Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Strummin' Mental Volume 5dotdotdot
artworkThe fifth and final volume of the series has several surf gems and some grodie obscuros too.
Picks: Chicken Run, Motivation, Shiftin' Gears, Mar Gaya, Rampage, King Of The Stomp, Repeto, Switchblade, Fright, Conquest, Intensity, Scramble, Jaguars, Cascade, A-Bomb, Surfin' Crow, Pipeline '66, Royal B, Snake Eyes, Earthquake

Track by Track Review

Chicken Run dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Yup, like the Linkster and Eddie Angel, with the chicken pluckin' guitar licks and smash-chord progression. Too fun.

Motivation dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Unlike it's title, it's not very motivating. A fifties chord progression thing with a riff and a ton of energy.

Shiftin' Gears dotdotdot
Surf Rock (Instrumental)

Raging fifties styles riff rockin' grind from Massachusetts, with an almost surf guitar tone. It's fast and slightly infectious.

Mar Gaya dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Mar Gaya" is such a monster. Huge ominous sounding tune with a minimalist melody on the low-E that thunders across the aural horizon. Randy Holden is a genius! Must have essential surf. Simply the darkest surf single of 1965. Holden says that the inspiration for this masterpiece was Dick Dale's "The Victor," and you can hear it in the relentlessness of the hypnotic thunder, but "Mar Gaya" is infinitely larger.

Rampage dotdot
Sax (Instrumental)

Neither a rampage nor a melody be... a fifties progression over an infectious beat.

King Of The Stomp dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the most surf worthy of the tracks on the album, and has been comp'd a few times. It's a raw double picked dry surf sound, with early Dick Dale Rendezvous Ballroom ambiance, and solid drive. Quite infectious, this is a must have bit of studio surf history.

Repeto dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the 1964 original (there are two updates from 1997 and 2000), with sax lead and great vintage surf rage. It is a really solid single, played with plenty of energy and teenage exuberance. The melody is solid, the energy good, and even under a bad mix, with the bass too hot, and the sax too loud, this is one fine tune. ItŐs played with plenty of energy and teenage exuberance.

Switchblade dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Screaming and moron utterances, and a fifties cowboy riff with plenty of twang. The rhythm is infectious, but the screams detract from the music. The sax is marginal. From Minnesota.

Fright dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Echoed evil dark period surf. This is a really cool tune, with reverbed vibratoed lead guitar, and a menacing sound. Reverb kicks and occasional female screams punctuate the track, which relies heavily on the sound rather than a melody. Quite effective, and very suave.

Conquest dot
Rock (Instrumental)

typical use of dark vibrato in a murky setting with no melody does not a lost Link Wray make. Just trashy.

Intensity dot
Rock (Instrumental)

Fast hard rockin' drums pumpin' like a minor league Sandy Nelson under a nothing guitar line. Just a jam gone astray.

Scramble dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Surfin' jam guitar, hand claps, and screaming frat house jump doesn't equal great surf. Like a Bruce Johnston tune reverbed, it belongs at parties, but not on stage where people actual pay to listen to surf music.

Jaguars dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Over echoed guitar warble playing a simple but effective riff, offset by gnarly chords. A strange sound, and an underdeveloped idea. Quite weird and interesting.

Cascade dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Judging from the name, I'd guess these guys were from Crescent City, California. Over echoed fifties riffabilly with a mean edge.

A-Bomb dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Big reverb crash and a Chuck Berry-ish jam riff. It just doesn't go anywhere, and sure doesn't live up to its title.

Surfin' Crow dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a studio session, with the necessary surfisms and rolling drums. Muddier here than the masters, it's none the less a solid example of lessor surf singles of the day. If I recall correctly, this was cut in Memphis. Shouts of "surfin' crow" and "caw-caw" bird calls enhance the track.

Pipeline '66 dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a crude live take of the Chantays' classic, with a muddy sound and some minor hints of the period it was recorded in. Reverb kicks and a plodding pace plus ambient room sound. Quite out of step with the times.

Royal B dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is a primitive backwoods trashy rock instro from who knows where! A jam looking really hard for a song, but not ever finding it. The drums are pretty cool, though.

Snake Eyes dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A minor single using a riff in a basic surf format, with dice players yakking all along and uttering "snake eyes" as they hope against hope for a winning roll of the dice. This track is vintage progression surf, with damped high note playfulness, and the sounds of gambling addicts. It's fun and infectious, and has a full throated surf guitar sound, though completely free of double picking. There were two versions of this single issued, one with gambling overdubs, and one with surf overdubs and more dominant surf guitar.

Earthquake dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This surf tune is very close to the Treasures' "Minor Chaos" right down to the rolling thunder drums and riff. It's just missing the break. The slight variations and the completely different break set it apart. very echoey, but effective and way fun.