Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA Collection: The Ultimate '60s Surf Classics
|OK, first the good news. This mp3 only collection is very reasonably priced - 101 instros for $18 smackers, and there are lots of cool things here. Many tracks are from pretty good sources. For the bad news, there are a tracks from un-restored vinyl with stereo artifacts in tact, and there are more than a few tracks from fake bands that mostly lack any chemistry or serve any purpose here. It's unlikely that most of this is actually legally licensed, but I suppose it's possible. There are also a significant number of badly spelled or incorrect artist names and titles. The peace symbol ought to be your first clue that the collection is questionable - wrong period altogether. So, lots for not much, some is discardable.|
Picks: The Blazers - Poison, The Bounty Hunters - Echo Express, Craig Cahill and the Offbeats - Surfin' Elephant, The Centuries - Outer Limits, The Champs - Tequila, The Chancellors - Jam, Mach One, The Citations - Headache, The Corvairs - Something Wild, Freddy Countryman - Back Up And Push, The Cre-Shells - Dracula, B. B. Cunningham - Pagan Rock, Dominic and the Dominos - Dominic's Inferno, The Fender IV - Everybody Up, H. E. Ferrell and his No. 1 Boys - She Giggles, The Five More - Avalanche, The Futuras - Mile Zero, The Gamblers - Moon Dawg, Frankie Gem - Crystal Rock, The Holidays - Concussion, Jeujene and the Jaybops - Thunderin' Guitar, The Jesters - Side Track, The Knights - Tale Of A 280 Pound Shoe Salesman, Lenny and the Continentals - Yankee Doodle Rock, The Majestics - Big Noise From Makaha, The Marauders - Slidin' In, The Marlins - Let Down, Marty and the Monks - Mexican Party, Mic's Masters - Sandstorm, The Monarchs - Friday Night, The Montereys - Blast Off, The Mustangs - Jack The Ripper, The Mysterions - Jerico Rock, The Mysteriums - The Savage, The Nobles - Body Surf, Earthquake, The Novas - Take Seven, Danny Steel - Chinese Twist, The Patents - Blue Surf, The Renegades - Charge, Geronimo, The Renegades V - Love And Fury, (Original) Rhythm Rockers - Madness, The Rialtos - Like Thunder, The Royals - Precision, The Run-A-Bouts - Wild Fire, Ted Russell and his Rhythm Rockers - Brang, Satelliten - Scary Night, The Scarlets - Stampede, The Scavengers - Curfew, The Shut Downs - Straight Away, The Silvertones - Bathsheba, The Spotnicks - Spanish Gypsy Dance, Sputnicks - So Much Love, The Starfires - Billy's Blues, The Storms - Thunder, The Swanks - Ghost Train, The T-Birds - Thunder Rock, The Tempos - Heartbeat, The Terry-Tones - Sinner, The Thunder Heads - Thunder Head, The Titans - Reveille Rock, Unknown Group - The Fifth Dimension, The Vara-tones - Repeto, Bob Vaught and the Renegaids - Exotic, The Vectors - Downhill, The Velaires - Brazil, The Vibrants - Wild Fire, Scorpion, Jerry Warren - Tremble, Zorba and the Greeks - Shockwave
Track by Track Review
This track opens with a rising cymbal brush, enjoys surf tones, and employs a contrast between the slightly reverbed lead and the dry rhythm. Somewhat tribal drums and a walking bass line support the track. It's interesting, but not very remarkable. It is likely not the same band as did "Sounds Of Mecca" and "Bangalore," judging from the tones and sound.
The Bounty Hunters - Echo Express
Primeval Pre Surf (Instrumental)
This is one penetrating guitar instro. The lead guitar uses tape echo and a fast decay to create an intense stinging tone. There's little to call a melody, mostly just a riff, but man-o-man is this powerful. It's a natural for a surf treatment.
Craig Cahill and the Offbeats - Surfin' Elephant
This is a playful and highly rhythmic mid tempo number that brings a smile to the face. It shows off tight meter and synchronization. It makes you wanna move. The Surf Raiders covered this in the early eighties.
