Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Summer Breeze - The Surfin' Sounddotdotdot
artworkThis is one of those amazing CD's that should suck. Just think of the concept. Surf instros, guitars, sequenced drums delivering disco beats, and sequenced keyboards. One would expect to reject lunch upon hearing it. However, this is actually pretty good, even quite enjoyable. There are several versions of a few classic instros, slightly rearranged, but that doesn't seem to detract from the listening. A very cool addition to the library, like an electronic version of the Ventures without ESD protection. That's the surf half of the CD. The other half is very sad disco/MOR. Issued in 1984.
Picks: Diamond Head, Movin', Wipe Out, Theme From 'A Summer Place', Beyond The Reef / Du Soliel Plein Les Yeux / Dedicated / Ebb Tide, Pipeline / Diamond Head, Surfin' U.S.A., Fun Fun Fun, California Girls, Help Me Rhonda, Sunrise At Papeete / Love Letters In The Sand / Blue Hawaii / Hawaiian Wedding Song, Surf City / Surfin' U.S.A.

Track by Track Review

Diamond Head dotdotdotdot
Disco Surf (Instrumental)

One of the things that brings you the realization of just how universal surf music can be is when you find it transformed into another genre without even a care. Danny Hamilton's classic "Diamond Head" was a top five hit in Japan in 1965 for the Ventures. Opening with the sounds of the surf, it displays that transitional ease when a soft Nokie Edwards-like guitar is backed by sequenced drums and bass. The very idea of making it into eighties dance music should sicken, but instead this has an alluring quality. Maybe it's my sense of humor, but I continue to find this appealing.

Movin' dotdotdot
Disco Surf (Instrumental)

Lee Hazelwood probably didn't hear anything like this in his head when he penned this, or maybe he did. The rhythmic nature of the original is a natural platform for this sort of soft postmodern dance treatment. It evokes images of Hazelwood sitting on a porch plucking this from a Silvertone acoustic.

Wipe Out dotdotdot
Disco Surf (Instrumental)

This works OK, but the mechanized drums are never going overcome the Ron Wilson legacy embodied in the original. Tepid and precise.

Theme From 'A Summer Place'
MOR Disco (Instrumental)

Fluffy and melodic, like Percy Faith paddling out on a one-foot day. Pretty, but unremarkable, with it's electro keys lead over a disco beat. This will bring fear into your heart.

Beyond The Reef / Du Soliel Plein Les Yeux / Dedicated / Ebb Tide dot
MOR (Instrumental)

This almost Hawaiian treatment with its wispy slide guitar and xylophone is like a post modern variation of Yellow Bird. The soft guitar work is lush and precise, but listening through the MOR muck is more than a bit difficult.

Pipeline / Diamond Head dotdotdotdot
Disco Surf (Instrumental)

Pipeline is medleyed with a fragment of the same cut of Diamond Head, which is curious, though effective. The merger works well. The keys deliver tunnel whirring oceanic sounds from an inverted view. The piano is replaced by the slushy keys, but otherwise "Pipeline" is pretty interesting. The "Diamond Head" fragment at the end is short an tantalizing in this setting.

Surfin' U.S.A.
MOR Disco Surf (Instrumental)

Instrumentally sequenced pap for the masses, from out of the studio and into your home. It's more fun than old-timey doo wop vocals, but not particularly interesting. There is a distant female chorus in English with a bit of a Japanese accent sings a few lines. It's what would happen if Joe Saraceno was at the knobs and had never heard the Beach Boys.

Fun Fun Fun dot
Disco Surf (Instrumental)

A continuation of the previous track with cheesy keyboard leads and jammin' fifties guitar. Of little interest.

California Girls
Disco (Instrumental)

Sing it pretty girls. The chorus ooh-oohs as the electronic hand claps issue up the beat in the opening. The whole lead is presented by the chorus with "da da's" over really shallow disco.

Help Me Rhonda
Disco Surf (Instrumental)

The girls are at it again... The guitar lead is twangy in a Memphis kinda way, while the femme voxes "do do" the bridge before breaking into a soulful "la la do do" delivery.

Sunrise At Papeete / Love Letters In The Sand / Blue Hawaii / Hawaiian Wedding Song dot
MOR Exotica (Instrumental)

Sounding a lot like a bird free Arthur Lyman track, this brings shivers to the night. "Love Letters In The Sand" is particularly haunting when you consider the Pat Boone influence on this 1931 composition. Then of course there's the Hawaiianesque treatment of Elvis Presley's "Blue Hawaii." Eventually, we arrive at the floaty "Hawaiian Wedding Song."

Surf City / Surfin' U.S.A.
Disco Surf (Instrumental)

Understated studio jam disco with too much string bending and not enough surf. Will the torture never end? No, we're just treated to more of the girls' pretty voices as the Vallium ® prescription and music run out together.