Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Surf's Updotdotdotdot
artworkThis comp is a British Import of all Del-Fi material. There's nothing new or unusual here, but if your just cracking open your skull to let the surf in, 29 vintage surf instros from some of the best bands anywhere for around 11 dollars is a deal you can't pass up. That's just 38 cents a track! There are 29 instrio tracks, with the 30th being a very rare vocal by the Truants called "Surfing Is The Only Life For Me" with writer listed as unknown, but of course it's the Beach Boys' "Surfin'" that the Truants are doing. The liner notes are written by Alan Taylor and Dave Burke of Pipeline Instrumental Review.
Picks: Wipe Out, Bullwinkle Part 2, Church Key, Surf Rider, Big Surf, Misirlou, Surfari, Steel Pier, Thunder Reef, Let's Go Trippin', Intoxica, Moment Of Truth, Pipeline, Moongoon Twist, Tor-Chula, Sleep Walk, Miserlou, Mr. Moto, Fort Lauderdale, Kings Surf, Surf Beat, Exotic, Rik-A-Tik, Church Key, High Tide, Wolfman, Surf Party (Surfers Delight), Surf Battle (Goofy Foot)

Track by Track Review


Wipe Out dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This required repertoire number has been covered and covered, and then covered some more. No one does it like Ron Wilson. Still, this is a serviceable rendition.

Bullwinkle Part 2 dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This unusual track was featured prominently in the cult film Pulp Fiction, which thrust this otherwise little know band into the frontal lobes of the American conscience. The track is oddly structured, and very cool. I like the rawness of the original better, but the sense of ensemble here leaves this to be the over all fave.

Church Key dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dave produced a unique arrangement of a song that was recorded by a bazillion instro bands, making it his own. I like it better than the original Revels version because of Dave's great double picking throughout matched exactly by his marvelous drummer. One of the better covers of the Revel's classic, and certainly the most surfy under it's original name.

Surf Rider dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is what happens when a real surfband 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." This is the grand and beautiful song that runs under the ending credits of Pulp Fiction. This is the full length version, not the single edit.

Big Surf dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Great tracks come in many flavors. Here, the Sentinals create an amazingly interesting tune from a few sparse notes and chords, and the imagery of big stormy threatening waves in unmistakable. What a killer track.

Misirlou dotdotdotdot
Spy Surf (Instrumental)

No match for the Dick Dale version, but a damn fine rendition anyway. This has something magnetic about it, even though it is in some ways light weight.

Surfari dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Original Surfaris' "Surfari" is a really cool high energy number that has been only narrowly circulated and covered even more rarely. It has a bunch of energy, great low-E double picked leads and a solid helping of hooks. Great track

Steel Pier dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Except for "Sea Horse," this is Merrell Fankhauser's best writing, as evidenced by the number of covers out there. It features a simple melody line with drum breaks and a dark brooding tone in an infectious setting. Very cool.

Thunder Reef dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Thunder Reef is a riff-rockin' surf instro, with not much reverb, and little melody. The stompin' sensibilities are dominant, and the rhythm is infectious. A fairly tame track over all.

Let's Go Trippin' dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A pretty standard cover of Dick Dale's first instro hit.

Intoxica dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Centurions were a mighty tough band, somewhere between the San Luis Obispo R&B sound and LA surf. One of the better versions of this tune. They had such a mean sound.

Moment Of Truth dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dave's interpretation of the Original Surfaris masterpiece "Moment Of Truth" is nothing short of essential listening. What Dave does with it transforms it from a stomp on demand surf obscuro to a melodic rolling almost entirely new song. The melody has been embellished, and the whole sense of rhythm has been replaced with something so infectious that it is irresistible. The use of tenor sax gives it a near-jazz element that adds to the mystery. This remains among my all-time favorite surf tracks.

Pipeline dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Probably the best period cover of the Chantays' surf archetype. The dribbling glissando opener is stunningly effective, and the whole track reeks power and speed. A totally great track.

