Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Surf Guitars Rumble Vol. 2dotdotdotdot
artworkVolume 2 of this bootleg series sports a few otherwise unknown instros, and has a much higher quotient of surf than volume 1. Disturbingly, there are three problems with this disc. First, many of the tracks are in some sort of processed stereo. Second, many are available from masters elsewhere. Third, some tracks sound like they are copped from other bootleg comps.
Picks: Unknown, Hang In, Pipeline '66, Kahuna, Gandy Dancer, Sharkskin, Monkey Tree, Surfin' Crow, Shortnin' Bread, Busting Point, The Other Side, Misirlou, Surf Beat, 4th Dimension, Cheater Stomp, Blue Surf, Bustin' Surfboards, Hangin' Five, Moon Dawg, Stampede, Homicidal, Strike, Jack 23, Banzai Washout, Penetration, Minor Chaos, The Big Wave, Lightnin', Ram-Charger, Jezabel, Thunder Head, Crash

Track by Track Review


Unknown dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Unknown" has been covered many times. The Mermen still include it in their live shows, as captured on their Haunted House CD, and Splashback do a killer rendition when they play live as well. This is one crunchy track, splashy and intense right from the initial reverb kick and glissando. Don Bradley's melody line is exceptionally good. It was the A-side of "What I'm Gonna Do" (Garnet 101).

Hang In dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This rock instrumental is little more than a backtrack, missing a melody, and dominated by a low-in-the-mix fuzz riff. Potentially a cool number, but mixed very oddly, and by leaving the fuzz guitar in the background, "Hang In" loses the power it just might have had.

Pipeline '66 dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a crude live take of the Chantays' classic, with a muddy sound and some minor hints of the period it was recorded in. Reverb kicks and a plodding pace plus ambient room sound. Quite out of step with the times.

Kahuna dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Grodie distorted reverb laden guitar romps under nasty sax. It's not structured like surf, but with the reverb, it clearly is. rare, but unremarkable. The riff is not far from the TV ad "stronger than dirt" theme.

Gandy Dancer dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Gandy Dancer" is a very nice song double picked over a dry rhythm section. The appeal is in the well written melody line coupled with the surf guitar delivery. In some ways, it's not unlike a Johnny Fortune track, except of course for the guitar tone. Reverb surf off the beaten path for a lighthearted day trip.

Sharkskin dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A "Let's Go" drum cadence launches "Sharkskin," which sports a minimalist surfable guitar line. It's hard to tell whether this is really a surf instro or just close, since the vintage is unknown to me and the tone pretty darn dry. Aurally, it sounds like an upright bass and a pre-surf structure, but the sonic quality of the drums is pretty Midwest or So Cal surf.

Monkey Tree dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

This is definitely not the Australian band. Its quasi-surf tone separates it, as does the almost "Hippy Hippy Shake" thematic quality of the melody riff. Distorted and murky, and very jammy. I'm guessing this is really late fifties.

Surfin' Crow dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a studio session, with the necessary surfisms and rolling drums. Muddier here than the masters, it's none the less a solid example of lessor surf singles of the day. If I recall correctly, this was cut in Memphis. Shouts of "surfin' crow" and "caw-caw" bird calls enhance the track.

Shortnin' Bread dotdotdotdot
Surf Twango (Instrumental)

Heavy surf rhythm track with piano and a surf lead playing low-E twango. While its a cover of the old standard covered by a number of bands of the day, this take is particularly rippin'. Stompin' drums and great piano, along with that tuff surf rhythm. Very cool.

Busting Point dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Torquays were one of a million bands using that name between 1960 and 1967. This is the Detroit band. Their music was dominated by the Fireballs, the Ventures, and the Chantays. "Busting Point" is rhythmic and mighty infectious, like a hotter version of Lonnie Mack's "Memphis" converted to surf. Sometimes too jam like, but always fun, this is a great rare find.

The Other Side dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Another obviated title rests on this excellent B-side. I think this is better than the A-side. It uses a Ventures drum beat, and a great surf-n-Euro melody line that is both original and familiar. Excellent surf rhythm guitar and a driven performance make this a must have single.

Misirlou dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Duluth, Minnesota's Emotionals recorded this hot version of "Misirlou" comes from the B-side of a 1967 single. It's fiery, powerful, and highly energetic. One of the great vintage recordings of this classic, and most unusual given it's late recording date.

Surf Beat dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is one of the more bizarre treatments of Dick Dale's classic "Surf Beat." Not a speck of double picking, except the bridge, which sounds like Billy Strange's playing. It works, even has a strange magnetic quality about it.

4th Dimension dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

From the opening Theremin through the totally infectious rhythm guitar, this surf tune features three guitars, a damped super reverbed classic surf rhythm, a dryer chord playing rhythm, and a vibratoed and reverbed lead which issues sounds from behind the bridge while not playing a lead melody. Totally weird and utterly cool.

