Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA Collection: The World Of Surf Music
|This is more or less an extended version of the Surf Crazy compilation on GNP. Some tracks are missing, others added for a two-disc set of mostly solid surf.|
Picks: Pipeline, King Of The Surf Guitar, Surfin' Tragedy, Surf-Ari, Bustin' Surfboards, Goofy Footer Ho-Dad, Intoxica, The Lonely Sea, Swingin' Piper Soul, Let's Go Surfin', The Curl Rider, Perfidia, Sloop John B., Cruel Sea, The Perfect Wave, Surf Bird, Hawaii Five-0, Tequila, The Victor, Space Race, Hiawatha [The Nobles Medley], Telstar, Wild Weekend, Party In Laguna, Surfin' and Swingin', Walk, Don't Run '64, Storm Surf, Hell's Racers, The Lonely Bull, Water Country, Tidal Wave, Sukiyaki, Wipe Out
Track by Track Review
The Ventures recorded "Pipeline" with no reverb, and very uneven glissando meter, plus little of the emotional beauty of the Chantays' original classic. It's a flat-pickers rendition, not particularly interesting.
King Of The Surf Guitar
This take of "King Of The Surf Guitar" is less gutsy and more showband-like than the Capitol version. The Vegas showgirls chorus doesn't cut it, but then neither did the Blossoms when they sang over Dick's great guitar licks.
Another exceptionally grand surf instro. Most of Bob Vaught's work was gutty and raw. This is shiny, shimmery, and exquisite. It ranks pretty close to "Latin'ia" in beautiful surf history. Especially if you've heard Doug Hume's vocal version. A must have.
Another Good Guys track. Not a very interesting melody, but listenable.
"Bustin' Surfboards" is one of the most recognizable of the tribal surf instros from the sixties. It's drum dominated raw sound was nothing short of magical when I first heard it on KRLA. This is one of the essential surf instros, a desert island must-have.
Goofy Footer Ho-Dad
Who the hell are/were Shean and Jenkins? It's a stupid Hollywood studio rock 'n' roll bed with a moron "poem" over the top trying really hard to be half as cool as Ed "Kookie" Byrnes. Egad, it's enough to make you wanna swear off surf!
Jazz Surf (Instrumental)
This is a surf instro standard reworked in a club jazz vein. "Intoxica" do it all softly with a unique approach. Unlike the Sundazed CD, his tracks here are in stereo.
This splendid island breeze classic is so friendly... and so Polynesian... and just so cool! melodic and a pure joy to listen to. Really well written and well played.
SurfLatinEast LAPachuko Soul (Instrumental)
The Pied Piper of Pachuko Soul. Take your standard Surf n Soul arrangement, take away the Mariachi and add a flute and - viola! Herbie Mann goes surfing.
Jazz Surf (Instrumental)
Another of Jim Waller's originals, this is a nice tune with a nonintrusive comfort about it.
This classic revival track is a fine, melodic, rhythmic pure surf tune with plenty of power and oodles of surfisms. The excellent writing alone makes this a really important track to the reemergence of surf instros.
This is the followup to "Walk, Don't Run," in the same style and equally infectious. The lead is less up front, but the warmth of the whammy makes this an excellent pre-surf track. Great drums and picking. The combo really comes together in this track.
Sloop John B.
This is the GNP version. It's too bad it's not cleaned up from the Del-tone sessions, cause that version is really quite a trip, just lousy sound. This is too Vegas for me, what with the chorus and all. Yet, the guitar is delicate and gorgeous!
Among the better covers of this Dakotas (Billy J. Kramer) tune written by Mike Maxfield.
This is a stellar track. It shreds mightily, double picked excellently, powering it's way through a fine melody and dramatic arrangement. It's a monster of an eighties surf recording.
Ah yes - scary as they come, the Breakers do a doo-wop Hollywood syrup surf song for the teeny boppers. Oh boy!
TV Surf (Instrumental)
This is a pretty accurate 1995 re-recording of the often covered TV theme song from the chameleons of instro rock from the 1968 TV series.
