Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
|This Australian compilation from Warners contains an interesting mix of tracks. From the Aussie perspective, surf may have looked like this. Some American instro standards are interspersed with Australian surf classics. The Surfaris and the Joy Boys, the Chantays and the Atlantics... and on the vocal side, Beach Boys standards are offset by Little Pattie's "He's My Blonde-Headed, Stompie Wompie, Real Gone Surfer Boy" and "Stompin' At Maroubba." Oh yeah, it's a budget CD as well.|
Picks: Wipe Out, Bombora, Pipeline, Miserlou, Murphy The Surfie, The Lonely Surfer, Time Is Tight, Walk, Don't Run
Track by Track Review
TV Surf (Instrumental)
"Wipe Out" is simply the definitive drummer's badge of courage. If he can do a decent "Wipe Out," he's hired. Simple, and written and recorded in just minutes, this is an international classic that has sold multimillions of copies, and still does every year worldwide.
Pick noises and stinging notes, and a piercing lead fronting a speedster deluxe. This is definitely up to the standard they set with it on the CBS Australia release from the sixties. Totally infectious and driven. A grand Peter Hood/Jim Skiathitis tune.
This is it. This track defined surf. It is the archetype! Paul Johnson once told me that when first heard this tune on his car radio, he said Whoa! Wha-at is THAT?, and pulled over to the side of the road to listen. The Chantays defined the classic surf line up, 2 guitars, piano, bass, and drums. Glorious first use of glissandoes, first rhythm guitar dominance in the mix, and just plain essential.
The introductory note of Miserlou is somehow bigger than life. Dick's machine gun staccato is perfect. This is Dick Dale's biggest Del-tone singles, the incredibly archetypal "Miserlou" featured so prominently in Pulp Fiction. No comprehensive Surf collection should even be conceived without this song. This IS the sound of primal surf, the source of the idea of really LOUD guitar leads. It's reported that the arrangement was developed after Dick saw Johnny Barakat do it this way.
This is the single the Surfaris covered. High spirited Aussie surf, infectious melody lines, and spunky playing. This is due out from the masters in a couple of months.
MOR Surf (Instrumental)
"The Lonely Surfer" is an enigma, hardly legit surf band fare, yet definitely a genre classic. It only charted at 39 on Billboard, but it is among the more recognizable and sophisticated surf standards. It's haunting moody and dramatic. The French horns are surreal, giving it a major pompous feel that somehow transcends the dismissibility of other similar works, like the "Surfers Stomp" Marketts sessions. Amazing.
It's astounding how different the music scenes were by 1969 when "Time Is Tight" hit. Contrast Jimi Hendrix, the Other Half, and the Amboy Dukes to the classic unchanging sound of Booker T. and the MG's. It might as well have been 1962 in Memphis. Soulful groove and ultra cool hooks.
Pre Surf (Instrumental)
This is essential. The Ventures were one of the two bands that served as the model for early surf bands, the other being the Fireballs. This was their first single, and is an absolute standard. It was based on the early fifties Chet Atkins arrangement. This is their signature tune, a solid and enduring cover of Johnny Smith's jazz classic. Rhythmic, solid as a rock, and very warm with pre-surf whammy. Only the Pink Fairies' vocal version is better than this. Great classic pre surf.
"Walk, Don't Run" and "Perfidia" were recorded a year before there was such a thing as surf music. Totally vintage and majorly important to the birth of surf, this Ventures single is still their hallmark and best effort. Every collection requires this track.