Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Surfer's Mood IIIdotdotdotdot
artworkThis is Domenic Priori's third volume from vinyl sources. First off, there are some tracks that make no sense at all including here, since they have been available from original session tapes on CD, some for a long time. A solid "semi legitimate" (their word, not mine) collection.
Picks: Beach Head, El Toro, Loophole, Mr. X., Bird Walk, The Islander, Night and Day, Harlem Nocturne, The Breeze and I, Surfers Paradise, The Arabian Knight, Surfers Cry, Children Of The Sun, Blue Surf, Missing, Midnight On Pier 13

Track by Track Review

Beach Head dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

I don't know about this track I didn't find it very interesting, and certainly wouldn't have opened with it.

El Toro dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

For all the world, this sounds like the foundation for "High Tide," and may hint at the original arrangement that the Surfaris copied at the controversial "Surfer Joe" session, and, if verified, may put to rest the argument against the track dating on the "Surfaris Stomp" CD. This is slow and moody, and melodic. It pleases the ears with its round guitar tone and very pretty melody. It's listed on the sleeve as "Paradise Cove."

Loophole dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This exceptionally infectious surf track is way happy, and just shines with shallow string bending and slight reverb. This has appeared on several comps over the past few years. Mighty fine listening. The original release was on Challenge in 1964.

Mr. X. dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Velvetones' "Mr. X." was the A-side of their 3rd and final single issued in May of '65. It's a cool subtle palm-damped reverb-laden track heavy on the tom toms, like a cross between the Polaras' "Cricket" and The Lively Ones' "Paradise Cove."

Bird Walk dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This track sounds like a Del-Fi afterthought to me, not very interesting.

The Islander dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Sunliners' "The Islander" is an odd track owing it's very life to mariachi, with harmonic multi-horn dominance that's somewhere between the Rhythm Kings and Los Cicadelicos. Slow easy flowing visually pleasing high-E smoothness with mariachi horns and just too much suave for its own good. Really nice, with excellent blending between the horns and guitar. I don't know who these guys were, but this is like a slow thing that the Trademarks might have done. Really cool.

Night and Day dotdotdotdotdot
Cole Porter Surf (Instrumental)

If anyone suggested that Cole Porter wrote surf tunes, you'd probably laugh. While it certainly wasn't his intent, when the Lively Ones reworked it, they owned it and it was moved to sit squarely in the middle of the surf idiom. This is the lone post-Del-Fi single they recorded for Smash Records (Mercury). A master work.

Harlem Nocturne dotdotdotdot
Vibrating Surf (Instrumental)

Man-oh-man, when you set the vibrato on throbus maximus for a pulsier than thou Viscounts effect, you get so much shimmer that it makes you scared to go out at night. This is absolutely undulating, and really cool. No sax, just incredibly pulsed echoed guitar. This killer version of Earl Hagen's marvelous tune substitutes a mighty vibrato lead guitar for the sax, a sound relegated to the rhythm guitar when the Viscounts did it.

The Breeze and I dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is simply the best cover ever of this Ernesto Lacuoña classic tune. It shimmers with vibrato, embodying the band's name. It shines with perfect playing. This is a completely enthralling track. I can't recommend it enough. Each verse is a little different. The damped verse totally magical! This was a single on Bay Towne.

Surfers Paradise dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Counts came from El Paso, Texas, and delivered another cool tune in the same bag as the Velvetones' "Mr. X." The difference is that they added the sounds of the surf, and bird sounds, and we're not talking sea gulls or other oceanic ornos, we're talking the rites of spring in your back yard. An odd sound, indeed. The sounds of the surf, and a lo-fi recording of a shimmering gentle surf tune made of whammy chords and trembling vibrato. It speaks of coves and palms and warm breezes. Too bad the recording is so bad. "Surfers Paradise" was issued July, 1964.

The Arabian Knight dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Trite and unimpressive, this is a never mind track with little to offer.

Surfers Cry dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

San Jose's Torquays deliver an exquisite B-side to "Escondido." The edge is extreme, as was their style, with intense guitar tone and slow tortured riffs. Sad and mean, crying with anger.

Children Of The Sun dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The (Los) Mockers were from Mexico. This single B-side was issued in the US in April '65. It's a heavily vibratoed instrumental, as many Mexican surf rants of '65 were. Vibrato low-E lead lines, slow melody, lightweight rhythm and really nice arranging create a fine easy instro. The chorus in unnecessary, but the track works really well. It's also available on the CD.

Blue Surf dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Great damped surf rhythm guitar, cool second guitar fills, a sassy sax lead, and strange chorus lines. This is a really cool, slightly mean track with a bunch of appeal. "Blue Surf" was the B-side of their only single, released in June of '63. It's a strange song. The whole thing would be killer if it weren't marred by the dreadful "Ahhhs" parading as backing harmonies. The tune itself owes a great deal to the Gamblers' "Moon Dawg." Wonderful.

Missing dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Missing" by the Invictas is another B-side from May, 1964. They were probably the Michigan band that issued considerable garage stuff a few years later, including the nearly-banned "Do The Hump." The track is excellent. Slow "Harlem Nocturne" backtrack, and an excellent rhythm guitar under a very sad lead with tribal drums. This is a very unusual track, well arranged and shimmering with atmosphere. This band bears no relationship to the Motown act.

Midnight On Pier 13 dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A moderately interesting track, with no particularly outstanding characteristics. Just a so-so obscuro.