Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: The History Of Surf Music Volume 1 Original Instrumental Hits 1961 - 1963dotdotdotdotdot
artworkThe first of Rhino Records' three volume series from 1982 set the groundwork for their amazing Surf Box three CD set. Surf Raider Bob Dalley compiled the series along with Rhino dudes Richard Foos and Harold Robinson. Annotation is from Dalley. Volume one collects a cross section of "Original Instrumental Hits 1961 - 1963." An excellent introduction to the vintage genre.
Picks: Miserlou, Pipeline, Mr. Moto, Bangalore, Penetration, Goofy Foot, Bombora, Surf Beat, Out Of Control, Mr. Rebel, Sunset Beach, Chiflado, K-39, Wipe Out

Track by Track Review


Miserlou dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The introductory note of Miserlou is somehow bigger than life. Dick's machine gun staccato is perfect. This is Dick Dale's biggest Del-tone singles, the incredibly archetypal "Miserlou" featured so prominently in Pulp Fiction. No comprehensive Surf collection should even be conceived without this song. This IS the sound of primal surf, the source of the idea of really LOUD guitar leads. It's reported that the arrangement was developed after Dick saw Johnny Barakat do it this way.

Pipeline dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is it. This track defined surf. It is the archetype! Paul Johnson once told me that when first heard this tune on his car radio, he said Whoa! Wha-at is THAT?, and pulled over to the side of the road to listen. The Chantays defined the classic surf line up, 2 guitars, piano, bass, and drums. Glorious first use of glissandoes, first rhythm guitar dominance in the mix, and just plain essential.

Mr. Moto dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is it, their claim to fame, their most familiar song, and the first surf release from May 1961 on Arvee Records. "Mr. Moto" is just about the most influential surf instro ever. "Mr. Moto" came to be a surf classic, and was recorded and released months before Dick Dale's "Let's Go Trippin'," before he opened the Rendezvous Ballroom, and before it was called surf. If you must draw a line in the sand, it must be drawn here. "Mr. Moto" was recorded at Liberty.

Covered by countless others, this song features 15 year olds Paul Johnson and Eddie Bertrand trading guitar parts in their trademark style on a prototypical PJ writing masterpiece. Jim Roberts' piano work is stunningly perfect for this song. A historical absolutely must have!

Bangalore dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a MONSTER track! The Blazers were one hell of a surf band. The guitar tones are piercingly powerful, and the rippin' double pickin' is a sound to behold. It is melodic, hot, infectious, and among the best twenty vintage surf instros. Why it wasn't a hit, I'll never know. Totally great!

Penetration dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

One of a handful of nationally successful surf single, this track has been covered more than "Miserlou," and in more varieties of rock styles. If you don't own this track, you have entered the surf idiom yet. This is one of the essential classics. The production is unusual and masterful, and the melody is simple and enduring. It spawned hundreds of covers, and is still quite infectious.

Goofy Foot dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A high power track is an essential part of any vintage surf collection. This is just about the best Lively Ones track ever! Fast, powerful, high energy, ripping good guitar work, ample changes. Stunning! It's been covered, but never matched.

Bombora dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Original Surfaris' "Bombora" is one of the great surf pounders, with it's heavy tom tom action and low-E lead growling away. A great and essential track.

Surf Beat dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Demonstrating the power of CHUNK in surf, "Surf Beat" lent it's name to the genre, and clearly is a standard. A great performance captured live at the Rendezvous Ballroom and issued in 1962. This is the embodiment of rhythm based surf chunk.

If you want to play the chords right, when the lead and rhythm both play together, the rhythm guitar would "push" the chord downward, while the lead must "pull" the chord upward - remember, Dick Dale played left handed and used a right handed guitar upside down without restringing. That meant when he pushed the chord, it was the same as pulling it. I verified this with Dick personally in '88, so there ya go.

Out Of Control dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Flying evil double picked guitar from Al Nichol slaughters a couple of notes and a grinding chord progression. This bruiser invokes dreaded images of immense storm surf, choppy and all hashed out. High powered and high energy. A blazer.

Mr. Rebel dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Eddie and the Showmen's third single was a tribute to KRLA DJ Reb Foster, who also owned the Revelaire Club, where Eddie Bertrand found themselves to be the house band for a while. This is one of the great surf singles, sporting a totally infectious and optimistic melody and beat.

Sunset Beach dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

I like this most Polynesian of all Sentinals the best, and it's enduring power is testified to by the incredibly infectious ska arrangement that the Surf Piranhas did in the early eighties in Paris, as well as the Category 5 version from 1995 in Florida. This track is both "Little Grass Shack" fun and energetically infectious. A great track!

Chiflado dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Tom (aka Thom) Starr idolized Paul Johnson's Belairs. His band the Galaxies were a carbon copy. When Tom finally left the band, Paul took over. He told me once that it was "spooky" to plat with a band that already knew exactly what he wanted all the time. Here, Tom Starr & the Galaxies do a Paul Johnson song called "Chiflado," which loosely translates (according to Paul) as "some kinda nut." It's rhythmic and infectious, and much the way Paul played it. Excellent second echelon surf band.

K-39 dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"K-39" is one of the best late Surf tracks. It is named after a Surf spot 39 kilometers south of the California-Mexico border. Hal Blaine's drumming is exquisite, and the melody is great. This is a true Surf classic, melodic, powerful, double picked joy!

Wipe Out dotdotdotdot
TV Surf (Instrumental)

"Wipe Out" is simply the definitive drummer's badge of courage. If he can do a decent "Wipe Out," he's hired. Simple, and written and recorded in just minutes, this is an international classic that has sold multimillions of copies, and still does every year worldwide.