Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Kim Humphreys - Surfin' Guitardotdotdot
artworkKim Humphreys is an Aussie with a pure appreciation of Australian Surf roots. The vintage genre down under is best typified by the Atlantics who impressed the boofus out of Ron Wilson & The Surfaris when they toured the land of the platypus & wallaby. It's a sound based heavily on Hank Marvin's guitar sound (the Shadows), but played with much more fervor & speed. One of the hottest tracks on the CD is Kim's version of the Atlantics' "Bombora" (no relation to the Original Surfaris' tune). Kim is another artist I discovered via the wonderful Sounds From The Inside Compilation from California Music Magazine.

Incidentally, Kim says that the female voice used on "Return To Surf City" from that CD was contributed by sixties Australia pop legend Little Patti, who hit big time in with "He's My Blonde Stompie Wompie Real Gone Surfer Boy". She used to be a regular at Surf City, a club in Sydney where surf bands were regularly featured back then.

Surfin' Guitar is the CD release of an album Kim recorded at home on 4 track in 1979 under the title Brave New Wave. It's a great Aussie surf issue, especially when taken in the context of the recording date. The only other things happening at the time were the 14th comeback of the most energy free band in the world (the Ventures), and early home recordings by the fledgling Jon & The Nightriders, plus early rehearsals of the Halibuts & the Surf Raiders. Kim is now working on mix down of an as yet untitled CD release targeted for issue by year's end.
Picks: Wedding Cake Island, Bombora, Goofy Foot, Man Of Mystery, The Flipper, Johnny Guitar, Shazam, Prairie, Murphie The Surfie, The Cruel Sea, Dancing Mood, Bondi Stomp, Moon Shot, Jaywalker, Apache, Smoke and Stack, Ski Run, Running Wild, Ratbag, Tales Of A Raggy Tramline, Avalon Stomp, Walk, Don't Run

Track by Track Review


Wedding Cake Island dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A very pretty Shadows-like number, melodic and smooth, island imagery, and twang. Quite a bit of major label guitar sound on the solos.

Bombora dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Not the Original Surfaris tune, but the Atlantics tune. It has all the flair of the original, but with updated effects. Like the Atlantics, this is a faster Shadows based style, with racing drums and a walking bass. A bit of the commercial solo here and there, but generally a very nice track.

Goofy Foot dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Not the famous Lively Ones song, but a cool variant on maybe Ray Columbus or another of the sixties Aussie bands. It has a nifty almost trotting rhythm track, and a very surfable lead. Infectious.

Man Of Mystery dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Shadows' classic recorded with great reverence. The tonality is more edgy than the original, but the pace and feel are the same. Obviously a labor of love. Hot break guitar work, and an infectious delivery.

The Flipper dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Breakaways' obscuro, rapidly plucked in that damped Echoplexed style, almost cricket like in it's sound. Cutesy, but endearing.

Johnny Guitar dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

An over-covered song from days gone by. Melodic and pretty, but the light weight writing is hard to overcome. The playing is pristine and beautiful. The performance is dramatic and precise.

Shazam dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Duane Eddy and Lee Hazelwood conspired on this tune originally, and Kim delivers the goods with a better than average rendition. Cowboys everywhere will want to wrap their saddle sores in this fun track.

Prairie dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Nocturnes cut this originally. It is quite surfy in structure. Exceptional playing and an interesting melody make for a winner. Lots of pizzazz on the old ax makes for lasting value.

Murphie The Surfie dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

When the Surfaris borrowed this from the Aussie band that originally cut it, they brought it into the land of real surf as the B-side of "Go Go Go For Louie's Place." This song is cool. It is choppy and unusually structured. Kim's rendition is both accurate and updated. Way fun.

The Cruel Sea dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

When the Dakotas cut this, they could not have known that it would outlast much of their output with Billy J. Kramer. It's been covered a lot, but this is the hottest version on disc. Flying guitars and unusual tones for this track, combined with lots of energy, create a solid and enduring track.

Dancing Mood dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Snappy little number with plenty of energy and a solid low-E melody. A bit more guitar hero break action than I like, but still a very good track. Full bodied sound and a strong delivery.

Bondi Stomp dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Repetitious, but gutty and interesting. Lots of damped second guitar and plenty of slide accents. Nice track.

Moon Shot dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Fireball George Tomsco wrote this little puppy. It's faster and spunkier here, but very respectful.

Jaywalker dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Is this a cover of a the Fabulous Blue Jays song. It's a low-E semi crunchy number, with a relatively mean sounding guitar over a walking bass line. Sorta R&B for Sea.

Apache dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A very smooth cover of the Shadows' rendition of the Jerry Lordan classic, updated with round guitar tones and a moody sound. very nice version among the sea of covers.

Smoke and Stack dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A moody distant sound with mysterious tones and ringing lead. A very nice track. It is slow and sinewy, smooth and dark, islandic, and pretty. It even sports a bit of growly low-E work in the bridge. Cool.

Ski Run dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Upper mid tempo chunky with a thin lead line that really works well. A spirited performance and a mighty hook, with really interesting shallow phasing on the guitar, applied slowly and sparsely in just the right spots.

Running Wild dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Up tempo Shadows-like number with no special appeal.

Ratbag dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Choppy spunky mid tempo number with a curious draw to it. The Ratbags originally did this, though I've never heard their version, so I have no reference point for how Kim refurbished it. Solid and different.

Tales Of A Raggy Tramline dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This Shadows-rockabilly-ish thing has a good and brief drum solo in the middle, and a bit of a nifty rhythm track. It is pleasant, spunky, but not overwhelmingly good.

Avalon Stomp dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A fifties like progression and a semi-military beat. OK.

Walk, Don't Run dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Well, the eighties snare could disappear... The guitar treatment is nice and complimentary, and Kim's adjustments to the melody line create an unusual variation.