Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Surfaris - Wipe Out - The Singles Album 1963-1967dotdotdotdot
artworkFrom small potatoes local, through the Richard Delvecchio debacle, Bud Dant's marginal production and musician replacements, and the rise and fall of surf music. They were a band to be reckoned with, but their label didn't see it that way. This compilation includes their first single, and spans their entire tenure with Decca. There is the UK only track "Baja," the previously unreleased "Route 66," and a slab of their post surf folk rock recordings.

By 1966, Gary Usher was producing their sessions. This was the last straw for the likes of Jim Fuller and Bob Berryhill, who joined Pat Connolly in quitting in disgust at the way Usher treated them. Usher referred to them as "just a bunch of kids on stage playing three chords." He had replaced the entire band except for Ron in studio with his usual studio session men, who had been the Hondells and the Super Stocks, among others. Ken Forssi (future member of Love) replaced Connolly, but he too left, leaving Ron Wilson with Jim Pash, Steve Johnson, and Jack Oldham. Oldham wrote this track. Usher shuttled them off into folk rock, burying forever their exceptional surf roots. Ron Wilson went on to join Joy Of Cooking. It was, after all, 1966.
Picks: Wipe Out, Point Panic, Waikiki Run, Scatter Shield, Murphy The Surfie, Baja, Chicago Greens

Track by Track Review

Wipe Out dotdotdotdot
TV Surf (Instrumental)

"Wipe Out" is simply the definitive drummer's badge of courage. If he can do a decent "Wipe Out," he's hired. Simple, and written and recorded in just minutes, this is an international classic that has sold multimillions of copies, and still does every year worldwide.

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.

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.

Scatter Shield dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

One of the best album tracks from this band. It was a single, and still carries a lot of weight with me. The engine rev up - clutch blow up sound effects at the beginning are cool. It's a good vehicle for Ron Wilson's drumming, and it's melodic and powerful.

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.

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.

Chicago Greens dotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

This rare track is a pedestrian Booker T. and the MG's sorta thing. Only Ron Wilson and Jim Pash remained in the band at this point.