Exotica Mexica (Instrumental)
OK, so it's over done, over imitated, and overplayed. Still, it's a great song. So, why do it so boringly?
Not the great Capital session, but from the GNP sessions in '75. It's a fine version, but suffers from the same weakness they all had, little energy in the mix, but a good performance. The Capital session is a lot stronger. This track ranks as one of the great Middle Eastern surf epics. It sports a minimal melody, but has an intensity all it's own, which lead the Mermen to include it in their infamous "Middle Eastern medley." Power, Intensity, Grace... what more do you want? This version is both better and lesser, depending on what you are looking for. More chunk and clarity, less energy and panache.
This is a strange track from the studio side of things. It sports spacy electronic noises, some sounds of the surf, and some sounds of the surf, plus a really catchy riff delivered with dry guitar tones. This is the song the Ventures covered on In Space.
Hiawatha [The Nobles Medley]
Surf Revival Review (Instrumental)
Another Nobles track, based on the theme from a TV ad for Hamm's Beer, starring a slovenly bear and Indian maidens with a certain detailed jostle that won the hearts of many a youth. This is great. Very hot! Lots of energy, and plenty of power. The sleeve lists this as "Louie Louie!" Recorded live in 1981.
The song's author Joe Meek would roll over in their grave. Where's the flair and guts of the London Tornados? It's merely non-offensive MOR, looking for a shopping cart.
This is the one. This is the song everyone thinks of with this band. It was cut originally as a theme for the Tom Shannon Show on Buffalo, New York's legendary WKBW, from whence came free form progenitors Tom Donahue, Bob Mitchell, and Peter Trip. This is growly, dark, evil, chunky, melodic, and features near-surf rhythm guitar behind a raw R&B sax. A great and necessary track.
This is actually the Champs' "Tequila" recut. Nothing to write home about.
Surfin' and Swingin'
Big Band (Instrumental)
No amount of name recognition will change an average Big Band track is not a surf track. The absurd addition of studio fuzz guitar just mocks the thing. Some fuzz, ambiently captured drums, and horns... Big band goes to the beach, but doesn't get tan. If not for the fuzz, "Surfin' and Swingin'" would simply suck.
The Ventures had already become the chameleons of rock by the time surf came along a mere few months after they cut "Walk, Don't Run" in 1960. They adapted quickly, morphing their crown jewel tune into a surf classic by adding reverb and glissandoes. It's way fun.
Surf Folk (Instrumental)
Jim Pash told me "Storm Surf" was recorded in his mother's living room in '64 with Jim Fuller's lead guitar, Jim Pash on electric twelve string, Ken Forssi on bass, and an unknown drummer, maybe Don Murray. I'm not convinced that it isn't a Decca session, though it didn't show up in the vault purge for Varese Sarabande. In any event, Jim came across this tape in a shoe box in his mom's garage. The original name is lost in time. Jim said he did not recall ever playing it live. It was probably the last surf instro they wrote. It is a wonderful, though not entirely developed tune. Thank you GNP for getting this out for all us punters.
Biker FuzzOrgan (Instrumental)
Hot rods cross the soundscape and then a soft fuzz guitar plays a pleasant melody over a ho-hum backtrack. Very disspointing!
The Lonely Bull
Attempting to come too close to the Tijuana Brass sound, this guitar band gives the lead duties over to horns, and adds the chorus as well. Like Billy Strange meets Bert Kempfert.
Big horns and crappy MOR mono sound.... The strings... The flutes... The female la-la vocals... it takes the Challengers to a new low.
Can you spell M-O-N-S-T-E-R? Dave Wronski is a major guitar hero, and there is no better surf drummer than Dusty Watson. This track completely abuses you before it's through, like a 1 second drop down a fifty foot face only to be placed gently on the beach. You should hear 'em do this live!
This is a pretty and fluffy arrangement of one of the first Japanese / American cross over hits.
Surf Revival Review (Instrumental)
Don Murray was a good drummer, but no one can do this like Ron Wilson could. Solid performance.