Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Totally Tubulardotdotdotdotdot
artworkFundraiser 2002 warrants another fine surf instro release from KFJC. This year, it's an extra special 2 CD set, with 21 bands on disc 1, and a full hour of a live performance by the Eliminators. That's over two hours of instrumental music, all live, most from performances in KFJC's Pit, and all unavailable anywhere else.

To get your copy, surf to kfjc.org.
Picks: Surf's Up, Centipede, Dreams, Skawboy, Banzai Pipeline, Wild As The Sea, Endless Summer, It Came In The Wind, Return To The Oort Cloud (Slight Return), Apache Drummer Boy, Margarita Meltdown, Baja, The Crawler / Moon Dawg, Senorita, Daguire, Kabalah, Casbah, SO BO!, Gird Thy Sword On, Lost In Mazatlan, Miserlou, Untitled, Rincon, Punta Baja, Bone Cruncher, Latin'ia, Boneyard, Six Pack, Depth Charge, Endless Summer, The Wedge, Johnny's Nose Ride, Doho, Surfin' Spies, Chief Whoopin' Koff, Surf Buggy, Caterpillar Crawl, Miserlou

Track by Track Review


Surf's Up dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

John Blair's rousing introduction from the Live At The Whiskey album and a glorious stereo outboard reverb crash open this disc, foretelling of the surf to come. This is the the classic intro to my show on KFJC.

Centipede dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is just about their most surfy, best track. It is powerful, full of tones in very corner, melodic, infectious, and just plain wonderful. The melody is lonesome mean, the rolling drums are spectacular, and the growling keyboard under it all holds it together. Even Joey’s out of tune sax is perfect for the track. Totally necessary eighties surf. Recorded 8/19/86

Dreams dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Knock me out, why don't you! Shigeo Naka's amazing Japanese band the Surf Coasters bowled me over with their original release. I've been waiting patiently for someone to cove it. When the Mach IV did it in soundcheck, I knew this was going to be a magical night. They don't overdrive the punch like the Surf Coasters, but very other twist and turn is there, and the more delicate approach adds a new dimension to this fine instro. Thank you Mach IV!

Skawboy dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A delicately damp-picked intro gives way to a spaghetti western style melody over a near ska rhythm that gradually goes faster and faster until double picking and glissandoes take over, transitioning into an almost Cossack sound. Very interesting and cool.

Banzai Pipeline dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a very jazzy and hard edged version of the Henry Mancini surf groove. The guitar and trumpet play against each other, punctuated with big chord guitar breaks and very tough drums. What happenes with the quirky beat of this song at the hands of this large band is spectacular. Long edgy notes punctuating drums, with horn blasts and keys reverberating in the ether. Rock solid!

Wild As The Sea dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a magnificent song. When covered before, "Wild As The Sea" has been treated to a light weight arrangement as intended. The Shi-tones bring higher volume and intensity to it, transitioning it from gentle shore break to angry storm surf. Excellent!

Endless Summer dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Jay Hector captured this three set performance of Dead Men Don't Surf at Tumbleweeds in January of 2000. This is a lush and delicate version of the Sandals' classic film score, with rich almost lap steel accents. The lead is damped and only slightly reverbed. The shimmering of the second guitar mixed with romantic bass and perfectly brushed drums. Ron Eglit narrates misadventure and an introduces the band as ..".Dead Men Don't Surf, better known as the Dickless Del-tones." In places, you can detect the artful influence of the Mermen and the keyboard prowess of sixties West Coast jazz.

It Came In The Wind dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

As Dino said in the introduction, "this song is about a smell... a surf smell." A great performance of one of Dino's more fluid compositions. Tribal, chunky, and full of life.

Return To The Oort Cloud (Slight Return) dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

3 Balls Of Fire made their Pitstop in July 2002 during their West Coast tour. The band's lineup on this set is Mike Vernon - guitar, Homer Henderson - guitar, Pierre Pelegrin - bass, and Nico Leofante. Their performance was angular and rich, with inspired playing from all.

Ringing exotic strangitude, with glorious tone and rich visions. Rhythmic in a sub-funk way, like a liquid groove, "Return From The Oort Cloud" is a one of a kind creation. Very cool!

Apache Drummer Boy dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Now this is stunning! This track features two very dramatic performances of the Christmas classic "Little Drummer Boy" a.k.a. "The Saracen Gift" and "Apache."

