Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Surfin' Instrumentalsdotdotdot
artworkAnother bootleg comp from the Surf label. It's a pretty good cross section of classics and lesser known tracks. None of these are new to reissue. In fact, every last one has been legitimately reissued on CD from original session tapes.
Picks: The Astronauts - Baja, The Beach Boys - Surf Jam, The Beachcombers - Samoa, The Belairs - Mr. Moto, The Blazers - Bangalore, The Challengers - Our Man Flint, The Champs - Twenty Thousand Leagues, The Chantays - Pipeline, Monsoon, The Chevells - Riptide, The Frogmen - Underwater, Bobby Fuller and the Fanatics - Our Favorite Martian, The Hustlers - Inertia, The Lively Ones - Surf Rider, The Marketts - Surfer's Stomp, Out Of Limits, Balboa Blue, Jim Messina and the Jesters - Yang Bu, Jack Nitzsche - The Lonely Surfer, The Royal Coachmen - Repeating, Loophole, The Rumblers - Boss, The Sandals - Theme From 'The Endless Summer', The Surfaris - Wipe Out, The Tornadoes - Bustin' Surfboards, The Trashmen - Miserlou, The Ventures - Walk, Don't Run '64, Hawaii Five-0, Diamond Head

Track by Track Review


The Astronauts - Baja dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Baja" displays power of their trademark three guitar line up, and shows what a few weeks at RCA Hollywood could do. Actually, having said that, I'd really like to remix this. The lead guitar is too loud in the mix. Anyway, if there's a list of the ten most significant surf singles, this must be on it. Hazelwood had a knack for melody, and the Astronauts had a knack for the sound, and together, look out!

The Beach Boys - Surf Jam dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is probably the most energetic of the Beach Boys instro sessions. It is mostly a jam, as the title suggests, but it is infectious and fun. The rhythmic chunk carries it off.

The Beachcombers - Samoa dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is easily one of my favorite all time surf instros, and it's Richie Podolor on guitar and penmanship, of course. What a grand sound. The Mermen do this very well. It became "Quiet Surf" when it was recorded for the Rising Surf album. This is simply stunning, with rolling exotic tom toms and a totally different treatment than the more familiar Richie Allen & the Pacific Surfers' session.

The Belairs - Mr. Moto dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is it, their claim to fame, their most familiar song, and the first surf release from May 1961 on Arvee Records. "Mr. Moto" is just about the most influential surf instro ever. "Mr. Moto" came to be a surf classic, and was recorded and released months before Dick Dale's "Let's Go Trippin'," before he opened the Rendezvous Ballroom, and before it was called surf. If you must draw a line in the sand, it must be drawn here. "Mr. Moto" was recorded at Liberty.

Covered by countless others, this song features 15 year olds Paul Johnson and Eddie Bertrand trading guitar parts in their trademark style on a prototypical PJ writing masterpiece. Jim Roberts' piano work is stunningly perfect for this song. A historical absolutely must have!

The Blazers - Bangalore dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a MONSTER track! The Blazers were one hell of a surf band. The guitar tones are piercingly powerful, and the rippin' double pickin' is a sound to behold. It is melodic, hot, infectious, and among the best twenty vintage surf instros. Why it wasn't a hit, I'll never know. Totally great!

The Challengers - Our Man Flint dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

By the time these guys got to GNP, they'd lost all of their surf authenticity, and had become a Southern California Ventures, covering everyone else with nearly MOR arrangements, and little imagination. They were not quite the style chameleons that the Pacific Northwest boys were, but did produce a lot of flaccid material. This is a pedestrian an uninteresting cover of the spy theme.

The Champs - Twenty Thousand Leagues dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The bubbles open "Twenty Thousand Leagues," which drifts into an echoed tremolo grinder with nasty sax. This is one of the most surf tracks from The Champs. It's quite cool in a slow dark sorta way.

The Chantays - Pipeline dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

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 Chantays - Monsoon dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Follow up single to "Pipeline," this track is unusual and infectious. It's got an excellent rhythm and just seems to grab the listener. The excellent melody line right perfect, and the piano is very tasty. It appears here in stereo for the first time.

The Chevells - Riptide dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Totally infectious rhythm track, nearly all chords, reverbed lightly, and tom tom driven. "Riptide" is in the same style as its flip side "Let There Be Surf." Very infectious.

