Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Sun, Sand and Hunksdotdot
artworkI think this comes under the heading of scary exploitation surf. It's a strange coupling of early Beach Boys, Jan and Arnie, and eighties Joe Saraceno productions. Maybe there's nothing at all odd about money music new and old combined. Maybe disco surf is a natural child of beach pop. But then, why is the Frogmen's "Underwater" here? Way odd, and yet the sort of thing you need at least one of so you can tell the good stuff by contract. Besides, don't you need just one disc to pull out when friends are over so you can watch them try to hide that they think you've lost it, or better yet watch them groove to while saying "now this is more like it?"
Picks: Percolator, Surfer's Stomp, Balboa Blue, Lullaby Of The Leaves, Underwater, Pipeline, Apache, Walk, Don't Run, Come Softly To Me

Track by Track Review


Percolator dotdotdot
Pop Rock (Instrumental)

This gimmicky postsurf period instro was based on a Maxwell House Coffee TV ad running at the time. The lead simulates the gradual escalation of the coffee bubbling up into the glass dome in the top of the coffee pot. It was an instant success, and is still pretty darn fun. It's not surf, but it sure endures well.

Surfer's Stomp dotdot
Big Band Surf (Instrumental)

Joe Saraceno's studio band the Mar-Ketts were quick to jump on the band wagon with Surf titles, laying down the nearly Lawrence Welk forties-ish "Surfers Stomp." This is a rerecording, probably for some K-Tel TV infomercial compilation. It lacks the charm of the original, but is much crisper sounding.

Balboa Blue dotdot
Big Band Surf (Instrumental)

Like its A-side "Surfers Stomp," but even bore MOR / Big Band sounding, Joe Saraceno's studio session players were so far from surf on this, that you have to wonder if he had ever actually heard any. It's nearly Lawrence Welk forties imitation. This is remake.

Lullaby Of The Leaves dotdot
Big Band Surf (Instrumental)

Joe Saraceno can make lame Ventures arrangements as well as the Portland four. When I first heard this without checking the track listing, I though it was an early eighties Ventures track. Hey, given the studio lizard scene, it just might me.

Underwater dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Frogmen romp with "Underwater." It's very much a surf precursor, and important for that reason. Numerous of their tracks have appeared on various budget comps over the past few years.

Pipeline dotdotdotdot
Disco Surf (Instrumental)

Disco meets surf in a surprisingly satisfying take on the classic Chantays track. There's something deliciously twisted about the images of wind swept wave riders and Denny Terrio finger pointing beach dwellers that makes you grin at this. It's not the original studio band, but an eighties recreation.

Apache dotdotdot
Disco Surf (Instrumental)

You have to wonder if Jorgen Ingman would roll over and die at hearing this, or would he just ask "is that the Ventures?" The dominant disco drums machine is actually pretty cool, and the arrangement works as well. I hate it when I like crap like this... Lited on some releases as the Ventures, and others as Routers, this is likely the Ventures under as hired guns.

Walk, Don't Run dotdotdot
Disco Surf (Instrumental)

Nearly trad, Ventures in the eighties aimed at the dance floors across America. Well played and all, but what were they thinking?

Come Softly To Me dotdotdot
Pop Rock (Instrumental)

Now, this is scary. Sultry vibrato lead guitar, funky seventies rhythm guitar chops, mid seventies bass production, and an surprisingly cool arrangement of the Fleetwoods' fifties classic written by Bonnie Guitar. Perfect for a break from lounge, nor the least bit surfy, but just plain fun.