Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Oldies, Goodies and Woodiesdotdotdot
artworkThis extremely rare album is mostly illusive all these years out. There is nothing really essential here, except for its legendary status.
Picks: Bruno and the Gladiators - Istanbul, Thom Starr and the Galaxies - Runaway, Tom Starr and the Galaxies - Chiflado, The Vibrants - Wildfire, Scorpion

Track by Track Review

Istanbul dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a paradoxical rendering of the classic "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)." Paradoxical because the pumped up energy and surf guitar rock hard, while the console organ is just too mall rat cheesy. High energy and an infectious beat, with no shortage of charm.

Limbo Rock dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

It's easy to see why this version of "Limbo Rock" wasn't issued as a single. Aside from the delicate surf guitar, Bruno and the Gladiators really missed the mark here.

Diamonds dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a fairly uninspired version of Jerry Lordan's "Diamonds," recorded so spectacularly by Jet Harris and Tony Meehan. This is a strait copy aimed and replication, but it just isn't as good. Are The Busy Bodies really The Challengers?

Foot Tapper dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A decent cover of The Shadows' "Foot Tapper" with a dry straight sound. Nicely played, but less interesting than either the original or The Challengers' cover.

Spanish Harlem dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a lesser, non album track from The Challengers. The Spanish horns add flavor, and Jim Roberts' piano really holds it together.

Man Of Mystery dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This Shadows tune was issued on the Vault compilation "Oldies, Goodies and Woodies," which also contained Manuel and the Renegades. Not only did they cover the Shadows, but they also were more poppy than their contemporaries. This is a solid cover.

Runaway dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Great piano, soft South Bay sax, and a generally Belairs sound, while not intensely cool, does really point out the worship that Thom Starr had for Paul Johnson's band. This is a rare track from a band that one might label the first tribute band!

Chiflado dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Tom (aka Thom) Starr idolized Paul Johnson's Belairs. His band the Galaxies were a carbon copy. When Tom finally left the band, Paul took over. He told me once that it was "spooky" to plat with a band that already knew exactly what he wanted all the time. Here, Tom Starr & the Galaxies do a Paul Johnson song called "Chiflado," which loosely translates (according to Paul) as "some kinda nut." It's rhythmic and infectious, and much the way Paul played it. Excellent second echelon surf band.

Wildfire dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This single was the B-side of "Scorpion." The guitar string bending gives it a demented tone, almost as weird as the Pastel Six's "Bandito," but much richer and lower, and faster too. Quite a nice track.

Scorpion dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Listed as "Goofy Foot", this is actually called "Scorpion," this was issued as the a-side of a single. This is one of the great legendary bands of the old school, who's name I used to hear on ads for surf dances on KFWB and KRLA. This is a throaty Ventures kinda thing, rhythmic and churning. It has a decided surf feel, with an unusual melody and structure. Great track. The melody line is very close to "Super Jet Rumble." This was a single.