Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Randy Holden - Surf Guitar God 1963 / 2001dotdotdotdotdot
artworkThis is the surf-oriented version of Randy Holden's latest project. Holden was once lead guitarist with surf legends the Fender IV, fronted the Sons Of Adam, lead guitar and chief writer of psychedelic punkoidal masters the Other Half, transient lead guitarist with the inventors of loud and ugly Blue Cheer, and a solo artist in his own right. This 7 song CD sports all of the Fender IV's instros plus his epic "Prayer To Paradise" and a new instro called "Hawaiian Rain." While none of the vintage tracks are from the tapes in the Capitol vaults, it is an essential surf release.
Picks: Mar Gaya, Highway Surfer, Everybody Up, Little Ollie, Malibu Run, Prayer To Paradise, Hawaiian Rain

Track by Track Review


Mar Gaya dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Mar Gaya" is such a monster. Huge ominous sounding tune with a minimalist melody on the low-E that thunders across the aural horizon. Randy Holden is a genius! Must have essential surf. Simply the darkest surf single of 1965. Holden says that the inspiration for this masterpiece was Dick Dale's "The Victor," and you can hear it in the relentlessness of the hypnotic thunder, but "Mar Gaya" is infinitely larger.

Highway Surfer dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Using a rhythm track which is very similar to "Everybody Up," this is a really nice track, almost as cool as it's cousin. Fast, vibrant, and great to drive to.

Everybody Up dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

From the first drum beat of the intro, this track shreds. The beat is strong, the rhythm infectious, and the melody incredibly good. There are few surf instros that compare to the power and energy of this magical track. Exceptionally good playing, and magnificently strong writing. The glissandoes grab and shake you, leaving you spent when it's over.

Little Ollie dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Little Ollie" is a slow painfully ominous track, wholly uncharacteristic of their other work. It is from an acetate of unknown origin, and has never been issued before. In some ways, it's very similar to the Safaris' "Lonely Surf Guitar," but tonally more like the centurions. Amazing!

Malibu Run dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Malibu Run" of the best examples of how ska was creeping into the surf instro sound just before it ended. This is a fine, very melodic, and rhythmically infectious track. Mid tempo magic. Brilliantly melodic and surfy. Check out the more ska-centered cover by the Halibuts. "Malibu Run" is a beautiful rolling song with a great melody line. It was the B-side of "Everybody Up.

Prayer To Paradise dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Clocking in at a mere 22:55, this post modern surf epic borrows darkness from Randy's Other Half / Blue Cheer period, using soaring guitar laid out at a deliberate pace. Very thick and intense. Aside from fine melody lines, some of which are double picked in precise meter, there's the added treat of a surf medley part way through which includes "Hava Nagila" and the Fender IV's "Mar Gaya." In some ways, this spans the gap between the Thrusters and Jimi Hendrix and the classic surf sound. "Prayer To Paradise" demands your attention with a relentless pummeling. The dark side of surf will control you!

Hawaiian Rain dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is an intensely electric solo guitar nod to the island sound, with a long and flowing melody line that calls to the tropics. Rich and ethereal, "Hawaiian Rain" falls on the silence like an invitation to Kona.