The Centuries - Outer Limits
With almost "Boondocker" rhythm guitar work, warbly leads and behind the bridge notes permeating the track, this stands out as one of the most unusual surf releases. It's ominous and weird, and surfing aliens written all over it. Too cool!
Latin R&B Rock (Instrumental)
This is their BIG HIT!. It is a sax based number that was probably the frat house standard, long before "Louie Louie" was. The spoken "Tequila" at the end of the lines has become a standard of Latin party rock. Very infectious.
Echoed guitar and crispy snare drum, and a raging fifties riff combine in an near surf track that sounds like a Midwest surf band like the Titans. Fast and fun, rhythmic and infectious. Much less like a jam than the title indicates.
The Chancellors - Mach One
Simulated hot rod engine sounds from the guitars, a flying double picked lead that's slightly reverbed, and a simple progression that is made palatable by the changes used to break the sameness. The first verse is double picked, the second lets the sax play lead, the third is single picked, then back through the changes to flying double picked finale. This is a quite a nice find.
I don't know if this is the Midwest Citations. It doesn't sound much like them, though some guitar tones are similar in some spots. It's a super hot surf based jam, with more frat band screaming than it needs. It's hot and way fun. The speedy playing on the lead is quite nice where double picking is employed. The behind the bridge plucking is cool too.
The Continental Four - Scramble
With a "Wipe Out" (Surfaris) inspired opening laugh and a cry of "Scramble," this is fun but unremarkable. The sound is thin and the style is fifties party rockin' B-side.
The Corvairs - Something Wild
Hand claps and raw guitar play basic riffin' progression over a budding surf beat. This grows on you, in part because it's got energy and great drums, and because it sports primitive early distortion.
Raging two chord filler, relying solely on it's edge and volume to carry it off. Fun, but no particularly interesting, and quite unimaginative musically.
Freddy Countryman - Back Up And Push
Pre Surf (Instrumental)
Piano and guitar rock with a catchy riff and a lumbering pace. "Back Up And Push" passes between typical fifties B-side rock and not quite surf. Beyond a riff rocker, with great piano plinkery.
Great reverb kick opening, ultra reverb guitars, Link Wray "Rumble" lead lines, thundering rhythm guitar... it may be badly recorded, with the bass and drums almost missing, but it's quite tribal and intense. The boys shout it out while they rave up. The reverb kicks are the best part.
B. B. Cunningham - Pagan Rock
Pre Surf (Instrumental)
Mostly primitive fifties riff rock, but the break features some damped almost reverbed plucking that's presurf in nature. With some big reverb, "Pagan Rock" could easily be called "Pagan Surf". A nice track.
Surf Rock (Instrumental)
Crude jam rock, edgy with glissandos and wham, but unremarkable. More or less just chord progressions and mindless jam lines.
Hayward Davis and his Quintet - Bubble Gum Rock
Piano roll blues with sax and bass and drums. You can see the diamond-ringed fingers pumping out the plinkery. The guitar break is pedestrian, but otherwise, this is a tasty bar room romp.
The Devrons - Brand X
FiftiesRock & Roll (Instrumental)
Echo drenched and palm damped, a catchy progression, but not much more.
The Devrons - Battle Hymn
One of a million instros based on "The Battle Hymn Of the Republic," the Devrons overdubbed gunshots and ricochets. Just so-so
Dominic and the Dominos - Dominic's Inferno
Midwest Rock (Instrumental)
This is just a block away from the Titans in sound and approach, which places it a mere two blocks from surf street. The high note double picking is fast and furious, as were some of their contemporary Midwest bands. Definitely surfable, and more than a little fun.
The Fender IV - Everybody Up
From the first drum beat of the intro, this track shreds. The beat is strong, the rhythm infectious, and the melody incredibly good. There are few surf instros that compare to the power and energy of this magical track. Exceptionally good playing, and magnificently strong writing. The glissandos grab and shake you, leaving you spent when it's over. Originally issued in February, 1965.
H. E. Ferrell and his No. 1 Boys - She Giggles
Pre Surf (Instrumental)
Post Duane Eddy, presurf rockin' with loud lead guitar and busy piano. Pretty darn intense, and with a surfable riff.
