Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Surf Battle At Redondo Beach: A Surfer's Paradisedotdotdotdot
artworkThis is a document of an important event. A Surfer's Paradise was an all-day event held April 28, 1996 at the Strand in Redondo Beach in celebration of the life of drummer Don Murray. Don was most recently talking a reunion of the Crossfires, and had been drumming with the Surfaris. The show was incredible. The recording was made ambiently, so there is less clarity than normal, but the essence of the event was captured, and the music is excellent, spanning many styles of the genre. Thanks to Tom Stanton and Paul Johnson for the event, and Dee-Gee Music in Germany for the release.
Picks: Mr. Mysterioso, Pipeline, Apache, Point Panic, Rik-A-Tik, Volcano Juice, Sidewalk Surfer, Nomad, Soul Surfin', Southern Surf, Hawaii Five-0, Bustin' Surfboards, Clear The Room, Impact Zone, Sleepwalk, Bouzouki, Chief Whoopin' Koff, Kirra, Casbah, Istanbul, Wipe Out, Cloud Break, Albion Blues, Crystal-T

Track by Track Review


Mr. Mysterioso dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The incredibly great Halibuts play one of their anthemic classics with rich energy and drive. This ska flavored powerhouse is always a crowd pleaser, and without a doubt, among their best compositions. Deluxe!

Pipeline dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

It fades in just past the glissando, which was blown live. However, the Chantays do a great job recreating their archetypal hit. Huge power and drive.

Apache dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Lively Ones played with a dryer sound than their vintage surf records. This rendering of the classic Jerry Lordan tune is well delivered and solid.

Point Panic dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Jim Pash's Surfaris play their classic single with lots of drive and edge. Solid performance, and infectious musically. This was the last surf band Don Murray was in. Damn fine performance.

Rik-A-Tik dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Fireballs's were closer to the surf sound than any other pre-surf instro band. This tune was quite dry and much less interesting than what these guys did with it. It's just about the happiest surf rave anywhere. An absolute must have classic track.

Volcano Juice dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

There's no holding the twin guitars of Dave Arnson and Danno Sullivan down... as always, they fire up the engines with nitro in the tanks. This is one of there older tunes, but I never tire of it. Infectious and powerful, rhythmic and chunky.

Sidewalk Surfer dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Eliminators were playing a little fast that night, but this is such an infectious tune that it doesn't matter. Written by Carol Kay (?) and Paul Johnson, this is just plain cool.

Nomad dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Thom Starr was one of the bands that Paul Johnson's sound launched. In their modern incarnation, they are much more liquid in the new age sense, with heavy dependence on keys. The guitar is crisp, and the track slow and fluid, and very pretty.

Soul Surfin' dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is one of the most requested of the Mermen's surf tunes. Big powerful twango, with outstanding drive and rhythm. It's the Mermen at their best. They were the voice of the future of surf atop a bill celebrating of the roots. They were Don Murray's favorite band, and so it was only fitting that they close the show. It was funny to see the oldsters unsure of what they were hearing.

Southern Surf dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a modern instro from Jim Massoner, and it has a very smooth and moody melody line. There are a few versions around, and it just always seems very haunting. It took me a bit to get into it because it's so far outside The Livey Ones envelope, but once on board, I just became enamored with it. Semi tropical slightly country slow and sunny palm tree music. It is quite friendly, that is to say it sneaks in and makes you smile.

Hawaii Five-0 dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Draggin' out the venerable TV theme with a very Ventures sound, Jim Pash and company demonstrate the tightness and sound that keep them on the event fair and circuit. Quite solid.

Bustin' Surfboards dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Thee signature song of the Tornadoes, "Bustin' Surfboards" is nicely done here. It's less edgy and garagy than the single, but there's definitely the feel of the period. The (Hollywood) Tornadoes show was pretty tepid at A Surfer's Paradise. They played in a restrained fashion with a cleaner sound. This is island silky and very pretty. It's marred by snorting into the mic as they were finishing up, just before thanking Quentin Tarantino for putting their song in Pulp Fiction.

Clear The Room dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Very cool number with percussive playing and infectious rhythms. The multiple guitar parts and toms are rather effective. It is a lot like their "Bail Out At Frog Rock." Big chunk. They were the highlight of the old school bands.

Impact Zone dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The 'Buts' honked and squirted this venerable old flatfish number with their usual grin and dry humor. Very fun track.

Sleepwalk dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Paul Johnson makes this marvelous Santo and Johnny tune seem even more tropical, more Hawaiian than the silky original. This is one of a handful of non-lap steel versions that actually captures the essence of the song. Nice job, Paul.

Bouzouki dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Again, the Insects rock your socks off with this splendid surf rage. It remains one of my favorite Insect anthems, and this performance is strong and inspired.

Chief Whoopin' Koff dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Eliminators had big fun with this Fireballs classic. It's chunky and rhythmic. Their playing is always top drawer.

Kirra dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Kirra" is rhythmic and dribbling double picked, and fluid. It's a little more country than surf, but it rocks and floats too. The melody is very reminiscent of another tune I can't nail at the moment.

Casbah dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

One of the mighty Mermen anthems, written by the amazing Richie Podolor, and driven to high speed insanity by the trio. This is faster and more manic than most of their performances. The howling feedback upset old school graybeards, but they rocked the house. Great show.

Istanbul dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The shiny grins of the Halibuts show through mightily in this bouncy performance of the old standard. Cheesy and fun, surfy and reverby, and too cool.

Wipe Out dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The band does a driven performance of this classic. It has the power and the spunk, but no one does Ron Wilson.

Cloud Break dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Surf Kings shouldn't have opened. They started while people were just beginning to come in, so many folks missed them. Too bad, they were great. Their fresh sound and drive is modern and powerful. They were great. Surf Kings is a really strong tune, with a great melody and lots of whammy power.

Albion Blues dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a classical sounding piece Paul has been playing for a long time. It's very pretty, though not very surfy. The guitar work is exquisite, as usual. The pace is slow and deliberate, yet fluid. A little sad, yet warm.

Crystal-T dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Another nineties original from the band that defined the sound back in the sixties more than any other. It was Don Murray's favorite Chantays song, and it is driven with fire here. A fluid melody and surf rhythm guitar, and a visionary optimism.