Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Dick Dale and his Del-tones - Surfers' Guitardotdotdotdot
artworkGerman bootleg vinyl compilation of Capital session Dick Dale tracks. Despite the Surfer Choice cover, only Death Of A Gremmie and Miserlou Twist are from that album. It shows the need for a comprehensive Dick Dale box set or series. It is all instrumental. It is from vinyl sources.
Picks: Break Time, Surf Buggy, Mag Wheels, Ho-Dad Machine, Motion, Taco Wagon, Death Of A Gremmie, Miserlou, Mr. Eliminator, Flashing Eyes, Firing Up, Nitro Fuel, Surfing Rebel, Spanish Kiss, Summer Surf, Thunder Wave

Track by Track Review


Break Time dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

While this is a standard R&B set ender to talk over or use like bumper music in radio, it is a really nice track. It has character and flows quite nicely. The sound of reverb guitar and the surf to be, coupled with Dick's pre-surf R&B and rock 'n' roll standards gigs at the Rinky Dink meld nicely in this simple and pleasing track.

Surf Buggy dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a really cool instrumental from the Checkered Flag album. It's chunky and rhythmic. It holds up well over the 35 years since it was recorded. A great track to drive to, and fun too. You can just see Dick grinning at his audience while they sway to this... One of Dick's best semi-slow surf numbers, rhythmic and very cool. The lumbering pace is just superb. A really nice track.

Mag Wheels dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Another mostly instro track (except for the chanted drag race terms) that is truly rippin'! Gary Usher wrote it, and it's melody is quite infectious. It was a single as well as album track on Checkered Flag. Great playing, and way cool fun. It's also one of Dick's earliest sojourns into the glissando that the Chantays introduced into surf.

Ho-Dad Machine dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The slow slither of the surf sound is seductive in this simple instro. The "bup-bup" Doo-woppy male chorus subtracts from the coolness.

Motion dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Motion" is a very nice moderately paced and melodic R&B-ish instro. Quite simple and old school, yet enjoyable and groovy in a motion oriented way. Great for a top down summer drive.

Taco Wagon dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Despite it's oomp-pa-pa quality, this is one heck of a great song. It's from the Mr. Eliminator album, and has been covered frequently. "Taco Wagon" has more Mexican flavor than the nachos at Taco Bell... really. It's a great track!

Death Of A Gremmie dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Recorded at the Rendezvous Ballroom and from the Surfers Choice album, this ranks as one of the best early pre surf ominous R&B instros, piano oriented, and very sad. Bitchin'!

Miserlou dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The introductory note of Miserlou is somehow bigger than life. Dick's machine gun staccato is perfect. This is Dick Dale's biggest Del-tone singles, the incredibly archetypal "Miserlou" featured so prominently in Pulp Fiction. No comprehensive Surf collection should even be conceived without this song. This IS the sound of primal surf, the source of the idea of really LOUD guitar leads. It's reported that the arrangement was developed after Dick saw Johnny Barakat do it this way.

Mr. Eliminator dotdotdotdot
Not (Instrumental)

This version is from the Mr. Eliminator album. It's a bit of a contrast for Dick, big chords and whammy instead of double picked power house delivery, but a solid track nonetheless.

The Smithereens covered it in the eighties, which got MTV Europe's attention as they were getting ready to launch back in '89, and that caused them to contract with Dick Dale for a 10 second version for use as a logo.

Flashing Eyes dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is one of Dick's fastest and most-fun tracks. The studio session is not the best, but this must have been a shredder live. Its great call and response lead work and power glissandoes are totally killer! Marvelous.

Firing Up dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Firing Up" is a dark mid-tempo number that is still used by Dick in fragments during his sets. Mostly just a riff, but a catchy riff at that. Nice track.

Nitro Fuel dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Nitro Fuel" is a flashy bit of Dick Dale-ism, with a very cool riff and lots of flair. Rockin' and rollin' with reverb. The catchiness of the riff is quite something, and Dick's double picked flying fingers in the break are spectacular.

Surfing Rebel dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

While this is a piano plinky happy-go-lucky studio track, it's also one infectious Dick Dale melody. It has similar character to "The Star (Of David)" stylistically. Great dribbling glissandoes!

Spanish Kiss dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Spanish Kiss" is a splendid flamenco inspired number played on an acoustic guitar, full of pomp and drama, and the chorus is not too distracting. A totally wonderful side trip in the Disk Dale songbook. He has since called this "F-16" and "Speardance."

Summer Surf dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A light and frothy Dick Dale number with a melodic and infectious sound. It's very nice, as opposed to powerful. Good track.

Thunder Wave dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Thunder Wave" seems like a studio construction without much real meat. It's more like a fifties R&B groove than a surf instro, with prominent horns and an old-time rhythm.