"The Saracen Gift" is slow and intensely sultry, with lots of drama and silky tones, accented with delicate feedback and amazing drums. There's a fast and dribbling part too, but mostly it's amazingly deliberate and dramatic.

Jerry Lordan's classic "Apache" is slowed down to a sinewy liquid pace and laid out with stunning drama. Amazing!

Margarita Meltdown dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Moody and exuberant, and dramatic too, "Margarita Meltdown" is simply a very cool track. Tribal drums and splashy Mexican themes, with a melody line which is really infectious. An excellent performance.

Baja dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Vintage classic sound flows from John Blair's guitar while the Halibuts deliver a restrained and highly rhythmic backtrack to this definitive surf tune. Very cool.

This performance was recorded live at Summer Surf II.

John Blair (Jon and the Nightriders) is backed by the Halibuts, which featured Pete Curry - guitar, Rick Johnson - guitar, Bruce Paddy - keyboard, Randy Haskins - drums, and Joey Lyou - sax, with Mike Palm (Agent Orange / Deoras) sitting in on bass.

The Crawler / Moon Dawg dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"The Crawler" was a song that the Belairs had in their set since 1960 when they Paul Johnson first committed to tape in his bedroom with Eddie Bertrand. They never released it as a single or even properly recorded it back then. It's a basic riff rocker with derived from Little Anthony and the Imperials' "Shimmy Shimmy Koko Bop." Here, it's grindy, garagy, and captivating. It transitions into the Gamblers' "Moon Dawg" as it speed up and becomes a high spirited rocker.

This track was recorded in 1986 at the first South Bay Surfband Reunion in Torrence, California. Paul Johnson put together three authentic lineups of the Belairs. This is from the second lineup performance, with Paul Johnson - guitar, Eddie Bertrand - guitar, Dickie Dodd - drums, and Chas Stewart - sax. Note that there was no bass player in the Belairs, as was the case for most of their sixties existence.

Senorita dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Senorita" is a pretty track with an upbeat Spanish theme. The ringing Fender tone and percussion make this track sparkle. Infectious and punchy, the reverb splashes and the riff smiles upon you. This a great song!

The Dynotones are from SoCal, and are quite active in clubs there.

Daguire dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Daguire" is a very sad and beautiful romantic song. It changes pace at times. Quite exotic and smooth.

Kabalah dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Talk about dark! As you can well imagine from the title, "Kabalah" is not your typical optimistic surf melody. Rhythmic and thunderous, it's just plain dangerous, with fear permeating every corner of this dark surf epic.

Casbah dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Sandy Nelson' "Casbah" is presented with splendid drive and acute rhythm. This tune was written by Richie Podolor, who played the original lead while Sandy Nelson pummeled the drums. Most of the covers of this tune miss Sandy's great drums work completely, but this is spot-on. Powerful, very surfy, and quite infectious. Incidentally, shortly after Nelson's fist single success with "Teen Beat," he lost his right foot in an auto accident. Still, he was able to create unique and powerful drum work.

SO BO! dotdotdotdotdot
Surfabilly (Instrumental)

Hoe-down with Link lurking in the amplifier. A great song with raspy vibrato and oh-so cool tribal drums. The double picking is quite intense.

Gird Thy Sword On dotdotdotdotdot
Progressive Christian Surf (Instrumental)

This is one of the best of Paul Johnson's modern instros. It transcend any notion of genre. It surfs, it flows with progressive blood, and it rails against the darkness. Stunning performance and exceptional writing.

This was recorded at the 1986 South Bay Surfband Reunion in Torrence.

Lost In Mazatlan dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Spanish themes, crunchy sounds, infectious melody, power and subtlety combine to create a rather spiffy track. I particularly like the fluidity of the song, almost tango or Flamenco like. It has the same sort of chorded power and feel as the Torpedoes' "Spanish Main," but it is more melodic and less thrashy. I love this!

Miserlou dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Now, this is a gnarly cut! "Miserlou" was captured live at the first Louie Louie Parade in San Francisco where Da Monz was the stage band for Richard Berry, the man who wrote "Louie Louie." They played this as a show closer. The sound is from the house, which I mixed. It's rough, full of warts, and perfectly exciting!

Da Monz was the step parent of the Berzerkers.

