Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Surfaris - Playdotdotdotdot
artworkThe Surfaris Play was their first released album, issued after they switched from Richard Delvy & Dot Records. This album includes the Decca / Bud Dant re-recordings of "Wipe Out" and "Surfer Joe," plus a mess of great surf instros, including their follow up single "Point Panic" c/w "Waikiki Run," and some of the greatest of the album cuts including coolest ever cover of the Martin Denny-esq Jamaican sugar cane field ghost story and exotica standard "Similau."
Picks: Waikiki Run, Similau, Batman, Surfing Drums, Point Panic, Miserlou, Wipe Out, Jack The Ripper, Surfaris Stomp, Surf Scene

Track by Track Review


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.