Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Exotic Guitarsdotdotdotdot
artworkSixty instrumentals compiled for internet distribution, most of which are surf. While not a legitimate release, Exotic Guitars is a cool adventure in mostly modern surf.
Picks: The Apemen - Bongo Bongo, The Astro Nettes - Quiet Village, Los Banditos - Hotspot, The Beat Tornados - Spy vs. Spy, The Cruel Sea, Big Surf - Club Cabana, The Bitch Boys - Waikiki Storm, The Bomboras - Mystery Planet, Los Coronas - Corona Del Mar, High Sierra, The Dead Rocks - Maui's Sunset, The Duals - Cha Cha Guitars, El Ray - Hypnotic, The Greaseballs - Least Favorite Martian, Gary Hoey - Namotu Moon, Huevos Rancheros - Diamond Head, Latin Ranch, The Hypnomen - Psycho From Ipanima, Shalamar, The Invisible Surfers - Malaguena, The Langhorns - Aspiración, Longboard Ranch - Reef Shadows, The Manatees - Thunderbirds Theme, The Metalunas - Celluloid Planetoid, The Moon-Rays - El Toro Gano, The Pastel Six - Bandido, The Phantom Surfers - Istanbul, Los Plantronics - Evil Tiki, Link Protrudi and the Jaymen - Chaquita, Ray Daytona and Googoobombos - Area 51, Retrofoguetes - Roswell, The Reverberators - Paint It Bond, The Sandals - Wild As The Sea, Slacktone - Tiki Bar Crawl, The Space Cossacks - The Apes Of Wrath, Stereophonic Space Sound Unlimited - On The Road To Sicily, The String-A-Longs - Perfidia, The Supersonicos - Aloha Alien, The Supertones - Stranger In Paradise, The Surf Trio - Cocktails With Bond, Los Luchadors, Susan and the SurfTones - Ghost Riders In The Sky, The Swamp Coolers - Hawaii 5-0, 3 Balls of Fire - Beneath Mexican Stars, Los Tiki Phantoms - Kilahuea, The Torpedoes - Theme From "The Ipcress File" (A Man Alone), The Torquays - Sunset Cruise, The Tremolo Beer Gut - Evilvis, Los Twang! Marvels - Runaway From Zardoz, Brasil, The Verbtones - Matador, Vibrasonic - Latin Vibrations, The Volcanos - The Last Wave

Track by Track Review


The Apemen - Bongo Bongo dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Bongo Bongo" rides over a Northwest backtrack. The lead is sad, or maybe slightly mean. Very fast and bouncy.

The Aquamen - Blue Hawaii dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The melody line is actually quite nice, but the PNW backtrack (too much like "She's Waiting") really gets in the way. Mostly grind. The lead guitar is quite nice.

The Astro Nettes - Quiet Village dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

In the "Banzai Pipeline" vein, the Astronauts do amazing things to Martin Denny's hit tune. It's not just hard to recognize, it's also quite cool. There's little exotica left.

Falsely listed as "Quiet Planet."

Los Banditos - Hotspot dotdotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

The ocean laps at the sand as the surfy "Hotspot" ensues. On the verge of surf, with edge and shallow swimming whammy, and a thick wash of sounds. This is a captivating song with a surfable melody and unique sound. Warbles and chunk.

The Beat Tornados - Spy vs. Spy dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Oozing espionage and psychotic sfx, this rich surf 'n' spy track bounces with an interesting and infectious beat behind a tight melody line and whirring theremin. Nice track.

The Beat Tornados - The Cruel Sea dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Mike Maxfield's often covered British surf instro finds new life with ultra sped and dissonant tone. It races through storm break, like the Allman Brothers at 78. The delay used in the damped break is really nifty. Great glissandos, boys.

Big Surf - Club Cabana dotdotdotdot
Exotica (Instrumental)

"Club Cabana" is a softly exotic and mysterious song with a sinewy melody and bongos. This track grows on you as it evolve, hooking into your soul. Very cool!

The Bitch Boys - Waikiki Storm dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a fun track, with a warm melody line and a ton of liquid reverb. With a sound and power similar to some of the Brainwashers' material, yet very much the Bitch Boys' own sound. This is an open road track for sure.

