Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: The Sounds Of Summerdotdotdot
artworkJapanese vintage surf comps always seem a little strange to me. They tend to include a lot of the studio sessions, particularly the marginal vocal material. The obscurity of the tracks is often more significant than the musical or historic value. The Sounds Of Summer is like this too, comprised entirely of studio sessions. The instros range from the familiar studio session hits like the Routers' "Let's Go!" and the Marketts' "Out Of Limits," a couple of Mel Taylor solo project tracks, to the absurdity of Barney Kessell's "Diamonds." Also found is a rare Jack Nitzsche track and a Richie Podolor session as well. Vocals include the Timers "No-Go Showboat," and "Competition Coupe," the Wheel Men "School Is A Gas," the Revells "My Ferrari GTO" and "Lotus 23," the Neptunes "Shame Girl," and the Honeys "He's A Doll." This compilation was provided by Craig Smith, Ph.D. of Remote Sensing Systems, a listener and frequent business traveler to Japan. Thanks Craig.
Picks: Let's Go (Pony), Out Of Limits, Spanish Armada, Jam Up, Diamonds, The Last Race, Crack-Up, Honda Beach Party, Ski Surfin', The Creeper, On The Rebound, Collision Course, The Lonely Surfer

Track by Track Review

Let's Go (Pony) dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Intense lead guitar twang! The guitar tone owns you. This is as good as "Solaris Stomp." A bit of the Spanish influence, and off-the-scale infectiometer readings. Very rich tone.

Out Of Limits dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the hit. It sports the great guitar work of Tommy Tedesco. It's infectious little riff was heard everywhere in the hey day of surf. It's quite a rock standard. This track blends surf with Joe Saraceno's orchestral thinking, guitars, French horns, and bells. Unlike almost all of the Marketts' tracks, this features the lead guitar as the lead instrument, and approximates real surf music. It is a studio session, with Tommy Tedesco on lead, but it rips right nicely. A classic surf hit.

Spanish Armada dotdotdot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

Raw sax R&B based rock, pumpin' a party jam, drivin' the poodle dress crowd nuts. Fine jammin' dance tune from Champs.

Jam Up dotdotdot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

This is a muddy session, a sorta R&B jam for a back ally brawl. Quite a fifties knife fight kinda track, with a grooving bass. So, why is it called "Bruce?" Issued in 1964 as by Danny Flores & the Fans. Danny Flores was Chuck Rio's real name.

Diamonds dotdotdot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

Like a San Antonio rose garden, this bouncy Chuck Rio solo coulda been amped up by Herb Alpert. It's quite fun and melodic.

The Last Race dotdotdot
Hit Clone (Instrumental)

Speaking of studio lizards, Jack Nitzsche had a major AM hit with his low-E guitar and orchestra studio creation "The Lonely Surfer." This is just like that... a spinoff of the same idea. Jack Nitzsche was a producer. This is an interesting track for a few spins, but it is very derivative. This was the theme to the Village Of The Giants I think.

Crack-Up dotdotdot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

The Originals issue this in '58. It's very playful, but not very imaginative.

Honda Beach Party dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This Gary Usher tune is well delivered by Richie Podolor in the style of the best Super Stocks sessions. Originally issued in 1964, it is rhythmic, twang driven, and most memorable. This was also issued under the title "Hon-Da Beach" by both the Hondells and the Revells.

Ski Surfin' dotdotdot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

This is scary! I mean SCARY! The Contenders' "Wildman" is a basic track with adolescent high school chorus lines, and, well, just too silly for me.

The Creeper dotdotdot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

Pumpin' piano, party sax, and honkin' riffs tinkle their way into your living room as The Persuaders featuring Chuck "Tequila" Rio jam.

On The Rebound dotdotdot
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)

Big surf a la Bruce Johnston's "Pajama Party" album, with heavy influences from Mickey and Sylvia. Odd, and quite far from center stage.

Collision Course dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This Gary Usher / Roger Christian composition saw many deliveries under the pick of Paul Johnson as the Challengers, the Good Guys, and others. The tune is a mighty infectious thing. The arrangement is restrained to the point where that is it's main draw. The horns lessen it's impact.

The Lonely Surfer dotdotdot
MOR Surf (Instrumental)

"The Lonely Surfer" is an enigma, hardly legit surf band fare, yet definitely a genre classic. It only charted at 39 on Billboard, but it is among the more recognizable and sophisticated surf standards. It's haunting moody and dramatic. The French horns are surreal, giving it a major pompous feel that somehow transcends the dismissibility of other similar works, like the "Surfers Stomp" Marketts sessions. Amazing.