Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA Collection: More Surf Legends [and Rumors]
|28 more wonderful vintage surf tracks on this, the sequel to the highly successful first volume. This time, there are fewer rarities, but enough to keep this on the major import CD list. Some tracks are from original masters for the first time, other are alternate mixes, and a few are previously unreleased. There is a mystery track out at the end. It's the wonderful "Cinnamon Cinder" from the Pastel Six, a song I used to love to hear on my radio late at night listening to KRLA. A grand single it was. No track number, it just comes up after track 28. Totally cool song.|
Picks: Baja, Bustin' Surfboards, Charge Of The Tornadoes, The Gremmie - Part I, Ticonderoga, Mr. Moto, Little Brown Jug (long version), Volcanic Action, Runaway, Fugitive, Double Barrel, Rendezvous Rods, Strange Ghost, Surfer Smooch, Bandido, It's Party Time, Tough Soul, One-Armed Bandit, Russian Roulette (Surfbound), Kopout, Migraine
Track by Track Review
"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!
"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.
Another cut at the "William Tell Overture," without a whimper of the silliness that usually accompanies such things. This is fast, furious, rhythmic, and mighty fun. Totally cool. The bugle calls added are too funny, even the roosters crowing make it happen.
Yet another version, not overdubbed with the waves, and the voicings are different from either of the other versions (single and album) or Part 2. Cool for sure.
A really nice slow surf instro, with a smooth melody. Lots of ringing notes and shallow whammy. It has similar character to "The Breeze And I," but only slightly. The performance is gentle and the effect is quite pleasing.
This is it, their claim to fame, their most familiar song, and the first surf release from May 1961 on Arvee Records. "Mr. Moto" is just about the most influential surf instro ever. "Mr. Moto" came to be a surf classic, and was recorded and released months before Dick Dale's "Let's Go Trippin'," before he opened the Rendezvous Ballroom, and before it was called surf. If you must draw a line in the sand, it must be drawn here. "Mr. Moto" was recorded at Liberty.
Covered by countless others, this song features 15 year olds Paul Johnson and Eddie Bertrand trading guitar parts in their trademark style on a prototypical PJ writing masterpiece. Jim Roberts' piano work is stunningly perfect for this song. A historical absolutely must have!
Little Brown Jug (long version)
This was the B-side to "Mr. Moto." It shows the rhythmic nature of Paul and Eddie's synergy, and their penchant for familiar childhood tunes reconstructed to fit their need. ItŐs easily the best version of this tune around. Recorded at Liberty, this is the original unedited version, without the removal of the botched line from Paul.
A Richard Delvy produced track, with plenty of energy and urgency. A strong melody, and mean sound. A primal surf tune from an essential band that was there at the very beginning.
This is a Chas Stuart lead number, and is intense, if not particularly interesting. It's rhythmic and moody. It's a cover of Del Shannon's hit.
A very rare track, instrumental, but hardly surf. Piano and sax are the central instruments, and the structure is more fifties rock / R&B than anything else. Also, not particularly great.
R&B Surf (Instrumental)
A previously unreleased instrumental. Guitar and sax are the central instruments, and the structure is fifties rock / R&B, with occasional surf guitar tones.
Club Surf (Instrumental)
Hinting of the Hollywood discos they would feature in with dance numbers and their lone hit Cinnamon Cider (also the name of the club they were a fixture at). Basic, ok, not great, and not at all surfy. The horns owed a lot to Chuck Rio's version of Mariachi. Introduced by Daws Butler, this is a sassy number employingshort busrt sax notes to create a quirky but fun tune. Again, the keyword is fun with the Pastel Six. In many ways, this is more like a Rumblers tune than the Pastel Six.
Strange is right. Organ based, honky sax, quirky melody. It should be a post-modern lounge hit. It also has a similar sense to the Preps' "Moon Racers" were it morphed to keys and sax. Ominous and cool.
Super slow surf guitar mood piece for the mating game. Pretty, nice, pleasant, and enjoyable. Previously unreleased.
This was the B-side to "Cinnamon Cinder," and has long been a fave of mine among the quirkier stranger instros I like. It's great to finally hear this is stereo and cleanly captured. It is am R&B club number with enough surf edge to make the cut. It slithers and slides through your singles disco of the sixties dreams. Sly Stone could have done this when he first started playing live in '65 at the Bay Area theme clubs. It is tribal and primal. Cool, cult hit of tomorrow.
Alcohol Drenched Rock (Instrumental)
Frat house R&B party rock. Nothing special.
Alcohol Drenched Rock (Instrumental)
Stereo version of the tune so many bands recorded back then. It lies somewhere between the Pachuko Soul trend and the Central Coast R&B surf thing.
With R&B underpinnings, and a soft spoken kind of happy soul, "One-Armed Bandit" rolls a long with cool sax injections and a simple and pleasing guitar line. Nice track.
Russian Roulette (Surfbound)
This is another cool single from the Hustlers. It is quite close to a club track, rather than a surf track, but it has a cool hook to it. Not melodic, but low-down interesting.
Sax Plucky Guitar (Instrumental)
Sax driven tune with a plucky rhythm guitar. The melody is not good, little more than a progression. That said, after many years, it's still a very cool little track with great drums and catchy pickin'.