Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Fendermen - Mule Skinner Bluesdotdotdotdot
artworkThis is one of the albums that influenced the early instro folks that created the surf sound. These 5 instrumentals with their rhythms and styles, along with a handful of other recordings, launched the surf genre just a year later.
Picks: Torture, Beach Party, Honky Tonk, Koo-Koo, Caravan

Track by Track Review


Torture dotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

This is one fine instro, especially when you realize that there are just the two guitars, no bass, and no drums. The rhythmic qualities of the piece carry it, as does the fine progression. It is this first Fendermen instro that justified to a young Paul Johnson the lack of a bass in his own seminal surf band the Belairs. This is essential presurf listening.

Beach Party dotdotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

Now, this is a killer track. It has all of the infectious rhythmic magic of "Torture," but it is augmented by bass and drums, which make it all the sweeter. This is a remarkably timeless piece, powerful in it's sparseness. It's playful-party atmospherics are perfect for the title.

Honky Tonk dotdotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

This is a heavily reverbed chunky version of the Bill Dogget hit, and among the first to use guitar as the focus with reverb. Mean, vibrant, intense, and downright magnetic. The break is even double picked. Powerfully infectious.

Koo-Koo dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

Flat pick rockin' good old boy instro madness, complete with yelps of joy and maximum edge. Intense, though not very melodic.

Caravan dotdotdot
Pre Surf (Instrumental)

Chunky semi acoustic backtrack with electric guitar lead, full of life and finesse. The rapid fire picking is a combo of surf and country, with real live twang. This arrangement of Duke Ellington' "Caravan" is quite appealing.