Moongoon Twist dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a mighty dry riff rock track, with only it's disjointed energy to rely on. Not very interesting or memorable. Just old. The Moongooners were Scott Engel, John Maus, and John Stewart, who became the Walker Brothers after a stint as the Dolton Brothers. Scott Engel issued a surf instro single called "Devil Surfer." The tone here is similar, but it's much less "authentic."

Tor-Chula dotdotdotdot
Soul Surf (Instrumental)

A Latin Laguna Luau party number from the minds of San Luis Obispo or Pismo Beach... I forget. One of their more ethnic numbers, very Latino and very wonderful. This Latin soul jazzy number has been one of my faves for a millennium (almost). It has a really cool soulful feel and great damped barely reverbed guitar. A brilliant arrangement.

Sleep Walk dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Standard fair, with pretty decent slides to simulate the lap steel. Slow dance romantic.

Miserlou dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Bobby Fuller and the Fanatics / The Bobby Fuller Four had hits with "I Fought The Law," "Love's Made A Fool Of You," and "Let Her Dance." Bobby loved the surf sound, but his other guitarist Jim Reese hated it. So, they only recorded a handful of instros, like the legendary "Our Favorite Martian." Here we have a live performance of "Miserlou" from PJ's in '65 (or, as has been reported elsewhere, from '64 in Texas?). This is a monster performance. Too bad the recording sux, because this would rule heavily! Great to see it here. Bobby was a great surf guitarist. There are several Bobby Fuller Four CD's available, and an instrumental CD coming from Del-Fi.

Mr. Moto dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Among the first bands labeled as a Surf Band, the Belairs first single (recorded in May 1961, three months before Dick Dale's first surf single) became a fixture of the set lists of nearly every surf band in the world. The Lively Ones took it a step further, playing with more speed and fire than anyone at the time. Great version. Quite intense.

Fort Lauderdale dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Among the Impacts better tracks. Their recordings were ok, but not great. They canŐt be counted among the seminal bands, but their album was good.

Kings Surf dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A nasty honky number, sax driven with really clean and precise glissandoes as only Dave Myers can play them.

Surf Beat dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A less gutty sound than the Dick Dale original, but a cool track anyway.

Exotic dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is easily one of the hottest surf instro tracks that doesn't rely totally on double picking, not that there isn't a major slab of it, but the bridges are chorded dramatic power chords before there was such a thing. Completely different than the original Mariachi arrangement, with the horns replaced by the guitar in the lead role. This is among my all time faves. Super powerful, hot playing, fast paced, and wonderful! Tommy Nuñes' work here is beyond reproach.

Rik-A-Tik dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Fireballs's were closer to the surf sound than any other pre-surf instro band. This tune was quite dry and much less interesting than what these guys did with it. It's just about the happiest surf rave anywhere. An absolute must have classic track.

Church Key dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is like a lo-fi track of the Centurions doing the Revels' "Church Key." It's nasty and primitive, over reverbed and very low-E.

High Tide dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is one of the most infectious and fiery surf instros anywhere. It flies through a staccato lead line, and a softer break. Very powerful. This is one of my favorite classic surf tracks. (fake stereo)

Wolfman dotdotdotdot
Border Radio Surf (Instrumental)

This is very similar to The Lonely Dragster, with Bobby's Wolfman Jack imitation overdubbed, and wolf baying added. It's pretty surfy, chunky, and moderately paced. It's a cool track, dripping the early sixties border radio days when Wolfman Jack was on XERB beaming into California (and on XERF and others along the border as well). Saturday nights, car radios were tuned to XERB, KRLA, KFWB, KHJ, KAFY, KFXM, or KGFJ, from which oozed out the surf, the rock, and the R&B that drove a generation.

Surf Party (Surfers Delight) dotdotdot
Frat Rockin' Almost Surf (Instrumental)

This is just a frat party instro, as Bruce was want to record. It appeared on KFWB Battle Of The Surfing Bands. It uses a Duane Eddy guitar sound, and a honky sax main track.

Surf Battle (Goofy Foot) dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A high power track is an essential part of any vintage surf collection. This is just about the best Lively Ones track ever! Fast, powerful, high energy, ripping good guitar work, ample changes. Stunning! It's been covered, but never matched.