The Five More - Avalanche
Is this one of the versions of the Handful of Fives et al with Skip and Terry Hand who were also part of the Eddie and the Showmen legacy? Doesn't matter I guess. It's fast, furious, pure surf madness, with a wailin' sax in a few verses under the lead guitar. Great picking and fiery attack.
Freddie and the Heartaches - Womp Womp
Minimally interesting fifties rockabilly fare. If not for the treatment of the sax lines, it wouldn't count at all, though it does have a cool guitar line.
Bill Friel and the Fabulous Playboys - Fort Lauderdale USA
Great spring reverb kicks, horrid screams, and fifties styled rock instro format with no reverb at all. One would think the reverb kicks were added as an afterthought to this fifties rocker to update it in a reissue attempt. Fast and furious rocker with a jam feel. What a party record! Playful, inebriated, fast pickin', and totally fun. The drummer screams and shouts, and the band races along. They were having fun, and it translates well into the recording, despite it's primitive lo-fi quality.
Echoed rockabilly styled crude surf, with no melody, but a serviceable progression and a lot of energy. The raging drums are the most interesting part of the track, though the guitar break fits the genre better than the main body of the tune.
Pre Surf (Instrumental)
Right in the pocket is "Moon Dawg" from this great studio band. "Moon Dawg" is intense and energetic. Even Paul Revere and the Raiders covered it on their first album. Producer Nik Venet did the dog howls. As a side note, the B-side of the original World Pacific single was called "LSD-25," one of the earliest drug-titled rock songs.
The Gamma Rays - Infinity
Reverb-n-echo fifties progression rock. Not very interesting, just raw and unmusical.
Frankie Gem - Crystal Rock
Faster paced, vibrato reverb twang, very playful, and very infectious. Images of children playing in the Sweetwater, maidens frolicking on the sand, a bit of country, a spot of the sea, and a rolling rhythm. What more is needed? Damn fine track.
The Holidays - Concussion
You could consider this a presurf single. Its strong reverbed guitar and raging drums are complimented by a nasty sax and thundering bass. The Holidays' "Concussion" is a riff rocker, but so were many early surf singles. It was originally issued on the Dixie label. Kinda like Al Casey's "Ramrod," kinda Duane Eddyish, with drums that sound like a surf band. Fast and powerful, with lots of drive and flair.
Larry Holloway - Going Up
Frat Rock (Instrumental)
Just a grode lo-fi riff with clapping and party shouts.
The Hurricanes - Out Of Limits
This is a low energy cover of The Mar-Kets' "Out Of Limits." I think it's fake band time again. The drums are machine like, and the whole point of the song is missed.
The Hurricanes - Let's Go Trippin'
these guys really don't get it! Minus every ounce of twang and spunk of Dick Dale and his Del-tones' original, or most of the many covers for that matter, The Hurricanes fake their way through. A fake band, I'd say.
Jeujene and the Jaybops - Thunderin' Guitar
Surfable Rock (Instrumental)
This is an intensely "hot" recording. While it's relatively primitive, it's also highly compressed and has an in-the-red quality that gives it plenty of perceived volume. The riff is more melodic than most, and is quite memorable. The lead guitarist discovered that changing octaves verse to verse provides variety without over complicating the writing. First verse is low-E, second is high-E, and the third is the sax, etc. Nice track.
Pre Surf (Instrumental)
Damped reverbed guitar plucks out a rhythm riff, which evolves into a faux lead that's dry. Presurf in some ways, fifties riff rock in others, with a rail road instro sound. This is not the Jim Messina band.
The Jet Tones - Twangy
"Twangy" is riff city, crude and simple, and recorded in that ambient small studio combo sound. The whammy stops are cool, but otherwise it is only rare, not significant.
The Jokers - Purple Crackle
Primitive Riff Rock (Instrumental)
Riff rock jam based jumpin' party jive, and nothing more. Not a lick of originality, just energy and abandon, though the long vibrato notes in the break are pretty darn cool.
The Knights - Tale Of A 280 Pound Shoe Salesman
Before Alice Cooper sang about being a "Shoe Salesman," this band was worshipping at the alter of Al Bundy yet to come. It's a dramatic chunk fest of solid rhythms and period trad surf leads in a jam format that doesn't rely much on melody. It's not at all like the more familiar highly melodic tunes like "Pipeline" or "Miserlou," but it has the surf sound and a kinda magnetism that keeps you hooked anyway.
