Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: What Surf IIIdotdotdotdot
artworkThe last of the legendary What Surf series was issued in 1984. It is an eclectic collection of surf for surf fans, spanning surf punk, trad surf, revival surf, postmodern surf, and biker surf. A great collection.
Picks: Lumpy Gravy, Oleaje de Misterio, Okie Dokie, Dirty Fast Beat, Boozefest, Surf Punk, The Landing, Polyurethane, High Wall, Out Of Limits, Miserlou, Missing Link

Track by Track Review

Lumpy Gravy dotdotdotdot
Hippy Garage Surf (Instrumental)

This is a medley of sixties and seventies classics by the Doors (Love Her Madly / Break On Through) and the Rolling Stones (Paint It Black / 19th Nervous Breakdown), surfed into oblivion in a short, fluid continuum of melodic pop surf. These songs date from a period when melody was still a component of garage punk and psycho pop. Rhythmic, infectious, and powerfully delivered. While itÕs easy to think of the Love Her Madly as a flower child pop-psych single, the other three seem to me to be much more garage punk anthems. Great medley, great performance.

Oleaje de Misterio dotdotdot
Euro Surf (Instrumental)

The Laika and the Cosmonauts song, churned out with more American surf oomph than the Fins sported. Fuller, fatter, more glissando powered. Nice track.

Okie Dokie dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Kip Brown cut this specifically for Chris Ashford's label. It's a little on the hokey side, but still pleases. There's a certain humor in its delivery, and an energy beneath it's groove.

Dirty Fast Beat dotdotdotdot
Euro Surf (Instrumental)

Laika and the Cosmonauts' "Surf's You Right" with the Euro replaced by reverb, more beefy and more surf driven. Solid thumping glissando powered surf.

Boozefest dotdotdotdot
Psych Surf (Instrumental)

If Dick Dale had played with Indian PuddinÕ and Pipe or Frumious Bandersnatch, they might have arranged this as we find it here. This Mediterranean classic is morphed into a hybrid surf-prog tribal thunder powerhouse track. A healthy respect for the King of the Surf Guitar and a solid sense of we-are-the-Sandblasters have merged in this track. Great stuff.

Surf Punk dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This Campbell band existed for only a short while. This is percussive, damped surf, infectious and meaty, and very playful. Too bad these guys quit so early on. Phil Dirt captured this track (and the still unreleased "Toes On The Nose") in the back of Streetlight Records.

The Landing dotdotdotdotdot
Psychedelic Surf (Instrumental)

Before anyone was experimenting with surf, while it was still a sacred cow to be worshipped and not messed with, Santa Cruz's Thrusters were masking great groovy noises with surf as their foundation. They rose from the ashes of the Surf Pistols, but went one step farther by bringing into their band influences from psych and metal, not just the punk-surf they'd started with. This is a huge track, with a long and dramatic Hendrix / Mermen like introduction that howls and swirls and cries out about evil waves comin' to get you. Then, it breaks into a melodic and fluid monster of a track that lives and breaths the sea. Stylistically, it is their's alone. Trad purists will hate it, but before the Mermen stretched out from their surf instro baseline, these guys were creating magical huge surf from unusually artful places.

Polyurethane dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Later retitled Polycarbonate, this grand track oozes fuzz drenched surf biker soul. Noisy, edgy, and right in the pocket.

High Wall dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Wailers' did this originally. It's a song about a prison break, not a wall of water. Some compressor breathing, but better than some other tracks here. This tune is really slow and evil, and the surf rendering retains this. The lead is way too low in the mix.

Out Of Limits dotdotdotdotdot
Skate Surf Punk (Instrumental)

Without a doubt, when Agent Orange issues a surf instro, it is a sound that demands attention. This high energy chunk meister blasts forth with the power of the largest storm surf, and the danger of shooting the pier on a tsunami. Wow.

Miserlou dotdotdot
Silky Surf (Instrumental)

Slippery version of the ancient standard, recreated in a very lush and subtle arrangement. delicate, restrained, and completely different than all the other tracks here. This is minimal, and very simple. Like a blues interpretation of the Marcels at half speed. The double picked verse is almost Vienna! Cool.

Missing Link dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Chantays classic, shredded with a cowpoke backtrack. This is such a great piece of writing, that itÕs hard to imagine going wrong. The lead guitar is mostly surfy, but one verse also employ post Cry Baby wah-wah. Edgy tones and that cactus needle drive make for a rodeo monster. The second half is at half speed. It is a spacy super warble progression, based on a variation from some version of "Peter Gunn" IÕve heard before, but canÕt place at the moment. This allows the track to stretch out without being boring. Great action.