Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Surfaris - Play / Fun City USAdotdotdotdotdot
artworkTwo of the better Surfaris albums on one CD is cause enough to add this gem to your library. The Surfaris Play was their first released album, issued after they switched from Richard Delvy and Dot Records. Someday, the tracks they laid down for Delvy will find release, but until that happens, this is their first foray into album country. These albums include the Decca / Bud Dant rerecordings of "Wipe Out" and "Surfer Joe," plus a mess of great surf instros, including their follow up single "Point Panic" c/w "Waikiki Run," plus some of the greatest of the album cuts including "Dune Buggy," "Big Surge," "Burnin' Rubber," "Surf Scene," "Jack The Ripper," and the coolest ever cover of the Martin Denny-esq Jamaican sugar cane field ghost story & exotica standard "Similau." A fine twofer.
Picks: Dune Buggy, Hot Rod Graveyard, Murphy The Surfie, Apache, Moon Dawg, Big Surge, Burnin' Rubber, Shazam, Waikiki Run, Similau, Batman, Surfing Drums, Point Panic, Miserlou, Wipe Out, Jack The Ripper, Surfaris Stomp, Surf Scene

Track by Track Review


Dune Buggy dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This track is one of the coolest and most unique vintage surf tracks ever recorded. It's marvelous blend of rhythm and melody is utterly infectious. I can still recall the thrill of hearing it for the first time. The rhythmic chunk, the tribal riffs, the melody that seems to only slightly drift off of a single note, the angry sax, all contribute to a masterpiece of instrumental music. Brilliant!

Hot Rod Graveyard dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A slow ominous number, featuring a very simple melody and cool vibes. It is dark, brooding, evil, and lurks in your closet when you're sleeping. A very cool track. The contrast between the simple guitar parts and Ron Wilson's bitchin' rolling drums is perfect. A great track.

Murphy The Surfie dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A cover of the Joy Boys' (Australian surf band) instro that Ron Wilson fell in love with when they toured there in the sixties. It's up beat, happy, and really fun. It rolls along like a military march in high gear. Infectious high spirited fun.

Apache dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A pedestrian version of the Jerry Lordan classic, with too much echoplex on the guitar, distracting from the tune. yet, given the plethora of Shadows clone versions out there, this original arrangement, particularly the rhythm guitar, is a refreshing change.

Moon Dawg dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A fine cover of the Gamblers' 1960 hit single. This is the first time it was committed to disc all reverbed out. It growls and has a more menacing tone. Great track.

Big Surge dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A mighty simple big chord dramatic surf number. It's dynamics and power chord whammy create a truly storm-surf grinder. Very cool.

Burnin' Rubber dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Burnin' Rubber" is one of those really catchy instros that marked the rise of surf. The gentle guitar lines are haunting. The song's structure is rhythm oriented, and the moderately modulated melody is very cool. It's songs like this that show just how powerful a simple melody can be when well written and well played. My hat's off to Jim Fuller, who made these sorts of track shine for the Surfaris. Ron Wilson's drum solo is short and tasty. Great listening... it'll get ya moving.

Shazam dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Duane Eddy standard, better than Duane's, but still not a great tune.

Waikiki Run dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The boy's first hit with "Wipe Out" and "Surfer Joe." Their follow up single was "Point Panic" c/w "Waikiki Run," the B-side of which is this track. It's a great tom tom surf rave. The manic island drums are splendid, and the brilliant blend of musical elements shows off the prowess of this mighty band.

Similau dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The coolest ever cover of the Martin Denny-esq Jamaican sugar cane field ghost story and exotica standard "Similau." This is their crowning glory! When it comes down to one Surfaris track, for me, this is it. Rhythmic, chunky, gutsy, and melodic. Brilliantly arranged.

Batman dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is not the Neil Hefty TV theme. It's the track that Lee Hazelwood penned for the first Astronauts album. A lot like "Movin'," it has that melodic damped string sound you'd expect from that writer. Great track.

Surfing Drums dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A cover of Dick Dale's cover of Bo Diddley's "Hush Your Mouth" , with a lighter more choppy arrangement than Dale's. It sports a more mystic feel than Dick's, but retains the tribal drums. Fine track.

Point Panic dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A-side of the follow up single to "Wipe Out." Great intro scream and tom toms. The fire in the bones of the band is clear here. High spirited, chunky, and rhythmic. Grand power glissandoes, and those wonderful Ron Wilson drums. Jim Pash's sax is most appropriate. Not often covered, but a really good tune.

Miserlou dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Like "Surfing Drums," this is a more choppy cover of the standard surf monster. Solid, less dynamic guitar sound, but ample punch in the performance. A fine rendition.

Wipe Out dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Decca / Bud Dant rerecording of "Wipe Out," rerecorded due to the legal wrangling between Dot Records / Richard Delvy and the Surfaris. It has none of the character of the original, being softer and more controlled. Still, it's a fascinating glimpse into the world of surf recording.

Jack The Ripper dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

An unusual and highly listenable version of Link Wray's classic. It's not ominous, but it moves well and is quite enjoyable. It sports an almost funky soulful groove, a haunting sway that captivates.

Surfaris Stomp dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Ah yes, the obligatory namesake song. A simple progression melody. It's just OK.

Surf Scene dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Another odd track, the band had a knack of writing and arranging tunes unlike any other surf band. It's false pauses are so cool, and when they underlay the super simple bluesy melody, it all comes together in a grand track. Wonderful.