Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Rhythm Rockers - Surfing Classicsdotdotdot
artworkThis is an mp3 reissue of the classic Challenge album. There are a couple of serious surf gems here.
Picks: The Breeze and I, Surfin' At Mazatlan, Breakfast At Trestles, Caravan, Moondawg, Rendezvous Stomp

Track by Track Review


The Breeze and I dotdotdot
Prom Surf (Instrumental)

Nothing at all like any of the other surf covers of this Ernesto Lacuoña tune, this is saucy and slow, with a prom feel to it. The lead guitar gently and dryly plays the melody with subtlety and style, giving way to a suave sax duet break with a real sense of pretty rock. The piano lines are very cool too!

The Slide dotdot
Surf R&B (Instrumental)

Groovin' rhythm and blues for the hop. The horn duet is smooth, but the groove is way too trite.

Get It On dotdotdot
Frat Surf (Instrumental)

"Get It On" seems influenced by Dick Dale's "Take It Off" in the first bar, but soon after, it becomes a party groove, a soulful riff with a swirling organ break.

You Can't Sit Down dotdot
Surf R&B (Instrumental)

The Dartells' "You Can't Sit Down" played in a relatively straight fashion, given the differences in line up.

Surfin' At Mazatlan dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Opening with a Spanish run in bull fight seriousness, "Surfin' At Mazatlan" becomes a thick reverby rhythm based track without much of a melody. Progression is the order of the day. It's definitely extra chunky frat surf rock in a fifties structure with surf guitar added.

Breakfast At Trestles dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

More raw and rhythmic than reverbed, they were a dance band with a solid following. "Breakfast At Trestles" is from their lone album, and exemplifies them. This sports a cool title I've always liked. The basis of the tune is a fifties boogie, with reverbed guitar and lots of twang. No melody, but quite infectious.

Caravan dotdotdot
R&B Surf (Instrumental)

With all the James Brown they can muster, they deliver Caravan like it was Night Train with a shimmering vibrato lead, and a saucy sax break. It's pretty cool.

Moovin' N' Groovin' dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Lee Hazelwood's groover played on a damped reverbed guitar as if the rhythm is the whole thing. The sax is nasty, and it does sport quite a chunk. Nice.

Wipeout dotdotdot
Surf R&B (Instrumental)

Neither the Surfaris or the Impacts, "Wipeout" is much closer to the Yardbirds arrangement of Bo Diddley's "I'm A Man" than surf. It's a jammin' number with a sax lead. Solid jam, just not special or unique.

Moondawg dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a pretty strong rendition of the Gamblers' 1960 single. The damped reverb rhythm and the ultra twang lead are really cool here. It doesn't break any ground, but it definitely pleases. Dig the rhythm.

Nine Toes dotdotdot
Surf R&B (Instrumental)

This reverbed number is basically an R&B jam, like "Night Train" or "Last Night." It has that standard beat, the walking bass line, and a wailing sax jamming on a riff.

Garbage Cans dotdotdot
Blues (Instrumental)

A sultry slow blues piano roll, with a slow walking bass line, and brushed drums. The effect here is late night smoky bar.

Ramrod dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a reverby version of Al Casey's "Ramrod." It's way powerful from a frat surf point of view. You can almost feel the beer and under class girls. A Real party smash.

Rendezvous Stomp dotdotdot
Surf Stomp (Instrumental)

This is what I always think of when the term "stomp" comes up in surf conversation. It has a similar sound and feel to Bruce Johnston's "Original Surfers Stomp," but it's instro of course, and much more authentic. You can just see a line of surfers and bunnies doing the surfers stomp. Spunky.