Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Lively Ones - Guitar Legendsdotdotdotdot
artworkThis is a fine selection of tracks from The Lively Ones. It's unusual for a label such as EMI to pick a band like this for such a series, but who can argue. There are no liner notes at all in this budget collection. There are a number of track listing errors: Track 4 is listed as "Forty Miles Of Bad Road," but it's actually the rarity "Butterscotch." The second time "Bustin' Surfboards" appears on the CD, it's listed as "Rumble." The mastering is slightly different. "Shootin' The Pier," which is actually Freddie King's "San-Ho-Zay," is listed as "Surf Drums." "Rik-A-Tik" is listed as "Surfer Boogie."
Picks: Bustin' Surfboards, Crazy Surf, Exodus, Butterscotch, Goofy Foot, High Tide, Hotdoggen, Miserlou, Bustin' Surfboards, Surf Beat, Shootin' The Pier, Rik-A-Tik, Telstar Surf, Walkin' The Board, Walking Memories, Cryin' Guitar, Surf Rider, Mr. Moto

Track by Track Review


Bustin' Surfboards dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The (Hollywood) Tornadoes had a national hit with this tune. Here, the Lively Ones perform it with a quite different feel than the gutty ominous original. Great track.

Crazy Surf dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

I used to think "Crazy Surf" was just a strange barely surf instro that wasn't very interesting. I've recently reassessed it, coming to the view that's it's pretty original, though it's way too unchanging, and the rhythm guitar seems to be out of tune.

Exodus dotdotdotdotdot
Soundtrack Tango Surf (Instrumental)

This version of "Exodus" remains my favorite of all, with it's cheesy wood block horse gallops and charming tremolo. A Tango backtrack, major whammy stingers in the intro and outro, and the infectiousness of a familiar hit melody reworked into a superb surf track!

Butterscotch dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Butterscotch" is a cool obscurity with a bit of a Freddie King feel, busy drums, raspy sax, and classic Lively Ones sound. The R&B flavor and surf tone are a deadly combination. A bit jammy at times, but still very engaging.

Goofy Foot dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

It just doesn't get better than this! A high power track is an essential part of any vintage surf collection. This is just about the best Lively Ones track ever! Fast, powerful, high energy, ripping good guitar work, ample changes. Stunning! It's been covered, but never matched.

High Tide dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is one of the most infectious and fiery surf instros anywhere. It flies through a staccato lead line, and a softer break. Very powerful. "High Tide" is one of my favorite classic surf tracks.

Hotdoggen dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Hotdoggen" is one of the happiest of surf tracks. An infectious tune that's just plain delightful. Great sound and fun!

Miserlou dotdotdotdot
Spy Surf (Instrumental)

"Miserlou" is match for the Dick Dale version, but a damn fine rendition anyway. This has something magnetic about it, even though it is in some ways light weight.

Bustin' Surfboards dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The (Hollywood) Tornadoes had a national hit with this tune. Here, the Lively Ones perform it with a quite different feel than the gutty ominous original. Great track.

Surf Beat dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a less gutty sound than the Dick Dale original, but a very cool track anyway. The raspy sax break, the muted reverb, and the fine performance all add up to a rousing surf stomp.

Shootin' The Pier dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Shootin' The Pier" is a great surfization of Freddie King's "San-Ho-Zay," infectious and totally natural. Great.

Rik-A-Tik dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Fireballs's were closer to the surf sound than any other presurf instro band. This tune was quite dry and much less interesting than what these guys did with it. It's just about the happiest surf rave anywhere. An absolute must have classic track.

Telstar Surf dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Tornados had a major hit with Joe Meek's tune, and the whole world discovered Joe's formula super compression and fill every nook and cranny production techniques... a sort of British Phil Specter. This coexisted with the surf movement in the US, and so it was adapted to surf by many a surf band. This version is not the best out there, but certainly is among the top ten.

Walkin' The Board dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Walkin' The Board" is a happy pumpin' tune with a raspy sax in the back. Rollin' tune that carries you right along. Splashy and full of vigor.

Walking Memories dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Walking Memories" is a slow tune from 1963 that's a last dance kinda thing. Pretty, but really doesn't stand out.

Cryin' Guitar dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Cryin' Guitar" is another title for "Paradise Cove." The intense sadness and island chords are beautiful. Tribal and profound.

Surf Rider dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is what happens when a real surfband covers a Nokie Edwards (Ventures) tune that had no relation to surf as written. In fact, it started life as a Potato concept song called "Spudnik." This is the grand and beautiful song that runs under the ending credits of Pulp Fiction. This is the full length version, not the single edit.

Mr. Moto dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Among the first bands labeled as a Surf Band, the Belairs first single (recorded in May 1961, three months before Dick Dale's first surf single) became a fixture of the set lists of nearly every surf band in the world. The Lively Ones took it a step further, playing with more speed and fire than anyone at the time. Great version. Quite intense.