rats made this work well in the sound envelope they have developed. A strange sorta sixties not-intended-for-stereo mix gives "Complete Control" an odd and distant kind of power. Very interesting.

The Guns Of Brixton dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

It's more than a little interesting that the Clash's "The Guns Of Brixton" could be surfed up. The flute lead is incredible, and the surf chords behind it bring charm to this beach friendly track. Big fuzz break, lots of trashy charm, and quite refreshing. Very cool!

London Calling dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Pyronauts make "London Calling" seem more moody and forlornned than the Clash did. Atmospheric, dangerous, and distantly dangerous, with reverb crashes and sirens. Doomsday ominous.