Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Dick Dale And His Del-tones - Singles Collection '61-'65dotdotdotdot
artworkThis is a splendid 2-LP set from Sundazed featuring the singe tracks. Essential and very well put together.
Picks: Let's Go Trippin', Del-Tone Rock, Shake-N-Stomp, Jungle Fever, Miserlou, Eight 'Till Midnight, Surf Beat, A Run For Life, King Of The Surf Guitar, Hava Nagila, Surfin' And A-Swingin', The Wedge, Night Rider, Mr. Eliminator, The Victor, Let's Go Trippin' 65, Watusi Jo

Track by Track Review


Let's Go Trippin' dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Dick Dale's August 1961 recording of "Let's Go Trippin'" is ahead of the surf sound, more a rock 'n' roll number than what would be later identified as surf. It is nevertheless a very important key to the development of the genre.

Dick's original Del-tones were a hell of a band. This session featured a seasoned Barry Rillera on sax, who had been in his brother Ricky Rillera's band the Rhythm Rockers (no relation to the surfband of that name), with whom Richard Berry had sung for over a year at Harmony Park between 1954 and 1955. It was at Harmony Park one Saturday night in 1955 that Richard heard them do Rene Touzet's "El Loco Cha Cha" for the first time, and was inspired by it's "duh duh duh, duh-duh" intro to write "Louie Louie."

Del-Tone Rock dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Del-Tone Rock" was the B-side of "Let's Go Trippin'" from the Del-tone days. It displays the tradition rock 'n' roll roots Dick Dale's early instro sound was born of, and also foretells the soon to be born surf sound. It also helps clarify the residency of the original version of "Let's Go Trippin'" on the presurf side of the boundary. A very fine track.

Shake-N-Stomp dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This Del-tone session is an early double picked track, before "Miserlou" as a single, but from the same period live. This track is often assumed to have been recorded at the Rendezvous, but reportedly was recorded at a small studio. Good grindage.

Jungle Fever dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Jungle Fever" is the single studio version of "Surfing Drums." It is actually a cover of Bo Diddley's "Hush Your Mouth." It's a great glimpse into those long lost times in Balboa when Dick Dale was King and the big Surf sound was just dawning. It's too bad that it fades out during the drum solo, but I suspect it segues into some other tune. Dick performed it live in the early nineties as "Jungle Bunnies" with the same voiced calls.

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.

Eight 'Till Midnight dotdotdotdot
R&B Surf (Instrumental)

"Eight Till Midnight" was never included on an album, but was the b-side of "Miserlou." It's a very cool R&B theme song for the Rendezvous gigs. Memorable and poppy.

Peppermint Man dotdotdotdot
R&B (Vocal)

I usually don't like Dick's vocals at all, but for some reason, "Peppermint Man" captures me. It's just so endearing. It's a cover of Alonzo Willis' R&B obscuro.

Surf Beat dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Demonstrating the power of CHUNK in surf, "Surf Beat" lent it's name to the genre, and clearly is a standard. A great performance captured live at the Rendezvous Ballroom and issued in 1962. This is the embodiment of rhythm based surf chunk.

If you want to play the chords right, when the lead and rhythm both play together, the rhythm guitar would "push" the chord downward, while the lead must "pull" the chord upward - remember, Dick Dale played left handed and used a right handed guitar upside down without restringing. That meant when he pushed the chord, it was the same as pulling it. I verified this with Dick personally in '88, so there ya go.

A Run For Life dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The early Del-tone single version of the song that became "The Wedge," with the Del-tones as the band, and with Dick playing trumpet leads. It's way hokey at times, and gives you a clear glimpse at the difference between the history and sound surf music as you know it and the "world according to Dick Dale."

King Of The Surf Guitar dotdotdot
Surf (Vocal)

The King has the Blossoms sing about him while he plays gorgeous notes on his guitar. An ego feed and anthem, and a lot better than the 1975 GNP version, but still... sure do love that guitar!

Hava Nagila dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Following up "Miserlou" (and the B-side of "King Of The Surf Guitar") most naturally meant another traditional Middle Eastern song, and who could have imagined that this song could have been so powerful at the hands of Dick Dale! A must have track!

Surfin' And A-Swingin' dotdotdotdot
Surf (Vocal)

One of the few vocals Dick recorded that features his great surf guitar drivin' hard, "Surfin' and A-Swingin'" is a powerhouse surf vocal with great energy and a killer surf guitar break. The backtrack is mostly pretty muddy, but for the guitar shreddin' break alone, it's worth seeking out. Great stuff!

Secret Surfin' Spot dotdotdot
Surf (Vocal)

Dick's been where "the gremmies and the woodies never go..." This is from the soundtrack to Beach Party, this was a Capitol single, but never on any of Dick's albums. The B-side "Surfin' And A Swingin'" is much stronger.

The Wedge dotdotdotdotdot
Not (Instrumental)

Hal Blaine's shredding machine gun drums add immeasurably to this rerecording of Dick's Del-tone single "A Run For Life," which Dick thankfully deleted the trumpet from. Thee most killer of all Dick's post-"Miserlou" tracks.

"The Wedge" was derived from a song called "The Rising Surf" written by Al Hazan and originally cut as a demo by the Tandems months before Dick went into the studio. "The Rising Surf" was based on a 1952 composition of Hazan's called "Dance Of Love," which was released by the Bell Sisters.

Night Rider dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Night Rider" was a single and album track from the days with Capitol. It's mostly power oriented, with minimal melody, and really foretells the style Dick Dale uses so efficiently today.

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.

The Victor dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This track ranks as one of the great Middle Eastern surf epics. It is truly 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?

Never On Sunday dot
Surf (Instrumental)

MOR Schmaltz oozes from Dick Dale's trumpet as he dashingly performs this fifties movie theme.

Let's Go Trippin' 65 dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Smoother and bigger than Dick's original, this has none of the charm, but much more fullness. It's slowed down, and lifeless. Barely a pick.

Watusi Jo dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Not a surf lick to be found, but it is a nifty composition for the post surf Dick Dale. The times, they were a changin'