Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Structure Surfaridotdotdot
artworkThis is a pretty solid set of vintage surf material, with two vocals of later vintage and The ventures TV theme added. It's fairly obscure, and it comes with some meaningless video of surfers carrying their boards here and there.
Picks: The Belairs - Mr. Moto, The Chantays - Pipeline, Dick Dale and his Del-tones - Miserlou, The Lively Ones - Wipe Out, Los Straitjackets - Surf Rider, The Tornadoes - Bustin' Surfboards

Track by Track Review


The Belairs - Mr. Moto dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

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!

The Chantays - Pipeline dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is it. This track defined surf. It is the archetype! Paul Johnson once told me that when first heard this tune on his car radio, he said Whoa! Wha-at is THAT?, and pulled over to the side of the road to listen. The Chantays defined the classic surf line up, 2 guitars, piano, bass, and drums. Glorious first use of glissandos, first rhythm guitar dominance in the mix, and just plain essential.

Dick Dale and his Del-tones - Miserlou dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The introductory note of Miserlou is somehow bigger than life. Dick's machine gun staccato is perfect. This is Dick Dale's biggest Del-tone singles, the incredibly archetypal "Miserlou" featured so prominently in Pulp Fiction. No comprehensive Surf collection should even be conceived without this song. This IS the sound of primal surf, the source of the idea of really LOUD guitar leads. It's reported that the arrangement was developed after Dick saw Johnny Barakat do it this way.

Laika and the Cosmonauts - Mission Impossible dotdotdot
Euro (Instrumental)

The "Mission Impossible" theme is organic chunka chunka espionage themeage, high energy and fun.

The Lively Ones - Wipe Out dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This required repertoire number has been covered and covered, and then covered some more. No one does it like Ron Wilson. Still, this is a serviceable rendition.

Los Straitjackets - Surf Rider dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The masked marauders of the Nashville instro scene have delivered one spot-on performance of the Lively Ones' classic rendition of the Ventures potato epic. There is only a slight shift required to get from the standard crisp instro sound of Los Straitjackets to the vintage sound of the Lively Ones. Very trad, and very well played.

The Tornadoes - Bustin' Surfboards dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"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.

The Ventures - Hawaii Five-0 dotdotdot
TV Surf (Instrumental)

Often covered TV theme song from the chameleons of instro rock from the 1968 TV series.