Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Pulp Surfin'dotdotdot
artworkDel-Fi has reissued the CD that was released in LA, then quickly recalled because the rap song on it sucked so bad! Bob Keene isn't known for paying attention, but his value as a label owner pumping out surf makes that OK. This comp has some strange bed fellows on it. There's a sampling of Del-Fi vault material that is all available elsewhere on CD, and generally not the band's best stuff, though cool, non-the-less. The new stuff is generally just average, except for the naturally stellar Insect Surfers track. Completists will want it, and newcomers will think they struck gold (till they look around a little harder). Included is an ancient vocal from Mr. Guy (Frank Zappa) called "Letter From Jeepers", Young Jacques' "Jacques Cousteau", and Eden Ahbez' (the original exotica beat poet) "Full Moon." If ever there was such a thing as sincere exotica beat poetry, Ahbez did it. The Pulp Fiction parody artwork is priceless.
Picks: Pipeline, Fort Lauderdale, Pintor, Ultimate Wave, Nite Prowler, In My Moondreams, Bengazi, Penetration, Monte Carlo Nights, The Lonely Dragster (Wolfman Bed), Surfer Girl, Rumble, A Shot In The Dark, Intoxica, Miserlou

Track by Track Review

Pipeline dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Probably the best period cover of the Chantays' surf archetype. The dribbling glissando opener is stunningly effective, and the whole track reeks power and speed. A totally great track.

Fort Lauderdale dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Among the Impacts better tracks. Their recordings were ok, but not great. They canŐt be counted among the seminal bands, but their album was good.

Pintor dotdotdotdot
Spanish Surf (Instrumental)

The Pharos are a total mystery. No one seems to know who they were. A few quirky tracks exist, "Pintor" among them. It's a rare, pleasant listening, Latin surf track. It has a certain quaintness, an infectious melody, and well placed whammies. Their other tracks are on various Del-Fi compilations and elsewhere.

Ultimate Wave dotdotdot
Cowboy Surf (Instrumental)

This instro features cowboy glissandoes, a pleasant enough melody, nice textures, and the like. It just doesn't have much of what I'd call surf. It is mostly a progression repeatedly used, and has a big rock band kinda sound, not particularly interesting or memorable. As a country-ish instro, it fares better, but doesn't hold up to the likes of Buck Owens or Lonnie Mack. Mid tempo, relatively lazy delivery. Precise and well played. I did enjoy listening, just couldn't get excited.

Nite Prowler dotdotdot
Hot Rod (Instrumental)

This is quite dry, and the guitar tones are insensitive to the arrangement. The performance is technically good and emotionless, almost empty. It's worth a spin or two, but you'll forget it pretty quickly. Too much of a jam.

In My Moondreams dot
Elevator Muzak (Instrumental)

Man oh man... so, ya have a name and a reputation... so ya write pretty elevator classics destined for the aisles at K-mart... SO WHAT! No offense to the legions of Brian Wilson fans, but this is really old-fart Muzak, or maybe soundtrack mung for made-for-TV romance novellas... cheesy and boring.

Bengazi dotdotdotdot
Southwest Desert Surf (Instrumental)

The other major influence in the Insects music, after recognizing the Southwest, Surf, and the Buzzcocks, is Middle Eastern melodies and structures. "Bengazi" oozes this sound woven seamlessly into the Insect web.

Penetration dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is one of the most pristine bands around, as they demonstrate here with an absolutely precise rendition of the Pyramids' classic. It's not terribly unique or set apart from the crowd of covers, but their ability to do render perfect performance carries it off. It's not a repro of the original. The bass sound is too large in the mix.

Monte Carlo Nights dotdotdot
Surf Wannabe (Instrumental)

Having once been a rock luminary, Elliott Easton has certainly paid his dues. This track has a pleasant enough melody, and surfable whammy chords, but overall, it doesn't grab me, or even stick in RAM after a play, so I have to dismiss it. Mid tempo easy listening surf wannabe.

The Lonely Dragster (Wolfman Bed) dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Mighty close to Wolfman, with a different guitar treatment, and piano. A sorta pre-spych long sustain on the lead hints of a changing time. A nice track.

Surfer Girl dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A pedestrian instrumentalization of theBeach Boys' classic top forty hit.

Rumble dotdotdotdotdot
Classic Dark Rock (Instrumental)

The original street gang record. This drips juvenile delinquency and chains and knives and broken bottles. It's the first evil rock instro. Very powerful after 40 years! Link Wray is the originator of lead guitar instros, of the ominous guitar sound, of the use of extreme sustain for danger, of the tribal thunder and drama under rock instros, of the gradually changing effects to impose a rising threat, as he does by increasing vibrato at the end of the track. This is a must have for any self-respecting rock instro fan, and a definite requirement to understand the foundation that was laid for the later surf bands.

A Shot In The Dark dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A fine dampening of this classic Henry Mancini soundtrack theme. The Boardwalkers captured both the essence of the silliness of the film, and yet not compromised the surf integrity of their sound. Fine track.

Intoxica dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Centurions were a mighty tough band, somewhere between the San Luis Obispo R&B sound and LA surf. One of the better versions of this tune. They had such a mean sound.

Miserlou dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Bobby Fuller and the Fanatics / The Bobby Fuller Four had hits with "I Fought The Law," "Love's Made A Fool Of You," and "Let Her Dance." Bobby loved the surf sound, but his other guitarist Jim Reese hated it. So, they only recorded a handful of instros, like the legendary "Our Favorite Martian." Here we have a live performance of "Miserlou" from PJ's in '65 (or, as has been reported elsewhere, from '64 in Texas?). This is a monster performance. Too bad the recording sux, because this would rule heavily! Great to see it here. Bobby was a great surf guitarist. There are several Bobby Fuller Four CD's available, and an instrumental CD coming from Del-Fi.