Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Surfin' In The Midwest Volume 3dotdotdotdot
artworkFinally! Volume three, and well worth the wait! Like the first two volumes, you will find the rare and the exceptional surf instro from the Midwest lurking on this CD just waiting for you to discover it. From the more familiar Breakers, Rumbles and Novas, to the ultra rare Pretenders and Tremolons, this CD is packed with 18 wonderful tracks, all vintage 1963-64 Midwest surf.
Picks: Take 7, Beachhead, Jet Stream, Doheny Stomp, Flip Side, Fall Out, Busting Point, The Other Side, Theme For A DJ, The Gorp, Surfer's Dream, Tension, Caliente, The Marauder, Mad Surfer, Warm Wind, Blue Castaway, Mark's Blues

Track by Track Review


Take 7 dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the B-side to the Novas' incredible single "The Crusher." It's a basic progression, but somehow has long held a place in my heart. It is pure landlocked surf, thrashing and raving with reverb and thunder. The drums are almost lost in the mix, but it all seems to work.

Beachhead dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the B-side to the Breakers' better known surf obscuro "Jet Stream." It's a basic surf riff, not particularly out of the ordinary, though it does seem to stick with you. Solid surf AABA tune, with plenty of energy and reverb.

Jet Stream dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Jet Stream" is a very fine typically surf structured and delivered tune, with solid double picking, and jet engine sound effects overdubbed. The ringing whammy and the melodic lead progression are perfectly set for a surf ride across your speakers.

Doheny Stomp dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

In 1963, before the Breakers cut "Jet Stream," they recorded this demo. Transferred to acetate, it has a lower fidelity sound than their single, but certainly no less energy. It possesses an honesty found in early formative tracks from bands. Its melody line is excellent, and the energy is infectious. Excellent track.

Flip Side dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Rumbles were a Council Bluffs band founded in 1962. "Flip Side" is the obvious titled flip side of their "Wail It" single. It features a damped lead which delivers an infectious melody over a round and rolling backtrack. Right from the whammied opening chord, this fine track captures your heart. Great landlocked surf.

Fall Out dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This obscuro uses a pretty cool drum beat, and a basic chord progression to match, both of which are not the usual surf beat. The melody riff is classic combo surf. Infectious and very fun. "Fall Out" sports an explosion, which is a recording of a real atomic blast, and for which the tune is named.

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.

Theme For A DJ dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Theme For A DJ" was originally as "Starfire." Not exactly a surf tune, but an excellent side trip into clean and melodic femme rock instro with whammy and ample friendliness.

The Gorp dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Pretenders were a Minnesota band, and not related at all to any of the California bands of that name.. Originally called "Hammerhead," "The Gorp" is a monster tune based on surf. It's more riffy and novelty than I care for, but still so rare it's worth a spin.

Surfer's Dream dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Surfer's Dream" is the real thing, richly toned and melodic, and original single note low-E surf. Mystical and infectious, this is a wonderful find from 1963. The waves are just in view as this wonderful track plays.

Tension dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Somewhat in the style of the Titans, "Tension" is a rolling infectious and quickly picked number with major draw. Thin guitar tone, but with rapid fire notes and that classic midwest surf twang, plus great rolling tom toms.

Caliente dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Marauders cut this lone guitar instro that floats on the edge of surf due to surf drums and slightly surfy whammy, and enough reverb to make the cut. The melody riff is very cool, and the the drums are great.

The Marauder dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

No relation at all to the band on the previous track, or the Sacramento band, Marrell's Marauders were from Madison, Wisconsin. They morphed their name from the Marauders after realizing how many other bands used the same name. In 1964, two years after forming, they cut "The Marauder" as the B-side to their "I Wanna Do It" single. It's a riffy fast and infectious Midwest charmer with tribal drums and warm guitar tone not unlike the Furys. A raspy sax fills out the break with raging guitar glissandos underneath. Pretty tuff.

Mad Surfer dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Averaging 15 years old, Springfield, Illinois' Sting Rays recorded "Mad Surfer" c/w "Surfer's Walk" in 1963. "Mad Surfer" is a raging sax and guitar glissando number with raw edge and power. More riff rock oriented, still it has a certain power and infectious feel.

Warm Wind dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

L'Anse, Michigan birthed the Vigilantes in 1959. This cross between the Champs and surf, with the raging drum solo, damped reverbed plucking, and infectious melody is one swell track. It uses a double picked lead that plays a Spanish breeze line with certain dribbling flair. The damped chops are very cool too. Excellent single.

Blue Castaway dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Shelltones were a Colorado band that were contemporaries with the Astronauts. Their "Blue Castaway" single is excellent. It's slow, but very dramatic and with excellent drums. The melody is not squishy, but rather worrisome, like an ominous offshore red sky in the morning. Really a nice track.

Mark's Blues dotdotdot
Surf Blues (Instrumental)

Much too jammy for me. This is almost entirely a blues riff with some reverb. Not interesting.