Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Super Stocks - The Complete Recordingsdotdotdotdot
artworkThis CD is magnificent! So, after much of this being available on various boots & way-expensive Japanese vinyl sourced CD's, One Way has finally issued it domestically for around $25 bucks! It contains three complete albums on 2 CD's, plus the "unreleased demos" that showed up on the Japanese CD last year. A lot of this is just Gary Usher vocal mung (unless you're an Usher vocal fan, and I'm not), but there is a powerful helping of solid guitar instros, mostly from the paws of my favorite unsung hero of the surf twang, Richard Podolor! It is, unfortunately, completely devoid of any liner notes, except for the original artwork stuff. Tracks 20 through 27 on disc two are actually Richie Podolor demos, sometimes released as the Devons. Anyway, if you haven't already picked up on the Super Stocks, now you have no excuse!

The Super Stocks were produced by Jim Economides (Dick Dale's Capitol sessions, with Super Stocks members being most of this band instead of the Del-tones) or Gary Usher.

The Super Stocks were a superb studio band. The line up was Richie Podolor - lead guitar (one of surf's most endearing writers), Richard Burns - rhythm guitar, Hal Blaine - drums, Russell Bridges (Leon Russell) - piano, Steven Kreisman (Steve Douglas) - sax, and Bill Cooper - bass. This line up was also the Devons, Richie Allen & The Pacific Surfers, the Ghouls, and the band behind many of the Hondells and Sandy Nelson recordings, with occasional substitutions.

Podolor went on with partner Bill Cooper to produce for Dunhill (Steppenwolf's first LP was the first thing I heard that got me interested in music production), before founding American Recording Studio.
Picks: "T" Roadster, Ramcharger, Wheelstands, Trophy Run, Ventura, Santa Barbara, Redondo Beach, Balboa Island, Oceanside, Midnight Run, Newport Beach, Gridiron Goodie, The Last Walk, Coffin Nails, Beat '65, Free Fall, Untitled Instrumental #1, Untitled Instrumental #2, Untitled Instrumental #3, Untitled Instrumental #4, Untitled Instrumental #5, Santa Barbara

Track by Track Review


"T" Roadster dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This track is a pretty standard progression much in the style of so many studio tracks, exhibiting little of the Super Stocks prowess. It has no direction, but some tasty sax work and great drums.

Ramcharger dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This number is closer to what would become the signature Super Stocks instro sound, though still unremarkable in the melody department, and uninspired in the performance, except for the drums. That all said, this studio group gelled in ways that few others did.

Wheelstands dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is another simple progression with sax accents, not much better than "Ramcharger," but with organ breaks instead of sax.

Trophy Run dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Studio wizardry on guitar, though it's more repetitious than I usually like. The players include Richard Burns, Hal Blaine, and Leon Russell.

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.

Gridiron Goodie dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This badly titled track features a tight melody line, and a rhythmic backtrack, with fine playing by Podolor and the whole crew. The chords that open are rich, and the melody riff engaging. The break is a bit too jam-like for me, but otherwise it is a fine track.

The Last Walk dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This very pretty track is just as sad and romantic as you might expect from the title. It has a country melody line, and a slow-dance backtrack with brilliant Ferrante and Teischer-like piano work. Quite a nice track.

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 #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.

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.

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.