Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Strummin' Mental Part Twodotdotdot
artworkThe second volume of rare instro mung and surf in the series. All from vinyl, but when it comes to rare vintage surf, any source is better than none. There are many really fine surf rants here. This is a must for anyone interested in the lesser known surf gold.
Picks: Lemon Lime, Fort Lauderdale USA, Mile Zero, Gotcha, Jet Stream, Later On, Downhill, Rigor Mortis, Chicken Run, Motivation, Shiftin' Gears, Mar Gaya, Rampage, King Of The Stomp, Repeto, Switchblade, Fright, Scramble, Cascade, A Bomb, Surfin' Crow, Pipeline '66, Snake Eyes, Earthquake, Squad Car, Avalanche, Riptide, Surfers Mood, 4th Dimension, The Birds, The Red Headed Flea, Tickler

Track by Track Review


Lemon Lime dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Primitive cool riff rockin' gimmicky backwoods B-side rock. Raw and intense, highly energetic, with a spiffy little quick string slide that gives it it's only real edge over other similar tracks.

Fort Lauderdale USA dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Great spring reverb kicks, horrid screams, and fifties styled rock instro format with no reverb at all. One would think the reverb kicks were added as an afterthought to this fifties rocker to update it in a reissue attempt. Fast and furious rocker with a jam feel.

Mile Zero dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Echoed rockabilly styled crude surf, with no melody, but a serviceable progression and a lot of energy. The raging drums are the most interesting part of the track, though the guitar break fits the genre better than the main body of the tune.

Gotcha dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A low-E damped dry guitar raver, with speedy double picks, and a cool rhythmic progression. It's gutty without being overwhelming. The drums are manic. Really cool damped guitar less reverb, double picked flair, and a tribal feel. Quite dry for a surf vintage surf track, but it has all of the elements. It rumbles along at a fast clip with fun and wave riders energy.

Jet Stream dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Jet Stream" is a very fine typically surf structured and delivered tune, with solid double picking, and jet engine sound effects overdubbed. The ringing whammy and the melodic lead progression are perfectly set for a surf ride across your speakers.

Later On dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

A basic progression, surf guitar tone, single picked damped sound, and a jam feel. Nice enough. In some ways, it's similar to the Vulcaines, but with less menacing tone.

Downhill dotdotdot
Frat Pre Surf (Instrumental)

This is a progression, a riff with ringing guitar and very nice piano work. No melody, just the riff and splendid playing. This musta rocked the frat house.

Rigor Mortis dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Gimmick theme rock from the fifties, with vibrato guitar and a "Tequila" lead line. If this predates the Champs' track, maybe it was the inspiration? Grodie stage filler.

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.

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.

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)

Riff rockin' jam rock, crudely cut for the frat party of your choice.

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.

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.

Squad Car dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is THEE Eddie & the Showmen song, and their second single. Written by Paul Johnson, it totally shreds. The best news is it finally appears in stereo.

Avalanche dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Is this one of the versions of the Handful of Fives et al with Skip and Terry Hand who were also part of the Eddie and the Showmen legacy? Doesn't matter I guess. It's fast, furious, pure surf madness, with a wailin' sax in a few verses under the lead guitar. Great picking and fiery attack.

Riptide dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

From the introductory cry of "Riptide," this classic monster shreds mercilessly. Minneapolis was home to this talented band, where they recorded this track in 1963. It totally shreds - did I say that already. This is one hot monster! Based on a super simple riff, it employs the tried and true but rare technique of playing behind the bridge with extreme reverb. Great!

Surfers Mood dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Surfers Mood" owes it's existence to Link Wray's "Rumble," and as such is not particularly interesting. This is the B-side to the incredible "Surf Bunny."

4th Dimension dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

From the opening Theremin through the totally infectious rhythm guitar, this surf tune features three guitars, a damped super reverbed classic surf rhythm, a dryer chord playing rhythm, and a vibratoed and reverbed lead which issues sounds from behind the bridge while not playing a lead melody. Totally weird and utterly cool.

The Birds dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Cool semi surf riff with really cool effects from the echo plex and the outboard reverb, and a menacing meanness. The chunky damped surf rhythm guitar keeps it in focus, and the drums provide the thunder. Very cool track.

The Red Headed Flea dotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Fifties sax works, and gimmicky screams. Not very interesting.

Tickler dotdotdot
Near Surf (Instrumental)

Nearly surf stylings, way fun gimmicks, and an infectious jam riff. The track is very close to being surf in it's structure, and in the used of reverb on parts of the percussion. Quite fun.