Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Lost Legends Of Surf Guitar 1dotdotdotdotdot
artworkWhere the Rhino surf box Cowabunga grazed the high grass, this amazing set of gnarly tracks goes deep into the vaults to mine some incredible gems. Top of my pick list is Dave Myers and the Surftones last surf instro "Gear." So many fine tracks from the original masters! This and its companion volumes are must-have.
Picks: El Gato, Loophole, Big Noise From Waimea, Gear, The Breeze and I, Failsafe, Jetster, The Rising Surf, Contact, Surf's Up, Cemetery Stomp, The Jester, Repeating, Pressure, Ian Flemming Theme, Pray For Surf, Point Surf, Ishamatsu, Exotic, Beyond The Surf

Track by Track Review


El Gato dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"El Gato" is a track John Blair sent me on cassette years ago, and it ranks as one of my favorite obscuros, at least as far as moderate tempo numbers are concerned. It's not exactly double picked, but it is a very infectious low note tune based on a unique riff. It makes you wanna drive the open road on a hot day with the top down on your '67 Camaro. Originally issued in 1963.

Loophole dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This exceptionally infectious surf track is way happy, and just shines with shallow string bending and slight reverb. This has appeared on several comps over the past few years. Mighty fine listening. The original release was on Challenge in 1964.

Big Noise From Waimea dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a great obscuro, with big tribal drums and guitar a la the Surfaris' Mystic Island Drums, only a whole lot more. Deep throated and massive! Previously unreleased from 1963.

Gear dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is my favorite Dave Myers and the Surftones track. It's unusual drum cadence and melody are brilliant and infectious, and this recording shows just how powerful really good meter is in a double picked guitar. Dick Dale says it is among the most important elements. The precision of the meter allows Dave to play slow dribbly glissandoes that are simply gorgeous. A must-have track from 1963 on Wickwire.

The Breeze and I dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Heavy duty surf sound here. The tune is the other Ernesto Lacuona tune (the first being "Malaguena") done by many of the surf bands, including Jim Messina and the Jesters. This is really heavy gage E-string work, with wild mariachi horns and a ton of fire. A totally infectious and cool release from 1963 on Best.

Failsafe dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a very cool cover of the New Dimensions' infectious "Failsafe." Great damped reverb and piano, with pumpin' bass and surf everywhere. More dramatic and more liquid. This is a previously unreleased track from 1963.

Jetster dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Chandelles take a riff of simple character, mess with with enough variation to prevent boredom, and end up creating a very cool surf groover. Original issue on Dot in 1963.

The Rising Surf dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Primitive surf with pumping one-chord piano and thumpy bass. Richard Podolor's glorious song is radically rearranged. In this arrangement, the similarities to "The Wedge" become obvious. This is a garagy surf instro with muddy sound. Previously unreleased from 1963.

Contact dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the B side of "Pressure," and was not on their album. As with the flip side, it is a very cool rhythmic and infectious track.

Surf's Up dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a chord driven thing, with standard jam riffs from the R&B arena, plus Chuck Berryisms, and touches of "Let's Go Trippin'." A rockin' party anthem.

Cemetery Stomp dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The thirties black and white wind howls, the woman screams, the organ wails with "that cemetery riff," and then the Essex play an organ frat rocker which eventually brings on surf guitar. "Cemetery Stomp" is pretty riffy, but its lack of restraint are pure surf. Originally released in 1963 on Best.

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. This is a previously unreleased take from 1963.

Repeating dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A soft spoken riff barely developed beyond frat jam, but with just enough hook in the break to keep it afloat, and a delicate surf sound. No where near as cool as "Loophole." The original issue was on Challenge in 1964.

Pressure dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Pressure" was one of the Pyramids follow-up singles to "Penetration," and did not appear on their album. Totally infectious, a collector's must have, and a surf fan's delight.

Ian Flemming Theme
Spy (Instrumental)

In homage to James Bond, the Menn play a surfable spy melody with a "Shot In The Dark" feel and distortion guitar. I have no idea who the Menn were, but this is a cool side trip off the highway of surf. Originally issued on Two+Two in 1964.

Pray For Surf dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Vibrato guitar plays the riff a bar ahead of the sax while and plinky piano harkens back to the fifties stroll. Spooky and moody, "Pray For Surf" is an obscure but tasty find. Original release on Best in 1963.

Point Surf dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This previously unreleased 1963 track from the Surf Teens is grodie and murky, like many a small studio reverberators of the day. More a jam than a song, yet quite satisfying. The riff is derivative of "Wipe Out."

Ishamatsu dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The dark reverb drenched grodiness of the Centurions continues on this angry rage. "Ishamatsu" is a solid vibrato reverb wash of mean and gloomy surf. The Centurions were unique among the surfbands in their sound, which was centered on a very low-E surf guitar that rivaled Jet Harris' amazing Fender VI six-string bass leads for evil. Previously unreleased from 1963.

Exotic dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The intro is the same shout-out as the Dave Myers and the Surftones track opens with. From there, the legendary Original Surfaris romp into their dark and heavy surf attack on this fine performance. "Exotic" is one of the great surf instros, originally cut by the Sentinals and/or the Rhythm Kings. Great track, previously unreleased from 1963.!

Beyond The Surf dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Tandems play a pretty surf instro with piano lead that's almost Ferrante and Teicher sounding. Moody and of film score quality, "Beyond The Surf" is a great track with a rich arrangement and whistleable melody. Previously unreleased from 1963.