Lenny and the Continentals - Yankee Doodle Rock
As with many an instro single in the fifties, this is a jammed up version of a classic folk song. George M. Cohan's "Yankee Doodle Dandy" was done many times, including by Link Wray. This is nothing like Link's rendition. Sax rules, guitar twangs in a presurf way, though the drums are almost playing a classic surf beat. This is a cool track.
The Majestics - Big Noise From Makaha
This obscuro on a Riverside label is pure surf, in the garage vein. It's mean sax break hints of Steve Douglas. The guitars reverb away with deep spring action. Yikes! "Big Noise From Makaha" is a surfization of "Big Noise From Winnetka."
The Marauders - Slidin' In
Surf Rock (Instrumental)
This is another fifties progressional, without benefit of melody. It is nicely delivered, with fine guitar picking, especially the delicate and precise used of played out chords. It has an air of surf, maybe even a flair for the waves, but its heart is in the fifties. It is infectious in a strange sorta way.
Sounding out of tune, this surf progression is dark and ugly. It is quite unusual as vintage surf goes, with a fifties rock lead line, and a relentless reverbed rhythm. It is very muddy, but primal and innocent. This must have been quite effective on stage at teen centers. Heavily surfed up tune, with basic riffs and mega reverb rhythm guitar.
Marty and the Monks - Mexican Party
This surf song uses behind the bridge plucking well, like in "Rockin' Cricket." The tune is a progression based on Barrett Strong's "Money" amped up by weird whammy. The exotica percussion is very cool, especially against the behind the bridge picking and bottle neck guitar weirdness. It is both peculiar and interesting, despite such a minimal melody line. There's little "Mexican" about this track.
Mic's Masters - Sandstorm
This is a surf cover of Johnny & the Hurricane's "Sandstorm," with slightly stiff playing and indistinct sound. The arrangement is pretty cool, and it must have been played by many surf bands, though few cut the track. This is infectious and haunting, with the vibrato second guitar and dribbling lead a la the Hollywood Sunsets' "Sky Rider."
The Monarchs - Friday Night
Strip Rock (Instrumental)
This is a great instro, even if it is mostly just a riff. It came out towards the end of the surf scene, and in some ways can be lumped in with the surf singles. The guitar tome is rounder and less reverby, but the idea is not unlike some of the surf tunes that came before it. Excellent guitar sustain, and cool restrained percussion. I've like this single since first hearing in KRLA or KFWB.
The Montereys - Blast Off
Surf stompin' guitars and space rockin' rhythms and wailin' sax with racing drums and a walking bass line. It's a progression, a jam with way more spirit than musical content. The energy and flair is enough to carry it.
The Mustangs - Jack The Ripper
This is a pretty credible nod to Mr. Wray's classic. Definitely not up to Link Wray's level, but a solid cover with almost surf tone via what sounds like some spring reverb and real room reverb at the studio. Quite tasty.
The Mysterions - Jerico Rock
A solid surf variation on the biblical tune. This works really well, while it also has a silly air to it. Almost any melodic piece can be surfed up. They do a fine job with the song, playing fast and using lots of chunka-chunka and rolling raging drums.
The Mysteriums - Man Of Mystery
This is a tasteful and competent version of The Shadows' "Man Of Mystery." Nothing special, thought it's energy is pretty high. The Mysteriums are a Shadows cover band, or more likely a studio project as there are no references anywhere on the internet.
The Mysteriums - F.B.I.
This is an OK cover of The Shadows' "F.B.I.." Just nothing to make it stick.
Among the sea of covers of Jerry Lordan's "Apache," The Mysteriums' version is pleasant, but unremarkable.
The Mysteriums - The Savage
This is a pretty tasty version of The Shadows' "The Savage," though the energy is lower than some. The production values and drums are very cool.
The Mysteriums - Kon-Tiki
While "Kon-Tiki" is one of my favorite songs from The Shadows, and while this is a very competent cover, it's just not in my top ten. nicely done, but unremarkable.