The Bomboras - Mystery Planet dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Borrowing the feel of Henry Mancini's "A Shot In The Dark," this is a fairly infectious track, with solid surf rhythm guitar work, and solid drums too. The lead work could be a little more out front, but is ok. It chunks along, rhythmically grabbing you as you slide through the track.

Bootcut - Cocktail Lounge dotdotdot
Lounge (Instrumental)

Bootcut play organ centric lounge for pouring hooch own hatch. "Cocktail Lounge" is fun and unobtrusive, functioning well as a backdrop.

Los Coronas - Corona Del Mar dotdotdot
Desert Island Surf (Instrumental)

Desert island warm summer day quiet lagoon driftin' on a longboard and saronged female forms on the beach. Just a few of the images this conjures. Yeow!

Los Coronas - High Sierra dotdotdotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Taking its time at a leisurely pace, "High Sierra" is a solid and moody piece with intriguing semi-military drums, haunting guitar, and solemn bass. A bit of spy, a touch of spaghetti, and an enticing European feel. This is quite a cool track.

The Dead Rocks - Maui's Sunset dotdotdotdot
Heavy Surf (Instrumental)

A cowboy beat and rhythm run beneath this tweaky number. It has a sense of the islands, but more of a sense of the range. Perhaps the subject is the cowboys on the ranches on Big Island. It's quite fun, being hard not to grin as you listen. "Maui's Sunset" would be wonderful while driving south on a coastal highway with the top down at sunset.

The Duals - Cha Cha Guitars dotdotdotdot
Pre Salsa (Instrumental)

With more than a slight influence from La Bamba, and timbales added, this becomes a really cool Latin track, almost Salsa before there was Salsa. It is infectious, and will fit into a surf set just fine. It has a gentle sorta West Coast sound.

El Ray - Hypnotic dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Rhythmic chunk and spooky European spy melody lines haunt this interesting instrumental. "Hypnotic" is an unusual and attractive song with a kind of crystalline feel, coupled with just a touch of spaghetti western.

The Greaseballs - Least Favorite Martian dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With a nod to Bobby Fuller in title and bass line, this superb track is liquid enticing and perfect for open road running. The sense of traveling is stark, and the tone very warm. While Bobby Fuller is written all over it, it's also quite original. Exceptional!

Jet Harris - Man With The Golden Arm dotdotdot
British Big Bass (Instrumental)

Jet Harris solo on this film score. Aside from the ultra low lead, the track is typical film fluff, with brass, drama, and snappy hooks.

Gary Hoey - Namotu Moon dotdotdotdot
Metal Guitar Hero (Instrumental)

Light guitars delicately play beautiful island rhythms and melodies while the drums and bass employ a hip-hop ethic. This is a very pretty piece with island imagery and a great deal of warmth.

Huevos Rancheros - Diamond Head dotdotdotdot
Aggro Surf (Instrumental)

Ultra heavy with thundering thick power... perhaps the most original rendering of this often covered gem. Huge!

Huevos Rancheros - Latin Ranch dotdotdotdot
Cowboy Surf (Instrumental)

Cowboys on the beach at Waikiki, whammy island tones, cool pre-Los Straitjackets ideas (no wonder they chose Bane to produce their albums). Very cool, playfully suave, almost exotica.

The Hypnomen - Psycho From Ipanima dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

It's got that fast paces spy across the street sound. A bit jazzy. Very nice song poorly recorded.

The Hypnomen - Shalamar dotdotdot
Bazaar (Instrumental)

Oozing an eerie and exotic backtrack, this smooth fuzz lead number straddles the fence between the east and west with a kind of ambivalence that blurs the line. Its bazaar imagery and western intensity are an interesting blend.

The Invisible Surfers - Malaguena dotdotdotdot
Rock Surf (Instrumental)

This is a gruff cover of Ernesto Lecuona's "Malaguena," with the arrangement based on the Trashmen's surf classic, but with thoroughly modern tone. I think this works really well, with the darkness juxtaposed to the fluid beauty of the melody line. Very cool!

The Langhorns - Aspiración dotdotdotdot
Verandah Surf (Instrumental)

Tropical verandah afternoons, like a Mexican bandit version of the sort of image that the Aqua Velvets are so good at creating. It swims with smoothness, and drips suave wink and a nod señoritas via the percussion and sultry horn. Quite refreshing.

Longboard Ranch - Reef Shadows dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a soft and suave instro projecting the soft light of dusk on a rippling lagoon as viewed from the sands of a black sand beach. Quite pretty.

