Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Legends Of Guitar, Vol. 5 Surfdotdotdotdotdot
artworkGuitar Player Magazine and Rhino Records conspired to produce a five volume series of influential guitar tracks. This is the surf volume, and if there's a great cross section of classic surf, this is it! Nuff said.
Picks: A Run For Life, Surf Rider, Beyond, Latin'ia, Baja, Squad Car, Tidal Wave, Tally Ho, Diamond Head, Soul Surfer, Bombora, The Jester, Gypsy Surfer, Our Favorite Martian, Bustin' Surfboards, Point Panic, Mar Gaya, Fiberglass Jungle

Track by Track Review


A Run For Life dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The early Del-tone single version of the song that became "The Wedge," with the Del-tones as the band, and with Dick playing trumpet leads. It's way hokey at times, and gives you a clear glimpse at the difference between the history and sound surf music as you know it and the "world according to Dick Dale."

Surf Rider dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is what happens when a real surfband covers a Nokie Edwards (Ventures) tune that had no relation to surf as written. In fact, it started life as a Potato concept song called "Spudnik." This is the grand and beautiful song that runs under the ending credits of Pulp Fiction. This is the full length version, not the single edit.

Beyond dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Some have raved about this track, but the production is like "Move It," and just as hard to listen to. It's a "Pipeline" clone, though it is probably the second best track on their second album.

Latin'ia dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Easily one of the most beautiful Latin surf instros ever recorded. Tommy Nunes' writing and guitar wizardry were unsurpassed. I'd sure like to hear what he's doing now. This song shimmers. It's been on my top ten surf instro list for 33 years.

Baja dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Baja" displays power of their trademark three guitar line up, and shows what a few weeks at RCA Hollywood could do. Actually, having said that, I'd really like to remix this. The lead guitar is too loud in the mix. Anyway, if there's a list of the ten most significant surf singles, this must be on it. Hazelwood had a knack for melody, and the Astronauts had a knack for the sound, and together, look out!

Squad Car dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is THEE Eddie & the Showmen song, and their second single. Written by Paul Johnson, it totally shreds. The best news is it finally appears in stereo.

Tidal Wave dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

An Eddie Bertrand tune from his days with the Belairs. It has energy, and some edge. It is quite like the Belairs would do it. Mostly a simple progression with tinkly piano and stinging guitar solos. Cool.

Tally Ho dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This classic rhythm dominated Paul Johnson tune is played with ringing tone and a sense of timing that only Paul had, a magical connection between the lead and rhythm guitars that created a synergy, and placed their importance on par with each other, each diminishing the power of the other in their absence. Excellent playing, and infectious butt-moving rhythms. This take is equally interesting than Paul's 1980 session with his band the Packards.

Diamond Head dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Danny Hamilton's classic instro, and among the very few surf singles the Ventures issued. Classic.

Soul Surfer dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is one of those magical tracks that stands alone soundwise. "Soul Surfer" was written in the back seat of the car on the way to the studio. An afterthought of sorts, it became a classic in it's own time, being covered by contemporary bands. Johnny Fortune's melodic sense, combined with some flamenco and jazz influences to create a wholly unique sound. Highly melodic and magnetically rhythmic.

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.

The Jester dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is just about as powerful and fast as surf gets, spitting notes out like machine gun bullets. The melody is a fine infectious bit of writing. This high powered track is just about the best Jim Messina writing ever. Nearly every cover IÕve heard has paled to this and the Thimble version.

Gypsy Surfer dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a chilling track. The surf rhythm guitar is harsh, the lead shimmers with vibrato, and the sound is both thin and effective. Great infectious classic obscure surf with a hauntingly magnetic sound. The organ break is different from other discs of the day.

Our Favorite Martian dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Bobby Fuller played some of the best surf instros on the gentler side of the track. This recording is essential to any surf collection. It begins with a slowed reverb kick, and moves right into one of the most recognizable of the more obscure instros. The structure and sound are perfectly surf, and the energy and style are exquisite.

Bustin' Surfboards dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Bustin' Surfboards" is one of the most recognizable of the tribal surf instros from the sixties. It's drum dominated raw sound was nothing short of magical when I first heard it on KRLA. This is one of the essential surf instros, a desert island must-have.

Point Panic dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A-side of the follow up single to "Wipe Out." Great intro scream and tom toms. The fire in the bones of the band is clear here. High spirited, chunky, and rhythmic. Grand power glissandoes, and those wonderful Ron Wilson drums. Jim Pash's sax is most appropriate. Not often covered, but a really good tune.

Mar Gaya dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Mar Gaya" is such a monster. Huge ominous sounding tune with a minimalist melody on the low-E that thunders across the aural horizon. Randy Holden is a genius! Must have essential surf. Simply the darkest surf single of 1965. Holden says that the inspiration for this masterpiece was Dick Dale's "The Victor," and you can hear it in the relentlessness of the hypnotic thunder, but "Mar Gaya" is infinitely larger.

Fiberglass Jungle dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A gentle wave rippling at the shore chord opens to a totally ominous low-E grinder, with evil sax from the twins Kaplan-Volman a.k.a. Flo and Eddie, thundering bass from Chuck Portz, rhythmic tribal drums from Don Murray, and utterly incredible Al Nichol guitar work. This is a must-have surf MONSTER!