Untitled dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a highly rhythmic track, with a circular melody line and post surf structure. While played on reverbed Fender equipment, the and decidedly in the surf genre, this song also uses elements common to some mid sixties folk rock, perhaps like a budding MFQ, and some guitar lines that are right out of 1965-66 San Francisco. From these aural qualities, I am convinced that it was recorded in the Bay Area around that time.

I don't really know anything about this track for sure. It showed up on a reel of Shamrock tape in a box donated by a kindly old gentleman. He dropped off the box of aging tapes, and then vanished before anyone could get his name.

What I can tell you is that the track you hear came from that reel, which was a partial track of an ambiently recorded rehearsal of a surf instrumental. I reconstructed the complete track from the fragment on the reel, mixed it to mono to mask the crude stereo of the original, and altered the EQ to redistribute the aural spectrum more evenly. The result is pretty darn good, as you'll hear. When I sent the track to John Blair for his thoughts, he concurred with my general conclusions, and added that he thought it sounded familiar. We both think this was band that went on to some notoriety in the burgeoning Bay Area scene, but neither of us are able to tie the track to a band or any musicians. Perhaps you know who these people are!

Rincon dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Throbbing and tribal, and very mean! The thunder is enormous, and the rhythmic power is undeniable! melodic and playful, writhing and dangerous.

Punta Baja dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

So fine live! Like "Dawn Patrol," this is rhythm dominated. The Spanish elements rule, and it's reverb is more present. It floats through the rhythm and the whammy, drifts into a dribbled double-pick, eventually arriving at a dramatic very mean sax break. Great!

Bone Cruncher dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Too hot, right from the first slapped note. This track simply pummels. Great energy, fine writing, exquisite sounds, and infectious down-the-highway kinda pace. The big whammy chord break is really cool, especially where it yields to back to the prime current.

Latin'ia dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A crunchier treatment, more immediate and rhythmic. Tommy Nunes' gorgeous "Latin'ia" is so fine! The bongos are cool, as is the additional percussion. Beautiful Fender tones. Very good listening.

Boneyard dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Jungle drums, heavily picked pure Fender surf guitars, and major energy. Fast, mean tone, and shredding picking. Chunky, very melodic, ominous, and very powerful.

Six Pack dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a respectful and rhythmic delivery of the Sandals' tune, with shimmering vibrato slightly infused into the lead guitar. It rings out with happiness.

Depth Charge dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Jon and the Nightriders early power tune, pounded out with mean energy, and pure surf sound. Chunky, and tribal rhythmic. The wonderful damped chops in sync with the drums give the rhythm depth, and the bongos add a kinda tiki quality.

Endless Summer dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a super cover of the Bruce Brown film title originally done by the Sandals. It's accurate right down to the acoustic rhythm guitar and melodica, and the bongos fit in perfectly. Great.

The Wedge dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With a rolling drum cadence unlike the Hal Blaine classic, but still very effective, this cover of the Challengers' 1964 monster takes right off, powering its way through the afternoon sun. Rhythm and power dominated, melodic and with really fine drums.

Johnny's Nose Ride dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A solid performance of a very melodic track with lots power and style. Catchy, energetic, and very well played. Infectious and essential surf.

Doho dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Echoplexed intro notes precede a rhythmic song, with a fine sax lead, and both guitars chunking out infectious tones and rhythms.

Surfin' Spies dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Spy flick medley, fun and enjoyable. The slightly harmonic whammy is splendid. It has all the trappings of the classic spy melodies of John Barry, and borrows a riff or two from him for good measure.

Chief Whoopin' Koff dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This cover of the Fireballs' tune is fuller than the Armory take, reverbed slightly more, and includes more sax in the mix for more knife's edge rawness. Very fine track, accurate and energetic, and meaner than the original.

Surf Buggy dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Great cover of Dick Dale's chunky funky rhythmic progressional album cut. I love this. The sax parts are hot, the chunk is rhythmically dominant, and the band just rocks. Too cool.

Caterpillar Crawl dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Much more pristine, and more dramatic than the other live version. The angry sax is so mean! Great string bending. Plundering relentless low down grodiness.

Miserlou dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This was the show stopping last song. It's long, and sports an incredible solo by Joe Kurkowski, played entirely with the guitar behind his head. Unbelievable to watch, and all the more remarkable to listen to when you realize that. This track finds Dick Dale and the Lively Ones blended together and put to shame. Amazing!