The Night Raiders - Cotton Pickin'
Not a drop more than a rock jam. Sax, guitar progressions, pumpin' piano... There ya go - that's it!
"Body Surf" a boogie progression over a surf beat with chunky rhythms. It's not their best recording, yet it has a certain draw that makes it work really well. It's is a lesser tune from the album, fairly dry, simple progression based and quite rhythmic.
This fine tune was covered by the Surfaris. It is mean and vibrato laden, and uses Echoplex string swipes to simulate the same sorts of sounds they used when they covered "Moon Dawg." It's a very rhythmic track, full of body and power. This band's output on Vee Jay should be released!
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.
Danny Steel - Chinese Twist
This track is quite an unusual track from the east coast. The lead guitar is a lap steel. The style is slightly surf, slightly bison bop, and mostly growlingly mean. It's infectious and very fun. It's not very "Chinese," but it is exotic.
The Orbit Rockers - Rock It
Riff Rock (Instrumental)
Unremarkable riff rockin' jam for the kiddies music just doesn't hold my interest.
This is a raw and intense surf romp. It's not very well cut, but it has plenty of surf feel in the way the Hollywood Tornadoes had it, with echo instead of reverb. Nice track.
The Playboys - Jungle Fever
Raw backwoods rock jam instro, low down and grode. The early almost fuzz bass guitar is really the coolest part.
Opening with a trumpet blasting out the charge, and covered with woodblock horse hooves, this two chord wonder with a spiffy melody riff is both a fifties backwoods marvel and a pre-surf tune waiting for a decent reverb treatment. The plinky piano is so Leon Russell (though he isn't credited). ""Charge"" was included in the soundtrack to The Ghost Of Dragstrip Hollow.
This 1959 track came out of the same Hollywood studio regulars that were the Gamblers and so many others. Nick Venet (before becoming a famous session producer) , Sandy Nelson (while he still had two feet), Bruce Johnston (before joining the Beach Boys to replace David Marks) and Richie Podolor (before being Richie Allen and the Pacific Surfers, the Devons, the Super Stocks, the Ghouls, before engineering for Ed Cobb at the Chocolate Watchband sessions, and before producing Steppenwolf and founding American Recording). It's a perfect upper Midwest buffalo bop styled instro... a basic riff and lots of Indian stereo types... whoops and hollers, gun shots, and dull cries of "Geronimo" Very fun. "Geronimo" was included in the soundtrack to "The Ghost Of Dragstrip Hollow."
The Renegades V - Love And Fury
Intense Surf Boogie (Instrumental)
Bizarre! Like a "Telstar" clone gone awry (it is a Tornados tune). The thick dull sound, the Wurlitzer mentality, the throbbing vibrato on the organ... mighty weird, but somehow quite cool. It must be from the early sixties. The double picked surf guitar employed in the break is very reverby and quite effective. What a cool track, despite it's muddy sound.
(Original) Rhythm Rockers - Madness
Most of Bob Vidone's instrumentals are rough rockin' monsters with a raw and primal appeal. masked by the crude recording, they none the less shine through the murk of the indistinct engineering to deliver the essence of early rock 'n' roll the way it was practiced in small town America during the late fifties. "Madness" is not very melodic, but it is pretty darn intense. It was released as by Bob Vidone and the Rhythm Rockers and as by the (Original) Rhythm Rockers.
The Rialtos - Like Thunder
Pre Surf (Instrumental)
Thunder rolls, echoed murky sound, and within... a powerful tune from Freddie Thomas and the Rialtos with pre surf guitar sounds and wild picking. Lots of energy, big beat, and an infectious structure. Some enterprising surf band should cover this.
The Rockin' R's - Mustang
Lot's of whoops and hollers punctuate this rhythmic riff rocker. Hard driven, rodeo fun, and almost chunky.
Echo drenched progression rock with a cool little melody riff. low quality track, but still cool because there is innocence and the drummer is having a blast.
The Run-A-Bouts - Wild Fire
Deep dark guitar very similar to the Centurions drives this basic surf tune. While it's quite basic, it's also mean and creeps into your daydreams. In some ways, it reminds me of a faster "Ray Bay."
