Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
|This is the first KFJC fundraising CD. All tracks were recorded live at the first Summer Surf show on campus, and originally broadcast July 16, 1994. Summer Surf features stellar performances by The Mermen, The Insect Surfers, and The Woodies. This CD is well produced with lush sound and a nice package. The artists donated their performances and publishing to the cause.|
The Mermen: Jim Thomas, Allen Whitman and Martyn Jones provide a totally amazing psychedelic surf vision of space and surf. Extremely good writing and playing. San Francisco band with a solid following national following. Wonderful interplay between the guitar and bass and drums, very melodic and plenty of live energy. Huge sound. Very high quality recordings.
The Insect Surfers: Dave Arnson & sons provide an amazing late seventies platformed desert wave vision of space and sea. Very good writing and playing. LA band with a solid following and little available in other forms. Wonderful interplay between the lead and rhythm, very melodic and plenty of live energy. Very high quality recordings.
The Woodies: Very traditional band with the best understanding of the idiom at it's purist level. These tracks are all original, except for "High Roll." Rick Escobar's writing and arranging is absolutely period. He's the only modern writer who can capture the happy surf sound. "Surfin' With Bernie" is totally infectious.
Picks: The Insect Surfers - Diamond Back, Polaris, Volcano Juice, Nomad, Outsider, The Mermen - My Black Bag, Under The Kou Tree, Soul Surfin', Scalp Salad, Madagascar, The Woodies - Little Dume, High Roll, The Swami, Spanish Word, Surfin' With Bernie, If It Swells (Ride It)
Track by Track Review
The Insect Surfers - Diamond Back
Rattlesnakes shake their money maker in this most arid of all of the modern desert surf classics. The imagery is unmistakable as you listen to this tale of the slithering menace. The dueling guitars are in sync and perfectly intense.
The Insect Surfers - Polaris
One of the most catchy and infectious of the Insects' tunes, and certainly the best modern space epic. Wonderful!
The Insect Surfers - Volcano Juice
Owing much to Bo Diddley and the tom-tom, this highly rhythmic number is a stunning example of what can be done with a simple melody idea, a great band, a little energy, and a modicum of imagination. Very infectious!
The Insect Surfers - Nomad
Another stellar Insect tune loaded with energy and twin lead style, "Nomad" has been in the Insect Surfers set for quite a while. Heavier than in the early days, yet sparkling in a modern way. Fine song.
The Insect Surfers - Outsider
One of my favorite Insect tunes is this double picked monster. It's quite traditional in structure, and with their modern sounds and style, this track rules.
The Mermen - My Black Bag
This song is one of their pounding assaulting tunes. It is one powerful performance. It features dark and ugly feedback, intense energy, and howling assaultive feedback.
The Mermen - Under The Kou Tree
A very unusual number with a carefully orchestrated landscape of exotic beauty and grace. "Under The Kou Tree" carries exotic Asian influences, and uses a gloriously sad melody line. It is mid tempo grandeur incarnate.
The Mermen - Soul Surfin'
This powerful, melodic and quite surfy track really drives you down the road. It is an incredibly beautiful and energetic. It wasn't on their set list that day, but Dave Arnson of the Insect Surfers requested it. damn good thing too! The Mermen have spurred many others to experiment with the surf idiom with tracks like this, bringing surf instros back to real life.
That most amazing of drummers Martyn Jones, brings yet another fantasy title to another neo surf classic. A great tune, and a remarkable performance.
One of Jim Thomas' most beautiful and scenic creations. Memorable and melodic.
The Woodies - Little Dume
Among Rick Escobar's earliest surf originals, "Little Dume" has a magical infectious progression, liquid chords, and reverb chunk. What's so enticing about this is the same thing that makes Johnny Barakat's Long Ride so fascinating. It doesn't rely on an AABA melody line and structure. It has many facets and each flows like water into the next. Really strong writing.
By far the best cover of this Nevegans obscuro from the sixties. This number is quirky and glorious, and under the liquid chunk of the Woodies, it becomes even more infectious. This is song is also called "Downey Surf."
"The Swami" oozes caravans of spice traders on the road to Morocco. This speedy powerful and melodic shredder will make even the sleepiest camel bow to Mecca and pray for surf! Very powerful and rhythmic. To call it dangerous and infectious is an understatement.
The Woodies - Spanish Word
This is a very pretty and energetic Spanish flavored surf number. With typical Woodies flair, it has all the ingredients to become a modern surf classic. Rick hadn't named this by the time this CD went to press. He was calling it "Spanish Word" because he was looking for a perfect name that fit the tune. That wouldn't due for the CD, so I threatened to name it if he didn't. I won.
The Woodies - Surfin' With Bernie
This is the happiest surf instro ever written. Infectious and bouncy and wholly suited for a topdown drive on 101 in mid August. Perfect! It's named for surf fan Bernie Beckwith. Completely Infectious!
The Woodies - If It Swells (Ride It)
Perfectly named and played. This typifies Rick's ability to write and arrange originals that sound like they should have been written in the summer of '63. A solid track.