Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Smells Like Surf Spiritdotdotdotdot
artworkNot just a cool title for a comp, but a fine collection of material mostly from the impressive Dee Gee catalog. Some rare, some demo, some live, some just plain solid surf. Recommended without hesitation.
Picks: Point Break, Moonwaves, Saturation, Kung Fu Saturdays, Baja, Banzai Washout, Wanganui, The Mashed Potato Martian, Walk, Don't Run / Jezebel, Unreachable, Lamento A Go-Go, Sea Storm, Suicide Point, Killer Hot Dog, [Death Of A] Matador, Burning Sands, Dances With Waves, Pismo Nights, Surf Raider, Beyond The Stars

Track by Track Review


Point Break dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Light damped double picked rhythm guitar, slow shimmery lead, and an infectious rhythm. The whole thing is very distant and mysterious. Quite a bitchin' track! I find this sort of tune to be particularly endearing when well done, and a drag when not. The Bambi Molesters know how to do it!

Moonwaves dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dedicated to dragster diva Shirley Muldowney, and intro with some cheesy AM dragstrip ad text, this fine tune has a Duane Eddy feel, if only the Rebel Rouser had played faster and more innocently. Burnin' rubber, the smell of spent alcohol fuel, and the flash of the Christmas tree starting lights permeate this deluxe echo guitar track. Smokin'.

Saturation dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Right down to the woo-woos way low in the mix... really period label space surf with a modern cleanness. Like the sort of thing Laika & the Cosmonauts might choose to cover if it were 30 years old. The spoken guitar lessen intro is almost funny, if you don't own any of the Play Guitar With The Ventures albums.

Kung Fu Saturdays dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A melodic and well spiced tune, with delightful glissandoes. Double picked, fluid, and punchy. The guys shout in the background too. Infectious, powerful, and hot fun.

Baja dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Low down and gritty approach with vibrato and very nice guitar interplay and textural contrasts.

Banzai Washout dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Steve Douglas' excellent tune, originally issued by the Catalinas and covered by Dick Dale. This is pretty fiery, but with a more muted tone and less fire than either early versions.

Wanganui dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Wanganui" is an amazingly cool Orange County influenced number with great twang and a tad of jangle, a low-E lead line, surfy damped notes, cool drums, and a chunky sound. As with all of their work, it has a strong melody, and rates 100 on the infectiometer!

The Mashed Potato Martian dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Neither Max Frost & the Troopers nor Davie Allan & the Many Arrows could take this Mann-Weil monster farther from Wild In The Streets. Big intro, dramatic drumming, and twangy post-biker guitar. Like the ghost of Harley past, this haunts the back of the garage, leaving the Hogg unstarted in favor of a Dewey Webber and grass skirt. No training wheels required.

Walk, Don't Run / Jezebel dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This track has a seemingly tentative melody, with a sad lilt to it. Like a fish out of water, it seems to be searching for the school to rejoin, while keeping a wary eye out for the troller. Uneasy sadness.

Unreachable dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a very enjoyable version of the Hustlers' "Inertia." Well delivered, damped guitar, some echo, some reverb, some whammy. Rhythmically balanced, and infectious. Won't peter out.

Lamento A Go-Go dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Lamento A Go-Go" is a slightly sad whammied tune with a very cool melody with twinges of spaghetti western or antipasta surf. This is a slightly sad number with a suave almost movie theme quality to it. Very melodic and engaging.

Sea Storm dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Italy's I Cosmonauti have created a really cool and moody number here, with a mysterious air and a trad sound. The damped second guitar is spot-on, and the melody is strong and infectious. This is solid driving surf, with touches of "Run Away" drama and the sounds of the surf. This is the sort of thing Jon & the Nightriders might do, though not as well recorded. Solid surf!

Suicide Point dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Suicide Point" is a fairly early track, sullen and moody, but not among their best. Bob Dalley and Loyd Davis have always had a knack for writing trad surf melodies, and this serves them well. It's infectious and thumping good fun.

Killer Hot Dog dotdotdot
Progression (Instrumental)

This is a dry-guitar, crunchy instro, more a progression than a song, and accented with start-stop percussive drama. It's big guitar fun, and actually quite infectious.

[Death Of A] Matador dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Very cool double picked original with a fiery delivery. It's a bit of a tango and is blessed with twinges of "Malaguena." A very nice low-E pounder - intense and powerful. I like it better here than alone on comps, where it has appeared before. It has plenty of solid energy.

Burning Sands dotdotdotdot
Hawaiian Middle East Surf (Instrumental)

This is one of Corky's few instrumentals, and one of his few non-country songs. It has a Middle-Eastern mystique with Hawaiian lap steel. All very soft and moody. The foreign intrigue of it suggests it's potential use in a film soundtrack. It's really quite beautiful.

Dances With Waves dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Great title! Vibrato and tom-toms and glissandoes and a near shimmer characterize the sound of this track. It seems almost melody free, mostly a riff. The break is weak, compared to the rest of the tracks.

Pismo Nights dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

One of the coolest little towns on the West Coast, Pismo Beach was the playground for the Central Coast surf bands. This tribute track is an ominous R&B growler, with evil sax, a dark progression, and cool soulin' sounds. The Rumblers' "Boss" inspired the backtrack.

Surf Raider dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This track is notable as much for the incorrectly set compressor breathing as the tune. The effect adds to the charm. The tune itself is infectious enough, and is among the better Surf Raiders tracks. It is melodic, very trad, and dynamic.

Beyond The Stars dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Properly glissandoed, and Venturistically delivered, this rhythmic number employs whammy and a surf beat. Though merely a sequence piece, it's a fine basis for a full blown surf tune. Mighty nice.