Ted Russell and his Rhythm Rockers - Brang
Pre Surf (Instrumental)
Verging on the dawn of surf, "Brang" sports echoed guitar playing riffs not unlike those in the early days of surf. Gutsy and primal, with an odd manic drum beat. Twangin' fun with a catchy sound.
Space Rock (Instrumental)
East Germany's Satelliten deliver a solid number in the mold of "Telstar," but with guts derived from an intense vibrato guitar. In some ways, it's the sort of thing that the Ultras might have done, not far from their arrangement of "Telstar." There's a sax break, and a nasty edge to the guitar tone. Very cool.
Here it is, boys and girls. The original thrash out that's been covered by so many of the modern rockabilly / psychobilly bands. It's echoed, reverbed, piano tinkled, and a bit too muddy, but it certainly carries the energy, and it's easy to hear why so many have covered it. High energy, infectious progressions, cool pomp-n-stomp' tribal drums, raw sax, and throbbing bass. It's all here.
This is a vibrato thrashed primitive intro, with a ton of intensity and real chunk. It is ragged and raw, well defined, and riff based. It could easily be surfed up, but the melody line would need to be enhanced into something memorable, because the progression alone isn't enough.
The Shut Downs - Straight Away
This is actually Freddie King's "San-Ho-Zay." Why the writing credit is McKay-St. Romain is a mystery, unless the original issue sought to avoid royalties. The damped slightly reverbed guitar sounds are cool.
The Silvertones - Bathsheba
This track has an unusual use of the horn in the lead role of the middle eastern theme, with dry surf guitar picking, and warm whammy in the break. It's sultry and stylish.
The Singing Guitars - Perfidia
this must be European sixties because The Singing Guitars play in a mostly Shadows mold, with organ added. Plenty of energy and spunk, but then the funky chorus ruins it.
The Spotnicks - Spanish Gypsy Dance
Euro Rock (Instrumental)
A flamenco based piece with a military beat and rich guitar. It's restrained, yet commands attention. Quite nice.
Near Surf (Instrumental)
Another east German band delivers a pretty poppy guitar instro. It's very short, but sports slight surfy underpinnings.
The Starfires - Billy's Blues
Almost like a backtrack to Mickey and Sylvia's "Love Is Strange," this rockin' ramrod of 1960 coolness sports cool drums and a chorus.
With the manic energy if a less than correctly wired board rider in storm surf, this track angrily disorients the listener with a defined reality filter. Intense and nervous. "Thunder" was one of the singles that inspired the first generation of surfbands, from Paul Johnson onward.
The Surf Heroes - Pipeline
This is most likely a fake band. The telltale sign is rough glissandos amid otherwise competent playing, and arranging that seems contrived. that said, this take on The Chantays' "Pipeline" is not bad... just unsympathetic and lacking chemistry.
The Surf Heroes - Wipe Out
Nope... The Surf Heroes doesn't get the drums right, and the performance lacks chemistry. Unimpressive.
Pre Surf (Instrumental)
This is one of the more often comp'd instros from the fifties. It is a fast and infectious train tune, with a big reverby lead guitar and lots of subtle whammy. The double picked guitar work is very "swank," and the the contrast between the surf guitar's optimism and the minor key danger of the rhythm guitar and bass is quite effective. Fine track.
The T-Birds - Thunder Rock
Near Surf (Instrumental)
The deep reverb guitar plays a simple and mean progression over plinky fifties piano and thumpin' drums and bass. While a pretty primitive song, "Thunder Rock" rocks in a relentless thundering way. Pretty darn cool.
This is Midwest style progression, over a relentless backtrack, with spiffy piercing single note slides. It has a strong mean appeal despite it's two chords. Raw dark sky storm surf. "Heartbeat" is infectious in its simplicity and dangerous sound.
This is a funny sorta tune, with a simple riff with surf whammy ends, and half the melody from "Wild Goose" slammed together to create a new tune. Quite surfy, with Crossfires styled horns in the break. It's a pretty cool surf obscuro, infectious in it's own right despite it's derivative nature.
Terry and the Renegades - Line Drive
On the gutty side, "Live Drive" is a minimal riff rocker with that leather jacket fifties edge. More than just a riff rocker, but not particularly engaging.