The Manatees - Thunderbirds Theme dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The "Thunderbirds Theme" is taken away from its usual Shadows arrangement into a surfable place where spies and vacations merge. Very tasteful.

Messer Chups - Agent Tremolo dotdotdot
Sci-Fi Surf (Instrumental)

A little flippant sound effects open "Agent Tremolo," a song based on a very simple circulating riff. The electro-noise and keyboards are very cheesy, adding to the sorta sci-fi thriller imagery.

The Metalunas - Celluloid Planetoid dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Magnificent surf, accented with warm whammy. The double picked lines are dribbling perfect. Infectious and too fun.

The Moon-Rays - El Toro Gano dotdotdotdotdot
Horror Surf (Instrumental)

Nearly mandolin guitar lines launch into this stunning tango de toro. Very surfable, reverent of romantic Spanish songs, born of Ernesto Lecuona, sifted through surf, and then perfected some more. A splendid song with no gimmicks, no tricks, just exquisite playing, arranging, and writing.

The Pastel Six - Bandido dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This was the B-side to "Cinnamon Cinder," and has long been a fave of mine among the quirkier stranger instros I like. It's great to finally hear this is stereo and cleanly captured. It is am R&B club number with enough surf edge to make the cut. It slithers and slides through your singles disco of the sixties dreams. Sly Stone could have done this when he first started playing live in '65 at the Bay Area theme clubs. It is tribal and primal. Cool, cult hit of tomorrow.

The Phantom Surfers - Istanbul dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A great rendition. The arrangement is almost verbatim from the Renegades Midwest version.

Los Plantronics - Voodoo Astronaut dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Rising space tweaks and menacing whammy chords introduce a riff rocker with a relatively uninteresting riff. Very edgy, but not memorable.

Los Plantronics - Evil Tiki dotdotdot
Fuzz Surf (Instrumental)

A Theremin weirdness sample and creaking door precede this riff rocker. As loud and intense as most here, but less melodic. No less powerful, however, and the sort of thing a grin restrained is required for. The percussion and circulating (active-panned) guitar chops of the bridge are very cool, as is the break.

Link Protrudi and the Jaymen - Chaquita dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This non-CD track rules with rhythm and power (surprise surprise). No limits to the thick and awesome energy of this nearly fanatical raver. A fine melody line and spectacular energy, with lots of reverb magic.

Ray Daytona and Googoobombos - Area 51 dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Surf riffology dominates this low fidelity track. Plenty of fun energy and drum stompin' coolness, but the melody lines are just circular patterns for the most part. "Area 51" seems to work anyway. I liked it well enough.

Retrofoguetes - Roswell dotdotdotdotdot
Space Spy Surf (Instrumental)

"Roswell" is too cool. The almost silly lilt of the cowboy rhythm and tweaky sounds create a wild west sci-fi story that's hard not to grin at. Space, cowboys, surf, and youthful imagination abound. Totally fun!

The Reverberators - Paint It Bond dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a merger between John Barry's "James Bond" theme and the Rolling Stones' "Paint It Black." Samples from bond films meander through the track. It's an interesting merger.

The Sandals - Wild As The Sea dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a slow and familiar tune, with a wistfully breezy lilt to it, and an almost siesta imagery. It's not fast, but rather a romantic mid tempo number. Nice listening.

Slacktone - Tiki Bar Crawl dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Deceptive opening notes... yield to a tribal monster with a great melody and a totally infectious rhythm track. Power, play, excitement, and a little daring. Get's right to the heart of the salt air.

The Space Cossacks - The Apes Of Wrath dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With the low-E pummeling the title implies (imagine the Apemen angry), "The Apes Of Wrath" bowls you over from the get go... relentless shredding double picked guitar, powerful arranging, and mean. Intensely driven with flair and relentless energy.

Stereophonic Space Sound Unlimited - On The Road To Sicily dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Wah wah guitar, exotica inspired, and shimmering with loungy elements, "On The Road To Sicily" is a really nice track that's part MJQ and part tiki bar in space.

The String-A-Longs - Perfidia dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

The Ventures made this into a rock standard. The String-A-Longs return it to the land of fluff, with just the slightest hint of drive. It's like a prettier tribute to the Ventures. It's quite nice, just very restrained. You can almost see them in their chairs playing this tune, aching to rock, but remaining discrete.

