Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Surfaris - Street Partydotdotdotdot
artworkThe Surfaris are captured in full tilt on this very strong release. Significantly evolved from earlier sessions, this is an intriguing mix of surf and rock, a continuation of the Packards' idea and Dead Men Don't Surf. With immediate sound and strong energy, and some fine arranging, this has become a current fave.
Picks: Baja, Peter Gunn, Ramrod, Let's Go Trippin' - Surf Beat, 40 Miles Of Bad Road, Mr. Moto, Sleep Walk, Scratchy, Surf Drums, Surf Rider

Track by Track Review


Baja dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The infinite perfection that is Lee Hazelwood's "Baja" is presented in a continuation of the arrangement that Paul Johnson has been evolving since his marvelous eighties surfband the Packards. This is more than just the culmination of that superbly crafted idea, it's magical. This is the sort of track that raises the hair on the back of your neck. Outstanding playing and sound at the pinnacle of the song's potential. Sound over the top? Maybe, but at the first line, it was clear that this is where Paul was headed with this song. I don't know who was the driver here, or who contributed what, but this is simply spectacular! there are not enough stars!

Peter Gunn dotdotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Rousing and full blooded, this is a heavy thundering rendition of Henry Mancini's detective theme. Very strong. The keys are pretty non-surf, and the arrangement leans heavily on rock, but it will not disappoint. The writhing rhythm pulses with power and persuasion. While the keys are not complimentary to the mix to my ear, the track still holds up very well.

Ramrod dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Al Casey's durable "Ramrod" is generated in a rock arrangement that's tuff and fun. The spirit of rock'n'roll is here, as is the funkiness of a rock bar.

Let's Go Trippin' - Surf Beat dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The plinking piano brings an authentic feel to this cover of Dick Dale's first instro, which is not in a surf vein anymore than it was then. Raucous spirit and rockin' jammin' power are the main event here. "Let's Go Trippin'" comes to a near stop before launching into one of the most rhythmic and thick versions of "Surf Beat." The ultra classic beat and progression of this Dick Dale tune is made huge via the dark textures of the guitars. While Trippin' is solid, "Surf Beat" rules! A superbly powerful and dark textured take.

40 Miles Of Bad Road dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Duane Eddy's top forty romp is done with an infectious energy and liquid performance, if not a lot of original arranging. This direct arrangement is very well arranged for live audiences. It's rolling energy carries you along.

Mr. Moto dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Ever the reliable stalwart of the surf genre, Paul Johnson's epic "Mr. Moto" is done here with extreme reverence, right down to the fine nod to Jim Roberts' piano. Wonderful!

Sleep Walk dotdotdot
Rock (Instrumental)

Always a pleasure live, Santo and Johnny's "Sleep Walk" always seems less than engaging on disc somehow. This is performed with great silkiness and cool piano, but the gated snare reverb is quite dated.

Scratchy dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Travis Wammack's playful and slightly whacko "Scratchy" is done in a more serious fashion, with heavy energy and darker tone. In this way, it loses its grin in trade for rhythmic power. This grows on you through the course of listening, resulting in a desire to hear it again. Great track, and highly original arranging.

Surf Drums dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Vocal)

Imagine a merger between Quicksilver Messenger Service's cover of "Mona," a psychedelic interpretation of surf, Johnny's Otis' "Willie And The Hand Jive," and every rhythmic Bo Diddley based track in your memory's backwater. The vocal lines are here, as they should be. Marvelous!

While this is titled "Surf Drums," which was a retitling of Link Wray's Raw-Hide at the hands of the Lively Ones, this is instead an excellent reinvention of Dick Dale's "Surfing Drums," which he borrowed lock, stock, and barrel without credit from Bo Diddley's "Hush Your Mouth." History aside, this is one superb track. Incidentally, Ellis McDaniel liberated that classic Bo Diddley beat/rhythm from a child's game and instrument from Mississippi called a diddley bow.

Surf Rider
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a long and shimmered version of "Surf Rider" with very cool whammy action and solid power. This is a sweeping slightly jammy version of Nokie Edwards's song that sounds a bit like Dead Men Don't Surf, a stunningly cool band that needs to get into a studio!