Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Lost Legends Of Surf Guitardotdotdotdot
artworkLots of great tracks here, some more familiar than others. This is the vinyl version of the CD series... what's not to like!
Picks: The Catalinas - Banzai Washout, The Centurions - Ishamatsu, Jerry Cole and his Spacemen - Point Panic, Jan Davis - Fugitive, The Ebb Tides - Big Noise From Waimea, Scott Engel - Devil Surfer, The Essex - Pray For Surf, The Jesters - The Jester, The Menn - Ian Flemming Theme, Gene Moles and the Softwinds - Burnin' Rubber, Dave Myers and the Surftones - Gear, The Original Surfaris - Failsafe, Surf's Up, Exotic, The Pyramids - Contact, Pressure, The Rhythm Rockers - Moondawg, The Royal Coachmen - Loophole, Repeating, Steve and the Emperors - The Breeze and I, The Surfaris - Jack The Ripper, The Tandems - The Rising Surf, Beyond The Surf, The Hollywood Tornadoes - Shootin' Beavers, The Trashmen - Walk, Don't Run, Zorba and the Greeks - Shockwave

Track by Track Review


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. This was originally issued as "El Diablo."

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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 glissandos that are simply gorgeous. A must-have track from 1963 on Wickwire.

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.

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.

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.!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Jack The Ripper dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

An unusual and highly listenable version of Link Wray's classic. It's not ominous, but it moves well and is quite enjoyable. It sports an almost funky soulful groove, a haunting sway that captivates.

Point Surf dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This previously unreleased 1963 track from the Surf Teens is grode 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."

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 1962.

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 1962.

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.

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.

Shockwave dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a cool tune. The organ comes in notably late in it's first note, but the extended reverb kicks are too cool, and the reverb lead is quite nice. The melody is friendly and fun. This tune is infectious and seems to stay with you. It stands up to multiple listenings. The label was Golden State Recorders, a San Francisco based label run by the legendary Leo de gar Kulka. I don't know if they were locals or just came to the city to record.