Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: The Ikon Records Storydotdotdotdot
artworkThis 2-CD compilation gathers a plethora of material from the Ikon vaults, a Sacramento studio that was used by many of the San Joaquin Valley bands in the early sixties, from the Marauders and The New Breed to the legendary Oxford Circle. there are some nice and previously uncomped surf tracks here. It's rated four stars in part because of the extensive liners and large volume of original Sacramento area gems.
Picks: Avanti! - Countdown, Too Much, The Bobbies - Orangutang, The Cautions - Surfer's Beach, Groovin', Checkmates Ltd. - Do It To Deff, Madd, Inc - Batman A Go Go, The Marauders - Intro-Surf Jam, The Nervous Kats - Surf Express, Simba, Chong

Track by Track Review


Avanti! - Countdown dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

As expected, a countdown precedes this R&B pumper. Sounding much more like Seattle or Merced in the early sixties, "Countdown" features infectious drumming liberally borrowed from Cozy Cole's "Topsy."

Avanti! - Too Much dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Reminiscent of many instros from the cauldron that was Seattle and Tacoma, "Too Much" is energetic and sax honked, but also features some double picked near-surf guitar lines. Very frat rockish.

The Bobbies - Orangutang dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Orangutang" is a primitive surf rocker with a light and slightly twisted sound that masks what was likely one hell of a frat surf blast live. The riff is very cool, and the bridges attractively uneasy. Nice track.

The Cautions - Surfer's Beach dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Moody guitar plays a melody that is virtually "El Torro" (which became "High Tide") as it was initially arranged by the Surf Men. It's a light and fluid number that sports a few tremolo chords for effect. Quite a nice track.

The Cautions - Groovin' dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Structured a bit like "What'd I Say" and "Surf Jam," this track is not unlike many a minor surf romp from the early days. It doesn't dominate, but it must have done well at dances, and it sports plenty of surf feel.

Checkmates Ltd. - Do It To Deff dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Inspired by Jesse Hill's "Ooh Poo Pah Doo," this is strictly an R&B groover on par with many of the tracks that graced the black airwaves in those days.

Madd, Inc - Batman A Go Go dotdotdot
Go-Go (Instrumental)

As the title suggest, this is go-go era instrumentalizations running atop a morphed version of the progression from Lowell Fullsom's "Tramp." High spirits, but way too jammy.

The Marauders - Intro-Surf Jam dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Sacramento's legendary The Marauders were a surfband before they were a totally great garage band. This rockin' cover of the Beach Boys' "Surf Jam" rips and charges. High spirits and great audience connection. It's quite easy to see how they got from here to garage monsters like "Wanted Dead Or Alive."

The Nervous Kats - Surf Express dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This obscuro is much more a Bo Diddley beat instro than surf, though the guitar tone is there. The energy is captured despite the session sounding like the band played quietly for the engineer. It's hard not to hear this in your mind's ear with the Fender Showman turned up to 11! Infectious and downright fun! These guys were from Redding, CA.

The Nervous Kats - Simba dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Great drum breaks and a nifty circulating riff make "Simba" hard to dislike despite being a very simple number. In many ways, it's the drums that make this, yet the rhythm guitar and melody are also very friendly. On the light side, but surely great fodder for an update at full volume.

The Nervous Kats - Chong dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Chong" is a simple number with a bit of a jammy feel, but that's not all it is. Great drums and a primal surf jam rhythm pulse with the lure of early sixties surf. Very cool!