Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Desert Island Treasuresdotdot
artworkThere's nothing desert island about this collection of Merrill Fankhauser (Impacts) tracks. The history is valid enough, but with the exception of the Velvetones track, it's not particularly interesting. The Exiles tracks are pedestrian garage band fair despite the fact that the amazing Jeff Cotton was in the band.
Picks: The Impacts - Kon Tiki, The Velvetones - Mr. X

Track by Track Review


The Exiles - Burton's Jam dotdotdot
Blues (Instrumental)

A James Burton number crudely recorded, but from an inspired set. No surf here, but a nice garage blues instro none the less.

The Impacts - Shredder dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Church Key" is the basis for this slight variation on that theme. It has a simple progression in lieu of a melody. Historic, but no big deal. I have to wonder about the title, since the term didn't come into common use within the surf culture until the advent of the short board.

The Impacts - Switzerland dotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

R&B coolness in a club tune sorta way, not unlike the backtrack to the Hombres' "Let It All Hang Out." Swiss influences are added, and that's a nice touch. This Seals & Crofts cover from their days with the Champs has a post mariachi sound. It's a cool groovin' track. No surf, but fun fluid soulin'. It is a previously unreleased track from 1963.

The Impacts - Kon Tiki dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A chord progression with tasty accents, but no melody. "Kon Tiki" is a rare glimpse into the tracks that Del-Fi left off of the Wipe Out! album. Rare doesn't always equal great, and the thin sound and real basic progression render this unremarkable. Yet, I find it alluring in a historical sense.

The Velvetones - Mr. X dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Velvetones' "Mr. X." was the A-side of their 3rd and final single issued in May of '65. It's a cool subtle palm-damped reverb-laden track heavy on the tom toms, like a cross between The Polaras' "Cricket" and The Lively Ones' "Paradise Cove."