Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Super Stocks - featuring Gary Usher - Surf Route 101dotdotdotdot
artworkThe first of three Super Stocks albums, this contains their best instrumental work. The album may say the Super Stocks featuring Gary Usher, but the main "feature" in Gary's studio project band was the recording and future production wizard trio of Richie Podolor on lead guitar, Richard Burns - rhythm guitar, Bill Cooper - bass, plus support from Hal Blaine - drums, Russell Bridges (Leon Russell) - piano, Steven Kreisman (Steve Douglas) - sax, and Carol Kaye - guitar. Jim Economides was the session engineer, and Gary Usher produced and arranged. This was among the few studio bands that actually sounded like a band, and has a unique and identifiable "sound."
Picks: Ventura, Santa Barbara, Redondo Beach, Balboa Island, Oceanside, Midnight Run, Newport Beach

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.