Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: Winter Swell IIdotdotdotdot
artworkJanuary 27, 1996, the second winter surf festival on campus featured three great bands, the Reverbs, the Berzerkers, and Los Straitjackets.
Picks: Baja, Pipeline, Scatter Shield, Mr. Moto, Shots In The Dark, Bulldog, Coyote Point, Penetration, Hideaway, The Eel, Mung Taco, Meadowlands, It Came In The Wind, El Scratches, Manana Surf, Clap Pacific Sang, Indian Summer, Sacquito Fria, Waimea Cruncher, Mermud, In The Bottle, Chummin', Surfin' Japanese, Fury, Calhoun Surf, Car Hop, G-Man, Venturing Out, Gatecrasher, The Rise And Fall Of Flingel Bunt, Magnificent Seven, University Blvd., Espionage, Itchy Chicken, Lurking In The Shadows, Lynxtail, Playing Chicken, Pink Dominos, Pacifica, Tailspin, Straitjacket, Kawanga, Never On Sunday, Telstar, Caveman, Sleep Walk, Raw Hide

Track by Track Review


Baja dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Ultra familiar reverb from the pen of Lee Hazelwood and the trad stylings of the Reverbs. A basic rendering, stylistically reverent and delicate. A few well placed glissandoes add a bit of glitter.

Pipeline dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The reverbs open this classic with a dueling guitar and drums glissando, which is carried throughout the track. More delicate than many, this is a tuff little take.

Scatter Shield dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Completely rearranged, the Surfaris' "Scatter Shield" sports a different rhythm track and more restrained surfiness. Nice variation.

Mr. Moto dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Hey, it's Paul Johnson's "Mr. Moto!" Trad and splashy with reverb o'plenty.

Shots In The Dark dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Henry Mancini's film score in one of the earliest surf rearrangements. The Reverbs splash it up while retaining its lounge-worthiness.

Bulldog dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Fireballs' classic pre-surf instro "Bulldog" is carried to its logical trad extension. Damped splash and surf chunk! Nice track.

Coyote Point dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is an amazingly infectious and rhythmic original. It has incredible guitar tone, a fine mid tempo melody, interesting harmonics from the rhythm guitar, a solid bass and drum sync, and a very chunky sound. I find myself coming back to it repeatedly. When they played this, it got quite a reaction from the audience. This recording ended up on KFJC's Waves Of The West CD.

Penetration dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Splashy reverbed pyramidal surf, with fine liquid springs and chunky rhythm. Slightly rearranged, yet retaining its roots. The ringing chords are cool, as are the damped runs.

Hideaway dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Freddie King's "Hideaway" is liquefied with reverberating splash and jammin' bluesy surf sounds. Lots of soul here.

The Eel dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This song has been in Dino Francesconi's set list for - well - he was playing it when I first met him way back in the early eighties, maybe '84 or before, from the early days with Da Monz. Anyway, it's in E, hence the name.

Mung Taco dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

I take sole credit for the name of this track. Dino thought it had a Spanish feel, and wanted a food title. Naturally, I said "mung taco." He liked it, and it was done. Great number with plenty of power and energy.

Meadowlands dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

About 9 years ago, I played a version of Meadowlands by the Vanguards on my show. Dino loved it immediately, pestering me to play it every week for an eternity. It was under the title it has been better known as in Euro rock instro circles, Rocket Man. Dino's arrangement is pretty true to that, but more grodie and the live session adds yet more angst to it.

It Came In The Wind dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Inspired by a certain waft of odorific windage encountered one aromatic afternoon, this song moves right along with a real sense of motion. Great drums and bass lines support Dino's great writing.

El Scratches dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

It's all about itching and scratching, not the cartoon, but the hobby. Too much fun!

Manana Surf dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dino was searching for a Spanish name that would convey the lazy day at Mazatlan feel of the song, and I leaked out "mañana surf." He didn't like it right off, but soon came around. This is nearly as liquid as the album track, and certainly moodier, with sparkling reverb.

Clap Pacific Sang dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Sophistication enters the world of surf instros. Lots of blues influence, and a dab of pomp and regalia enhance this powerful track. Big, powerful, and splashy.

Indian Summer dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This Indian beat number is smooth and liquefied, with a near-quicksilver melody line and moody theme. Tribal, emotional, and enigmatic.

Sacquito Fria dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Sacquito Fria" is a melodic and well written song. As a trio piece, it takes on a very different timbre from the studio track. Powerful and a bit grodie.

Waimea Cruncher dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Another song Dino didn't have a name for. His description of it at the beginning of the track was basically what he told me back in '95 the first time we made a demo of it. We played for a long time with different names, finally settling on the name of the biggest wave location on earth and the gnarliest it-will-kill-you term we could dredge up. It sounds like the name, huge, pounding, ominous, and threatening.

Mermud dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Where do mermaids and Mermen come from? Mermud!" - Dino Francesconi 1996.

A thundering number with a nod to the Mermen and the delights of the mythical sea creatures, the sirens of the deep.

In The Bottle dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a song that Dino has been doing for a while under several names. Any beer drinker will identify right away. Great club stompin' track.

Chummin' dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This song dates from 1988. It is a Dick Dale-ish number, with lots of opportunity to splash on guitar. Really good song, and a solid performance.

Surfin' Japanese dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Thrashin' and bashin' out the Jon and the Nightriders tribute to the Vapours. A few errors did not mar the enthusiasm of the crowd.

Fury dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This track is their take on Danny Amis first ever composition, from his days with his first band the Overtones, even before his tour of duty in the Ray Beats. Hot track, and Danny was loved by the crowd. At the first few notes, he the screams came flying from the audience.

