Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Surfaris - Surfaris Stompdotdotdotdot
artworkMore vault material from one of the best vintage bands. There is a version of "High Tide" (Lively Ones without the double picking) and "Hot Doggin'" (aka "Guitarget") reportedly from the same sessions as "Wipe Out" and "Surfer Joe." Having listened to the CD, the aural qualities of the recording do sound like the same room and set-up as "Wipe Out" and "Surfer Joe." That would be really hard to fake. The performance sounds very tentative, and may just have been a warm-up, thus no one remembering. It is definitely not from the same rooms or producers that did the Decca stuff, judging from the sound. It also does not sound like any kind of home session. The high end sounds rolled off and/or noise reduced, with remnants of hiss still slightly audible. Even the guitar effects are about the same as "Wipe Out." The liners say that Paul Buff rolled the tape while the boys warmed up on tunes they sorta knew. I'll buy that. I always record sound checks and warm-ups just in case something magical happens. Other first time ever tracks include "Blue Surf," "Bombora" (from the Atlantics, not the Original Surfaris), "The Rise and Fall Of Flingle Bunt," and "Samoa" (aka "The Quiet Surf" - a Richie Podolor masterpiece), plus the formerly UK only "Baja." Instrumentals still missing from CD are great tracks like "Comin' Home Baby," and "Storm Surf." The liner notes are reasonably honest and well written.
Picks: Surfaris Stomp, Dune Buggy, Similau, Miserlou, Blue Surf, Hot Rod Graveyard, Moon Dawg, The Crusher, Theme Of The Battle Maiden, Earthquake, The Rise and Fall Of Flingel Bunt, My Buddy Seat, High Tide, Baja, Scratch, Samoa, Hot Doggin'

Track by Track Review


Surfaris Stomp dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

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

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!

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.

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.

Blue Surf dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A super rare track, originally only available in the UK as an album cut. It's a slow number of the Beyond The Blue ilk. Really nice tune.

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.

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.

The Crusher dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This previously unreleased US track is a cover of a tune by Australia's Atlantics, one of the bands they encountered on the Australian tour in the sixties. It's pretty cool.

Theme Of The Battle Maiden dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This could have languished in the vaults forever without notice and no loss would have ensued. It's way out of character, and not too interesting to boot.

Earthquake dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Nobles were Ron Wilson's favorite band, or so he told me several times in the early eighties. His respect for their writing and performance was born out on their VJ album, despite the Aki Aleong tracks on it. This is one of their better written works, and the performance is rolling, smooth, and oh-so nice to hear. Nice use of echoplex.

The Rise and Fall Of Flingel Bunt dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is an often recorded number (Shadows, Challengers, etc.) titled for the character in the Surfer Magazine cartoon strip. It's a nifty number, slow, funky, unusual as surf tunes go.

My Buddy Seat dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

An unreleased number that's not too interesting. A library filler, but I wouldn't listen very often.

High Tide dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is magnificent to hear. It is obviously from the original "Surfer Joe" / "Wipe Out" sessions. It had been widely believed from every source that no other songs were recorded at that session, but the sound characteristics are exactly the same, and bear no resemblance at all to the Decca / Bud Dant sessions. They were probably recorded as sound check or warm up numbers, as was/is the practice. It is interesting to hear the slower earlier arrangement of this tune, before the high speed power delivery the Lively Ones ended up with. A spectacular find. The band was really quite good at that session.

Baja dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A formerly UK only track, this is a fairly pedestrian rendition of the classic, but I'm a sucker for hard to find stuff.

Scratch dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A reasonable version, not stellar, but average.

Samoa dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is easily one of my favorite all time surf instros, and it's Richie Podolor on guitar and penmanship, of course. What a grand sound. This is a pretty good cover. The Mermen do this very well. It became "Quiet Surf." This also comes from the "Surfer Joe" / "Wipe Out" sessions.

Hot Doggin' dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Another vault purge find. This is a good version of the song, and is well worth having.