Cheater Stomp dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

John Blair didn't list this in his "Illustrated Discography Of Surf Music 1961-1965," and neither did Rich Hagensen in his phone book thick compendium of instrumentals. Heavy surf and plucky piano riffola. Very fun indeed.

Blue Surf dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a raw and intense surf romp. It's not very well cut, but it has plenty of surf feel in the way the Hollywood Tornadoes had it, with echo instead of reverb. Nice track.

Bustin' Surfboards dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Bustin' Surfboards" is one of the most recognizable of the tribal surf instros from the sixties. It's drum dominated raw sound was nothing short of magical when I first heard it on KRLA. This is one of the essential surf instros, a desert island must-have.

Hangin' Five dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Low grindy el distorto guitar over a bit of wave sound effects, a surf rhythm guitar. More Midwest style than surf. From '63. A-side to "Patch."

Moon Dawg dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This starts out with the worst, most echoed imitation angry dog barks of any version of the Gamblers' hit. It's pretty darn fine, spirited, and crude. Even the harmonies are cool.

Stampede dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Here it is, boys and girls. The original thrash out that's been covered by so many of the modern rockabilly / psychobilly bands. It's echoed, reverbed, piano tinkled, and a bit too muddy, but it certainly carries the energy, and it's easy to hear why so many have covered it. High energy, infectious progressions, cool pomp-n-stomp' tribal drums, raw sax, and throbbing bass. It's all here.

Homicidal dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

A handful of instros have surfaced over the years from Lenny and the Thundertones. Pre-surf, raucous instrumental madness with primal stompin' credentials. Pretty cool!

Strike dotdotdotdot
Lap Steel Surf (Instrumental)

From the pins crashing in the opener, this rocker is a lot like the A-side, except with more a riff orientation. Rhythmic and intense, "Strike" is a powerhouse of lap steel drive and rock chunk. Great drums.

Jack 23 dotdotdot
Lap Steel Surf (Instrumental)

Fuzz bass, surf dry second guitar, and dry lead... it's a lot like a studio session in search of a reason to be, though some of the guitar noodling is just like Paul Johnson's in "Garbage Pit" (Hollywood Surfers) or perhaps an outtake from the Deadly Ones sessions with Joe South on guitar, which is more aurally compatible with this track. Still, the surfisms are there, and the break is pretty cool. The fuzz bass places this pretty late in the era.

Banzai Washout dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Steve Douglas wrote this classic and plays the raging sax. Dick Dale later covered it. The melody is hot, the rhythm is driving, the drums inspired, and the whole thing rocks. The brilliant ringing tones and the speed are marvelous. One of the great singles. Billy Strange played the fiery lead.

Penetration dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

One of a handful of nationally successful surf single, this track has been covered more than "Miserlou," and in more varieties of rock styles. If you don't own this track, you have entered the surf idiom yet. This is one of the essential classics. The production is unusual and masterful, and the melody is simple and enduring. It spawned hundreds of covers, and is still quite infectious.

Minor Chaos dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This 1964 release is one of the GREAT surf obscuros. The Treasures called Fargo, North Dakota home, and shunned the surf label, seeing it as limiting. They employed Gretch hollow body guitars for a more gutty sound. "Minor Chaos" is melodic, powerful, and rhythmic. The drums are spectacular, and the melody is strong. This is an essential surf monster. This is credited to Treasures guitarist Paul Hubbard, but the Steve Rowe and the Furys release of the same song credits Steve Rowe as the writer. It's a surf instro who done it. Paul says they co-wrote it, and it developed in various bands they both shared.

The Big Wave dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dark double picked guitar, studio changa-changa rhythm and sax, and delicate damped surf verses. This is either an inventive band or a gimmick dependent studio session. hard to tell. Scallywags is pretty outrageous, and the guitar wanking is pretty cool in its own way.

Lightnin' dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a surfy variation on "Shoot That Beaver." It's much more surfable, and much more interesting. It's still a frat raver, but with the reverb, it retains that beach front feel.

Ram-Charger dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Ram-Charger" is a chunky, rhythmic, driven track with a real surf sound. It opens with a slow sad melody over dramatic rolling tom toms, then launches into a topdown kinda thing that is mostly a rhythm, but still captivates. "Ram-Charger" later appeared as a B-side to "Apache."

Jezabel dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is "Rumble On The Docks," originally done by the Vulcanes. It's not as thick, but has the edge. This is one of the great mean obscuros, so it's nice to hear someone covering it. This is more surf pristine and less evil, but it works really well.

Thunder Head dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A slowly rising snare drum open into a surf pluck fest with reverb kicks and an unusual riff. It's quite an interesting track. The muddiness of the recording hides an effective rhythm track. Closer to a jam than is preferred, yet quite fun and very infectious.

Crash dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This spirited surf single has been covered many times. It's as obscure as they come, but very infectious and pure surf. Very percussive guitar and thundering toms make this a must have track.