Calhoun Surf dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Finely honed raw edged Link Wray, like the way the Planet Rockers would do it, like Link intended. Intense and energetic.

Car Hop dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Exports' great Car Hop performed exquisitely. Low down guitar twang, and that marvelous melody. High energy, splendid chemistry. One glaring guitar note error, but so what.

G-Man dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Fine mid tempo spy twang. Mean tones and ringing notes. The melody is just dangerous, and the big chord drama in the middle is perfect. Fine grodie energy.

Venturing Out dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Very Ventures like, in delivery and structure, except dragged through a barn first. Perfectly metered and punched out.

Gatecrasher dotdotdot
Rodeo Surf (Instrumental)

Glissandoes, rodeo stomp shout & whistle beat, progression rhythm, and a surfy guitar lead. Not much to hang your hat on, but screamingly good time mechanical bull music.

The Rise And Fall Of Flingel Bunt dotdotdotdot
Lumbering Surf (Instrumental)

Floating lumbering surf, injected with lowdown observations of "Fat Lisa." The shear size and pace of the bass lines say all that is required about the subject. Hilarious.

Magnificent Seven dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Finally, after so many years playing this great film score live, they commit it to tape in the studio. Elmer Bernstein's theme was used for a series of Marlboro ads during the sixties, with a logo character called the Marlboro Man, who looked like a serious version of the Granny Goose cowboy. Los Straitjackets have captured the silliness of the ad and the richness of the film score, while also preserving their signature crunch. A very cool track.

University Blvd. dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Big chord oceanic visions give way to a whammied surfabilly lead guitar and a fast paced track, with images of tribal danger and the chaos of the soup at the jetty during a thunderstorm. Evil and confused.

Espionage dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Evil feedback and chord threats open a track that quickly moves into a double picked surf rant. The almost discordant melody and the mean structure give it an air of a fast ride on dark and menacing tsunami, fast and thrilling, and ending with a slam into the west wall of a bank four blocks from the beach. Downright ugly surf.

Itchy Chicken dotdotdot
Cow Surf (Instrumental)

Twenty seven seconds of the theme from Bonanza, with hoots and hollers, and a ton of energy. Short, fast, spirited.

Lurking In The Shadows dotdotdot
Tribal Surf (Instrumental)

Thirty nine seconds of surf chord progressions and imitations of monkeys between... demented jungle surfabilly.

Lynxtail dotdotdot
Televsionary Surf (Instrumental)

"Pure Horse. Book 'em Danno." And so the track opens. Steve McGarret would certainly approve of the energy, if not the thrashing this classic TV theme gets at the hands of Snake-Out. Big whammy surf, double picked lines, garage intensity, and sloppy. major fun.

Playing Chicken dotdotdotdot
Surfabilly (Instrumental)

Big ugly chord grind, rockabilly back beat, discordant surf melody, and lots of string slides. Very chunky and percussive. This unusual track straddles the line between surf and rockabilly, as defined by Snake-Out. This is as likely a place as any for the birth of surfabilly.

Pink Dominos dotdotdotdot
Mass Murderer Surf (Instrumental)

Clearly evil, demented sluggish sounds, insane asylum screams and the evil laughs of the keepers, and thundering tribal toms. No melody, just weird scenes inside Happy Hollow. Great concept for a surf tune. Ed Gein was a mass murderer. he was "discovered" when a decomposing body was found in the trunk of his car.

Pacifica dotdotdotdot
Mass Murderer Surf (Instrumental)

This is the song, with a strong progression based surf melody, lots of energy, and pounding drums. The darkness of the track is appropriate for a song named after a mass murderer. Evil and starkly reverbed.

Tailspin dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A moderately competent performance of the Mar-Ketts classic. Big, dark, twangy, and echoplexed. Spirited playing, and a very live sound.

Straitjacket dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a driven thundering minor chord progression, surf based, thick and dark. High potency, but no melody line.

Kawanga dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A sorta Tour de Surf. In their impeccable way, Los Straitjackets use numerous bits of surf history - the "Wipe Out" drum break, touches of "Fun Fun Fun" and more under trier usual twang. When others have done this, particularly the "Wipe Out" bit, it's been lees than effective, even annoying. but here, it's humorous and intriguing. Maybe it's the energy and grins they employ that makes the difference. Hillbilly surf, speedy with maximum drum action and a quirky little melody line. Great track.

Never On Sunday dotdot
Message Surf (Instrumental)

Interspersed with the sounds of clubbing, women screaming, and babies crying, this political statement instro is mostly a chord progression with driving drums, like it's waiting for a vocal.

Telstar dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a surprising song for Los Straitjackets. It's such a shift of focus, yet it seems to work. Not as thick as it could be, but plenty of twang and melodic power. Cool track.

Caveman dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Moronspeak imitation monster talk about "eating salamanders for Sunday dinner" occupy the first fifty seconds of this track. Once past the B-movie trailer utterances, the track becomes a gloomy progression, mean and foreboding. Like many a riff-rockin' instro from the fifties, there's little to call a melody, but the grind seems to work anyway.

Sleep Walk dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A very surfy tune, with the guitar about a mile away. This is Johnny & the Hurricanes' Crossfire, reconstituted fit the surfabilly mold of Snake-Out. This would have been very powerful recorded well.

Raw Hide dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is not a cover of Forty Miles Of Bad Road. It is a chunky chord progression backtrack, just waiting for a lead. The break features some fine raging double picked jamming, but otherwise, the lead guitar is so buried as to be virtually unnoticed.