The Thunder Heads - Thunder Head
A slowly rising snare drum open into a surf pluck fest with reverb kicks and an unusual riff. It's quite an interesting track. The muddiness of the recording hides an effective rhythm track. Closer to a jam than is preferred, yet quite fun and very infectious.
The Thunder Rocks - Johnny Sax
Frat Sax Rock (Instrumental)
The intro says "Johnny Bought A Sax and joined the Thunder Rocks - and then... " Stompin' fifties frat rockin' riff rock with spunk and a wailin' sax.
The Titans - Reveille Rock
Dry Midwest Surf (Instrumental)
The Titans were a Midwest instro band, with a pretty dry sound. Not a surf band, but this is so cool, it doesn't matter. Only the reverb is missing to make it surf. Unlike Johnny and the Hurricanes, this is sans organ and shredz even harder!
Unknown Group - The Fifth Dimension
This is one of those grand mysteries. The source is an acetate or test pressing with only the title, so the band remains unidentified. It's a fine track, like a much moodier "Out Of Limits" with a more dissonant and dangerous sound. Progression based, yet interesting and engaging.
This is the 1964 original (there are two updates from 1997 and 2000), with sax lead and great vintage surf rage. It is a really solid single, played with plenty of energy and teenage exuberance. The melody is solid, the energy good, and even under a bad mix, with the bass too hot, and the sax too loud, this is one fine tune. ItŐs played with plenty of energy and teenage exuberance.
Bob Vaught and the Renegaids - Exotic
Bob Vaught's band had a pretty dry sound, but they did some really cool surf stuff, most notably, the best recording of "Surfin' Tragedy." This song started life by the Sentinals in that horn-lead Pachuko soul style of the Soul Kings and the Rhythm Kings... sort of Mariachi R&B. The Sentinals recorded it with Tommy Nunes' guitar lead, and this is a cover of that. It is interesting, but not Bob's best work, or the best version of the song in either style. This is a driving treatment of Bruce Morgan' tune, completely different from the powerful-gorgeous Sentinals treatment. This is raw in your face garage surf.
Surf riff based twang, churning with the drums down the hall. The lead guitar is both reverbed and echoed, and the riff is definitely surfable.
This is a fifties styled "rockin' cricket" kinda tune. The sound is dry, not surf, but the style allows a good fit anyway. The band was from Sioux City, Iowa. The sound is not unlike many of the Midwest instros of the period. It's always interesting to hear what bands do with standards, especially when they can make them work well. Very cool.
This single was the B-side of "Scorpion." The guitar string bending gives it a demented tone, almost as weird as the Pastel Six's "Bandito," but much richer and lower, and faster too. Quite a nice track.
This is one of the great legendary bands of the old school, who's name I used to hear on ads for surf dances on KFWB and KRLA. This is a throaty Ventures kinda thing, rhythmic and churning. It has a decided surf feel, with an unusual melody and structure. Great track. The melody line is very close to "Super Jet Rumble." This was a single.
Primitive Rock (Instrumental)
Groovin' echoed riff rock from the back rooms of Link Wray's shadow. It is decidedly influenced by the man, but also has a unique sound created by carefully set Echoplex ins-n-outs which swell to saturation and fall to subtle in time with the drama of the music. Quite inventive.
The Waves - Rumble
this is a technically competent but low energy and low edge version of Link Wray and his Raymen's "Rumble." Where's the edge and the chemistry? Fake band?
The Waves - Surf Rider
Boy, does "Surf Rider" miss the point! remove all of the rich tone and savvy of The Lively Ones and you're left with so much ho-hum! Boring.
The Waves - Walk Don't Run
Drum machine sounding and little chemistry, along with low level sound gives "Walk Don't Run" little to set it apart from the crowd. There are so many much better versions out there.
Zorba and the Greeks - Shockwave
This is a cool tune. The organ comes in notably late in it's first note, but the extended reverb kicks are too cool, and the reverb lead is quite nice. The melody is friendly and fun. This tune is infectious and seems to stay with you. It stands up to multiple listenings. The label was Golden State Recorders, a San Francisco based label run by the legendary Leo de gar Kulka. I don't know if they were locals or just came to the city to record.