The Frogmen - Underwater dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Frogmen romp with "Underwater." It's very much a surf precursor, and important for that reason. Numerous of their tracks have appeared on various budget comps over the past few years.

Bobby Fuller and the Fanatics - Our Favorite Martian dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Bobby Fuller played some of the best surf instros on the gentler side of the track. This recording is essential to any surf collection. It begins with a slowed reverb kick, and moves right into one of the most recognizable of the more obscure instros. The structure and sound are perfectly surf, and the energy and style are exquisite. This is the full track, without being faded for the single, including the post performance tape echo swell.

The Hustlers - Inertia dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a cool track, both ominous and inviting. It has a unique rhythm, a simplicity that draws you in, and a magical sound. It has a delicacy about it, lurking under a quiet power. Like a swell, it rolls in poetically while hiding immense power just under the surface. The mid-fast tempo, and the tinkly piano break are too cool. Very nice.

The Lively Ones - Surf Rider dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is what happens when a real surf band covers a Nokie Edwards (Ventures) tune that had no relation to surf as written. In fact, it started life as a Potato concept song called "Spudnik." It is the short fade-out length version, and in mono.

The Marketts - Surfer's Stomp dot
Big Band (Instrumental)

Frankly, Susan and the SurfTones do the best version of this song. This is simple slow paced innocent instrumental rock and roll, with great piano and saucy sax. Infectious and unpretentious. Don't look for the classic surf sound here, but do enjoy the simplicity and fun. Smooth and right nice.

The Marketts - Out Of Limits dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the hit. It sports the great guitar work of Tommy Tedesco. It's infectious little riff was heard everywhere in the hey day of surf. It's quite a rock standard. This track blends surf with Joe Saraceno's orchestral thinking, guitars, French horns, and bells. Unlike almost all of the Marketts' tracks, this features the lead guitar as the lead instrument, and approximates real surf music. It is a studio session, with Tommy Tedesco on lead, but it rips right nicely. A classic surf hit.

The Marketts - Balboa Blue dotdotdot
Big Band (Instrumental)

As the years went by, he strayed even farther from the genre under continued use of names like the Routers and the Marketts. Kinda cool for a gimmicky horn band thing.

Jim Messina and the Jesters - Yang Bu dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Super chunky mean surf. The boys scream and shout relentlessly. The melody is shallow, but the ominous nature of the tune is very magnetic. This is a powerful and vicious surf track. It is also the Jesters' most familiar track.

Jack Nitzsche - The Lonely Surfer dotdotdot
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.

The Royal Coachmen - Repeating dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A soft spoken riff barely developed beyond frat jam, but with just enough hook in the break to keep it afloat, and a delicate surf sound. No where near as cool as "Loophole." The original issue was on Challenge in 1964.

The Royal Coachmen - 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.

The Rumblers - Boss dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is the Rumblers lone national hit, and was the basis for their follow up singles "Boss Strikes Back," "Son of Boss," and "Boss Drums." Heavily R&B based, rhythmic and grumbly, its catchy thump and honkin' grodiness are essential listening for ant fan of the genre.

The Sandals - Theme From 'The Endless Summer' dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Theme From The Endless Summer" is a world renowned tune. It incorporates nontraditional instruments and has been an influence to many others. The use of melodica is particularly interesting.

The Surfaris - Wipe Out dotdotdotdot
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.

The Tornadoes - 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.

The Trashmen - Miserlou dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A softer sound than Dick Dale, but equally fiery. This shows off Tony Andreason's double picking prowess, and the solid sense of ensemble that this fine band reached. This is a very strong track.

The Ventures - Walk, Don't Run '64 dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Ventures had already become the chameleons of rock by the time surf came along a mere few months after they cut "Walk, Don't Run" in 1960. They adapted quickly, morphing their crown jewel tune into a surf classic by adding reverb and glissandos. It's way fun.

The Ventures - Hawaii Five-0 dotdotdot
TV Surf (Instrumental)

Often covered TV theme song from the chameleons of instro rock from the 1968 TV series.

The Ventures - Diamond Head dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Danny Hamilton's classic instro, and among the very few surf singles the Ventures issued. Classic.