Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Super Stocks - Surf Route 101dotdotdotdot
artworkM&M Records have used vinyl for their source material, but it is pretty clean. It contains 8 previously unreleased tracks from these sessions, essentially as the Devons. The gold mine find here is the original demo for "Beat '65", which the Surfaris recorded later on. It is a really bitchin' tune, but it sounds to my ears like it is heavily influenced by Paul Johnson's Bedlam... you be the judge. M&M Records is a defunct Japanese label, which means only the hippest indie stores carry it, and it costs $30 to $40, but is well worth both the hunt and the price.
Picks: Ventura, Santa Barbara, Redondo Beach, Balboa Island, Oceanside, Midnight Run, Newport Beach, Santa Barbara, Untitled Instrumental #1, Coffin Nails, Beat '65, Free Fall, Untitled Instrumental #2, Untitled Instrumental #3, Untitled Instrumental #4, Untitled Instrumental #5

Track by Track Review


Ventura dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Here, Richie Podolor's lead playing and Gary Usher's melody bring immense improvement to the sound of the Super Stocks, and are accented well with Leon Russell's piano pumping. The rhythm track is infectious and the melody fine.

Santa Barbara dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A rhythmic and chunky track from the pen of Gary Usher, with the lead and rhythm linked in time. The overall effect is an interesting and infectious song with great drums.

Redondo Beach dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This Gary Usher tune is less melodic than most here. It's more rhythm oriented, and employs a sax bridge. It is a relatively tame track for Podolor's guitar playing.

Balboa Island dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A thin guitar leads this Gary Usher progression that rides over a fifties-style backtrack. It is not particularly interesting, even though it is named for the center of Paul Johnson's South Bay Surf Scene. It never quite gets going.

Oceanside dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Richie Podolor's pristine guitar tones and the fine melody from a collaboration of Gary Usher and Richard Burns combine to make a fine instro. It is very much typical of the classic Super Stocks sound at it's best, defined by Podolor's guitar and the rhythmic underpinnings of Sandy Nelson or Hal Blaine (drums), Richard Burns (bass), and Leon Russell (piano). Podolor's addition to this group made an immense difference. This track is a splendid surf tune, displaying both a gentle sound and a powerfully rhythmic nature.

Midnight Run dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is THEE defining Super Stocks track. It is melodic, dramatic, emotional, powerful, dynamic, and highly melodic. It was written by Gary Usher, Richard Burns, and Roger Christian. It has one of the most infectious sounds of any of the more layered less assaultive surf instros. Totally great.

Newport Beach dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A sad and ominous minor key marvel, distant and infectious. Very nice writing from Usher & Burns and extremely fine playing by Podolor. Moody and mysterious, with a dramatic piano riff and haunted guitar.

Santa Barbara dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A rhythmic and chunky track from the pen of Gary Usher, with the lead and rhythm linked in time. The overall effect is an interesting and infectious song with great drums.

Untitled Instrumental #1 dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Another fine Devons master, with brilliant structuring and fine melodic qualities. I don't know what title it may have had, since I don't recognized the melody. It is a fine listening experience, and has plenty of surf twang.

Coffin Nails dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a Devons master of a song written by Bill Cooper and Richie Podolor, and was recorded and released from a different take by them under the name the Ghouls. It is melodic, sports a cool choppy rhythm track, and that marvelous direct into the board guitar tone that is the trademark of Richie Podolor. A fine subdued track.

Beat '65 dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Richard Burns and Richie Podolor wrote this fine track, which was covered by the Surfaris later. Podolor's "Church Key" whammy dips are cool here, and the melodic and rhythmic combination are very strong. Each line of this brilliant bit writing leads unavoidably to the next. A great track.

Free Fall dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This Devons demo master is not the same as the single release, employing a different break section, and more subtle feeling. I prefer this version by a lot. A finer bit of writing of a slow surf intro is hard to fine.

Untitled Instrumental #2 dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This fine one fine Devons Demo! It is a slowed down "Beat '65" with some elements of "Foot Stomp USA" (Richie Allen & the Pacific Surfers).

Untitled Instrumental #3 dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The intro is directly from "Ramcharger" by Chicago's Venturas, but the melody is fast and heavily Middle Eastern / Greek influenced. A very cool bit of writing. It should be developed by someone like the Space Cossacks. It's highly infectious and very memorable.

Untitled Instrumental #4 dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This sad and slow track is a beautiful excursion into the romantic side of Richie Podolor's playing. It has a somewhat familiar melody line which I can't place. It may just be the fact that Podolor has the ability to write such natural melodies that they immediately feel like you've known them forever. A very pretty track.

Untitled Instrumental #5 dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

An unusual bit of writing, combining a recurring riff with chorded accents, big chord chunk, and fanciful bits of picking. It is not very melodic, but highly effective, and just quirky enough to hook you. Great odd little track.