Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Lost Legends Of Surf Guitar 2dotdotdotdotdot
artworkVolume two of this essential series blast out with more rare and previously unreleased surf instrumnetals from the sixties. Most notable here are the two David Marks and the Marksmen tracks, and the two cuts from the "lost" Surfaris for-Dot sessions, and the first appearnace from tape sources of the amazing "Banzai Washout" by the Catalinas.
Picks: The Sheriff Of Noddingham, Fugitive, Jack The Ripper, Bongo Shutdown, Point Panic, Burnin' Rubber, Stick Shift, Shootin' Beavers, Travelin', Boss Machine, Moondawg, Latin'ia, Ram Charger, Walk, Don't Run, Midnight Surfer, The Gremmie - Part I, Chicky Run, Yep, Banzai Washout, Devil Surfer

Track by Track Review


The Sheriff Of Noddingham dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

David Marks called this his "cheap imitation of Dick Dale." Firebrand double picked peon to the King of the Surf Guitar. Lot's of fast picking, but little melody. It's pretty fun and spunky. "The Sheriff Of Noddingham" is first released on the Sindazed label, but it's been bootlegged before.

Fugitive dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Among Jan Davis' best singles, "Fugitive" is more surf and fluid than just about any version of this song from sixties. Tight, with great drums, and exceptionally good guitar licks for a studio session, this track merits more than a casual listen.

Jack The Ripper dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A little background will help place this track. After "Surfer Joe" c/w "Wipe Out" began to get significant airplay, the Surfaris were approached by Richard Delvy, who wanted to distribute the record. Delvy had been an original member of the Belairs and founded the Challengers. The original DFS single was reissued on Delvy's Princess label. With more and more airplay, he was able to get a deal for the single with Dot, and that led to an opportunity to do an album.

So the story goes, Delvy gave the band a list of songs to record and scheduled studio time. The Surfaris went into Pal in early '63 and cut a dozen or so tracks with Paul Buff. When the album came out, the boys were more than a little ticked off. The songs were songs they cut, but it wasn't them, except for their two single sides. As it turned out, it was the Challengers, Delvy's band. It was not uncommon then and now for that matter) for labels to employ studio musicians to replace band members they didn't think were competent, or as a way to reduce their expenses. But this was really a blow. Legal wrangling and three successive changes to credits and artwork later, and the Surfaris got out of their contract and signed with Decca.

The disposition of the Surfaris' recordings from those sessions remained a mystery until now. For the shear historical value, this track and "Yep" are priceless finds. With that as a backdrop, here's what it sounds like:

The arrangement of "Jack The Ripper" is much like that on their first Decca album. There's plenty of genuine surf going on here. The performance is restrained, and it's easy to hear why it wasn't issued, yet it's so honest and real that its charm alone carries the day. The introduction is a silly Ron Wilson laugh and a scream, which were not adjacent on the original session tape, according to John Blair, so I'm guessing Sundazed placed them together as was the original intent.

More formative, but with all the essential elements. The presence of prominent Fender reverb the lead guitar places it after the first sessions. Their style here also is clearly the same as they used during most of their tenure with Decca. So, 5 stars for historical value, 3 for performance, and an average of 4 stars.

Bongo Shutdown dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a cool surf reverbed Preston Epps like track, with some similarities to their "Surfin' Dance." Big twang and dribbling surf, and excellent exotica percussion and piano. Not at all melodic, yet this is prime material for your next luau.

Point Panic dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Given the energy of the Surfaris' original, this is pretty tame. Given the other tracks here, this is pretty hot. The performance pace seems just slightly faster than Jerry could really play, giving that rushed feeling.

Burnin' Rubber dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Screaming dragsters and spirited surf guitar work with a melodic main riff and strong performances, together as is seldom heard in studio projects. The double picked bass is a very cool touch, but the organ is out of place. Cool track.

Stick Shift dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Duals had a hit with this track. It was a fave among surf fans, even though it was not a surf song. What the Bellamy brothers lacked in surf attitude and sound is squarely implanted by the Trashmen. There's no doubt here that this is a perfect surf pounder. A melodic progression based tune with hot rod motors and delightful damped reverb lead lines. Previously unreleased from the November Kay Bank sessions. Totally cool.

Shootin' Beavers dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Spunky surf R&B fun jammin', like a honkin' sax party anthem with guitar domination. Perfect for a frat party.

Travelin' dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a mid tempo instro with a travelin' feel (just like the title says). It's moderately interesting, with a pleasing riff. David Marks' guitar wouldn't stay in tune. Like the other track, it's noted as previously unreleased. "Travelin'" has not been bootlegged as far as I know.

Boss Machine dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Boss Machine" opens with draggin' engines, and moves right into a simple hot rod/surf riff rocker with reverb and splash, and a few tuff glissandoes. More jammy than a song, but still pretty cool.

Moondawg dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a pretty strong rendition of the Gamblers' 1960 single. The damped reverb rhythm and the ultra twang lead are really cool here. It doesn't break any ground, but it definitely pleases. Dig the rhythm.

Latin'ia dotdotdotdotdot
Jazz Surf (Instrumental)

This is the next best thing to Tommy Nunes' original, and totally different. It's glorious jazz chords and tones make it ever so exotic. Thgis just may be the most original cover, and it sure rates a billion stars. Completely enchanting!

Ram Charger dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The overpowering organ here detracts from the surf guitar. A little lower in the mix would have fixed it. Melodic and chunky. This is the same song as the Venturas recorded, though they titled it with a dash ("Ram-Charger"). I don't know which is the original.

Walk, Don't Run dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A previously unreleased reverby outtake from the November 1963 sessions at Kay Bank. Excellent surf, tight Ventures tribute, and infectious energy. Way cool.

Midnight Surfer dotdotdot
Studio Surf (Instrumental)

It's OK, but the generic surf standard thievery and the mediocre performance don't pull much weight. It's mostly a studio jam, not well thought out. Musta been written during a coffee break. It has that "let's put a glissando here, and a whammy there" feel to it.

The Gremmie - Part I dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the album version, with it's different voice overdubs from the single. This is a fine track, and necessary for any historical journey into the vintage era. It's chunky, rhythmic, and employs that simple "Surf Beat" style progression that works well in surf, but almost nowhere else. Quite tasty. This is the album version, not the single part one.

Chicky Run dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A mighty infectious hot rod song with a "Thunder Road" mentality with nice lead work. Grumbly and mean, with an infectious bounce and almost ska rhythm. Not surf as you might expect it, but charging open road adventure music. Fun.

Yep dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the other track culled from the "lost" Dot sessions. It's a tame rendition of a Duane Eddy song. Not lackluster exactly, but pretty pedestrian. Great reverb and adolescent surf fun.

Banzai Washout dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Steve Douglas wrote this classic and plays the raging sax. Dick Dale later covered it. The melody is hot, the rhythm is driving, the drums inspired, and the whole thing rocks. The brilliant ringing tones and the speed are marvelous. One of the great singles. Billy Strange played the fiery lead.

Devil Surfer dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This rare single featured early work by future Walker Brothers guitarist Scott Engel. It's more like a sped up Monarchs than pure surf, but it's infectious and punctuated with the best Devil's laugh on a surf disc. It's rhythmic and mighty cool.