The Supersonicos - Aloha Alien dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Aloha Alien" seems like it's underdeveloped, maybe even more an exercise than a song. That said, there are the rising chants of "whoa" and the echoed guitars. It's kind of a group chant like hip hop occasionally employs. Party fun!

The Supertones - Stranger In Paradise dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With a million versions of this out there, you'd think that it's all been done before. This is like you'd imagine the Ventures or Shadows would do. When the Ventures did it, they surfed it up. This is fluid and warm, with an original arrangement and floating whammy. Very nice.

The Surf Trio - Cocktails With Bond dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a very fresh way to treat the "James Bond Theme." It's sultry and sparkling, warm and twangy... and delivered at a gentle pace. Very cool.

The Surf Trio - Los Luchadors dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A slow and silky mood piece with a great melody and pristine imagery. This is a fine lagoon floater, rippling gently with the small waves of a protected bay. Mighty nice.

Susan and the SurfTones - Ghost Riders In The Sky dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Stan Jones' classic country song made into a household melody by the Ramrods gets another lease on life. The rich and authentic arrangement is like a tribal reinvention of the Ramrods' with the guitar carrying the lead and rhythm as well. A very nice cover.

The Swamp Coolers - Hawaii 5-0 dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a totally original and complete remake of Mort Shuman's TV theme. Liquid exotic-lounge opening barely lets you imagine the liquid vibrato to come. Once the lushness of the opening gives way to the main body, the silky reverb guitars deliver one fine rendition. The Swamp Coolers have made this their own!

3 Balls Of Fire - Baia dotdotdot
Country Jazz (Instrumental)

"Baia" is a bouncy and playful song with a jazzy underbelly and country grin. I'm not sure why the title, but that doesn't matter. It's simply enjoyable.

3 Balls of Fire - Beneath Mexican Stars dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Skimming the horizon like Mexicana Air® on its way to Mazatlan, "Beneath Mexican Stars" wafts softly in the tropical night with sweet scents of vanilla and cane.

Los Tiki Phantoms - Kilahuea dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Kilahuea" is a rocker with a rockabilly guitar tone and gutty rhythm. More a riff rocker than a surf song, but it does convey the urgency of shortboard thrashing. Midway, it borrows a classic muted surf rhythm and borrows a riff or two from the past. Quite fun.

The Torpedoes - Theme From "The Ipcress File" (A Man Alone) dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Like the title says, it's a nice cover of the main theme from the flick. It's chunky, funky, and edgy. Mid tempo, melodic, and unusual.

The Torquays - Sunset Cruise dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Duff Paulsen wrote this bouncy evening respite from a day on the waves. It has a playful party feel, a light hearted and catchy melody, and plenty of the requisite twang. The twin lead verse (one very low under the other) is very nifty.

The Tremolo Beer Gut - Evilvis dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Evilvis" relies on big chords ringing in the pompadour magic of aging greaser rock as seen through the eyes of a longboard exile. Dramatic, and a little deliberate, this track plods a bit until the pace picks up, where upon it rocks. The keys add a different color to the faster second half.

Los Twang! Marvels - Runaway From Zardoz dotdotdotdot
Eurosurf (Instrumental)

Galloping drums and a ska rhythm guitar run amok under a double picked melody line that leans heavily upon the Fender IV's "Malibu Run" while not being completely derivative. High spirits and excellent tone give "Runaway From Zardoz" a fresh face and great appeal.

Los Twang! Marvels - Brasil dotdotdotdot
Eurosurf (Instrumental)

Ary Barroso's wonderfully happy "Brazil" is done in a fanciful way with uplifting spirits and warm tone. The guitar swims in a panoramic wash of delay. Excellent!

Ben Vaughn - Kanaka's Shack dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The gong opens to vibes and bass and a wispy flute/whistle... short scene setter.

The Verbtones - Matador dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A flamenco guitar launches this extra cool song. It's very dramatic, very inviting, and sultry without being trite at all. Exotic places and distant sadness prevail, amplified by the distant chorus. Entirely cool.

Vibrasonic - Latin Vibrations dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Brilliantly melodic and surfy, with Vibrasonic's unique sense of reverb and psych. "Latin Vibrations" sports phase shifted glissandos and layered textures. I love this!

The Volcanos - The Last Wave dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Nicely played and pleasant listening. The energy from the speed is somehow restrained.