Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Surf Music's Greatest Hitsdotdot
artworkThis is not a particularly interesting collect. It's more like the stuff you find in the bargain bins at K-Mart.
Picks: The Beach Boys - Wipe Out, The Challengers - Out Of Limits, Johnny and the Hurricanes - Beatnik Fly, The Marketts - Surfer's Stomp, The Routers - Sting Ray, The Ventures - Walk, Don't Run, Hawaii Five-O, Pipeline

Track by Track Review

The Beach Boys - Wipe Out dot
Surf (Instrumental)

Almost (not quite) the lamest version of "Wipe Out" I've ever heard, and too slow to be meaningful. Reminds me of a band just learning a song by playing it at half speed to get the notes right.

The Challengers - Out Of Limits dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

True to the original Mar-Kets' version, this cover has nothing special or new
going on.

Johnny and the Hurricanes - Beatnik Fly dotdotdot
Organ Sax (Instrumental)

This is track morphing a traditional song, as was the majority of the singles from this band. "Blue Tail Fly [Jimmy Crack Corn and I Don't Care]" became "Beatnik Fly" over a cool backtrack and Dave Yorko's great guitar. The intro is so sad, then the Beat rhythm, breaks out and the cool jazz bass line, and then that whistlin' organ and mumblin' sax. It's way fun and melodic.

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 Routers - Sting Ray dot
Rock (Instrumental)

Aside from the car horn basis of this gimmicky track, there's little to attract the fan of real rock 'n' roll instros or surf here. This was also issued as "Ah-OO-Ga" or some such.

The Ventures - Walk, Don't Run dotdotdotdotdot
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 presurf 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.

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

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

The Ventures - Pipeline dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Ventures recorded "Pipeline" with no reverb, and very uneven glissando meter, plus little of the emotional beauty of the Chantays' original classic. It's a flat-pickers rendition, not particularly interesting.