Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Surfaris - Hit City 64 / Fun City USAdotdotdotdot
artworkThis coupling of Hit City 64 and Fun City USA brings the first CD issue of that last unissued instrumental track from the Surfaris' Decca period, and it's a grand surf treatment of the jazz standard "Comin' Home Baby." Also here are many of my personal faves, including "Scatter Shield," "Hiawatha," "Dune Buggy," and "Burnin' Rubber."
Picks: Scatter Shield, Mystic Island Drums, Comin' Home Baby, Hiawatha, Scratch, Earthquake, Dune Buggy, Hot Rod Graveyard, Murphy The Surfie, Apache, Moon Dawg, Big Surge, Burnin' Rubber, Shazam

Track by Track Review

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.

Mystic Island Drums dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

In those days of obligatory drum solos, and particularly from the band that brought you "Wipe Out," it was mandatory for them to have a show off track for Ron. This features really heavy guitar chords and great drumming, showing just how much unique energy he had. Great fun.

Comin' Home Baby dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Herbie Mann's "Comin' Home Baby" gets the full surf treatment. Beyond cool, it drips vintage surf innocence and power in a soft package. It's a marvelous recording that displays the dynamics this band could reach with a soft melody.

Hiawatha dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Based on the melody from the Hamm's beer commercials of the day, this track is the best version of the tune first surfed up by the Nobles. It's Indian tom tom driven sensibility is infectious.

Scratch dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A reasonable version, not stellar, but average.

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.

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.