Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Danny Marks - Surfin' Safaridotdotdot
artworkMost of the time, a CD full of covers is not a good sign, but guitarist Danny Marks has taken the music to heart as he arranged these standards for discount chain distribution. Unlike many others that have gone this route before, there are some very credible and refreshingly uplifting tracks here. I found myself coming back to the less hyper version of "Miserlou" more than a few times.
Picks: Pipeline, Surf Rider, Out Of Limits, Surfin' Safari, California Sun, Surfin' USA, Summertime Blues, Fun Fun Fun, Help Me Rhonda, Penetration, Surfer Girl, Wipe Out, Wouldn't It Be Nice, Miserlou, I Get Around

Track by Track Review

Pipeline dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a very reverent arrangement of the Chantays' "Pipeline," with a mix of influences between the Ventures guitar tone and the originators' piano. The glissando in the middle comes to a false end, before launching back into the song for another go-round. It's well recorded and quite nice!

Surf Rider dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

I think this is based on the Ventures' original arrangement, but with a little Lively Ones' smoothness added. Respectful and very smooth.

Out Of Limits dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This version of the Mar-Kets' "Out Of Limits" is tonally pretty darn accurate. It's less orchestral and more twangy, and sports the kind of keys the Ventures used when they covered it.

Surfin' Safari dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

It's nice to hear someone splash up the Beach Boys, and Danny Marks certainly does that. Sparkling of the beach and brine, "Surfin' Safari" is vibrant and enticing.

California Sun dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Rivieras' "California Sun" is surfed and rocked with a solid approach. The keys are sort of carnival-ish, but the guitar does the song well.

Surfin' USA dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Beach Boys' "Surfin' USA" is melodic enough to work well as an instro, and Danny Marks has arranged it simply and with the summer sun in mind. Nice track.

Summertime Blues dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Eddie Cochran's venerable "Summertime Blues" has seen everything from his original teenage angst version through the Flamin' Groovies' perfect rock 'n' roll performance to Tyrannosaurus Rex's fairy tale folk and Dick Dale's throaty romp. Danny Marks does a strait rockin' sunny California beach arrangement that calls to a summer topdown drive. Quite nice.

Fun Fun Fun dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Beach Boys' catchy "Fun Fun Fun" is warmed with a little whammy and swirled with stereo Leslie organ. Simple fun.

Help Me Rhonda dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

One of the great pop songs, the Beach Boys' "Help Me Rhonda" pleasantly translates to the surf idiom. Summer fun on the boardwalk at sunset!

Penetration dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a tasteful and reverent cover of the Pyramids' classic "Penetration." Thankfully, it is not the Ventures' In Space arrangement. Excellent twang, inviting whammy, and lots of infectious energy.

Surfer Girl dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

I've always thought "Surfer Girl" was a really sappy song. Instrumentally, it takes on a liquid island sunset air that's actually quite appealing. Some really nice guitar work here.

Wipe Out dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Credible drum work is the highlight here. Aside from its must-play status, "Wipe Out" is just too common and virtually never measures up to the original Surfaris release. Danny Marks' version is just slightly less electric, but with such solid drums work, it works pretty well.

Wouldn't It Be Nice dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Nicely translated out of the Beach Boys' vocal arena, "Wouldn't It Be Nice" is pleasant and well defined.

Miserlou dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is an interesting version of "Miserlou," with an approach mot too far from the Glenn Grey's (Challengers) version, but less intense. The restrained arrangement and piano work right off Dick Dale's single make this a fine take well worth a few spins. Big grins here.

I Get Around dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Beach Boys' "I Get Around" is more familiar than anything else. Pleasant enough, but not really strong.