Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Royaltones - Surf Partydotdotdot
artworkIt's great to see recordings from the Royaltones available. While almost entirely covers, they've been illusive for too long. I'll bet these guys are very good live. My only gripe with this disc is the mix. The guitar is not out front enough, the great drumming is often buried, and the keys are overbearing with headphones. OK, that's the techie in me talking, but I think an otherwise very good listen is held back from its full potential.
Picks: Diamond Head, Calhoun Surf, Lonely Bull, Raw-Hide, Telstar, Apache, Mr. Moto, Sweet Ride, Sleep Walk, Jack The Ripper, Hawaii 5-0, Pipeline, Comin' Home Baby, Miserlou, Endless Summer

Track by Track Review


Diamond Head dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Diamond Head" is introduced with a modified riff that's very friendly. A straightforward arrangement is lovingly played. The track is quite nice, though the keys swirl in stereo with a little tool much dominance.

Calhoun Surf dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Overtones' "Calhoun Surf" is played with wetness and gentle flow. The guitar is very inviting and fluid.

Lonely Bull dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Sol Lake's TJB epic just oozes liquid flow. Beautiful reverb and tone, and a very lush feeling arrangement.

Raw-Hide dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A semi-smooth surf arrangement of Link Wray's rocker. It rocks, but it's also less abrasive. Great guitar and drums.

Telstar dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Tornados's classic "Telstar" was the first UK single to top the US charts, before the Beatles and their fellow crooners and ravers. In some ways, this version bows to the Tornados' arrangement, but it's all reverbed out and not so compressed.

Apache dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With an eye on the Jorgen Ingmann version, the Royaltones lushly play "Apache" with a liquid flow. Beautiful.

Mr. Moto dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Mr. Moto" with reverb. Simply a nicely played reverent performance of a venerable standard. It's odd to hear the keys carrying the rhythm guitar's role.

Sweet Ride dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Heavy double picked low-E surf lead brings on a grodie and powerful original. Murky sound doesn't do this very cool instro justice. Great guitar and drums.

Sleep Walk dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Reverb always makes "Sleep Walk" even more fluid than Santo and Johnny's original. This is quite nice and very romantic.

Jack The Ripper dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Those long angry chords, that tribal beat, that haunting melody line. Wait, it must be "Jack The Ripper!" The odd stereo with the guitar way off to the left is weird, but the performance rips, and the guys are having fun.

Hawaii 5-0 dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Mort Shuman's TV theme is more TV theme like than most versions I've heard. Not like the Ventures', but very thematic.

Pipeline dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Directly from the tube, "Pipeline" is nicely performed. Captured in indiscreet mono, the power and flow of the song and the musicians nevertheless comes through with pizzazz. Very reverent.

Comin' Home Baby dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The precious few surf versions of this Herbie Mann song all speak to the soul. In many ways, this is more reverent, more jazz combo like. Great arrangement.

Miserlou dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Based on Dick Dale's later arrangements, and with trumpet-like keys, this version is very effective and gets right to the whole point of surf as it was at the dawn. Over a Million Recorded so to speak, and yet Nicolas Roubanis's little ditty always pleases.

Endless Summer dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A little spooky, and a lot summery, with excellent percussion work, "Endless Summer" presents the carefree sunsets of those early days gone by.