Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Surfonics - Droppin' Indotdotdot
artworkThis 2 CD-R set is compiled by Doug Barisone from various rehearsals during 1988-89. The Surfonics played the Bay Area mostly. Disc 2 includes a pair of home demos by Doug, as well as a live recording of "Coyote Point" by the Surfonics. Personnel were Geoff Stitch - lead guitar, Hank Landemere - rhythm guitar, Horst Hartung - bass (88), Don Caulfield - bass (89), and Doug Barisone - drums. The Surfonics differ only slightly from the Reverbs.
Picks: Baja, Six Pack, Pipeline, Rebel Rouser, K-39, Shake-N-Stomp, TR-6, Diamond Head, Stoked, A Shot In The Dark, Cry For A Shadow, Mr. Moto, Decoy, Penetration, La Playa, Devil's Slide, Coyote Point

Track by Track Review


Baja dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Rompin' stompin' melodic reverb opens the show! Extra chunk carries off this rousing version of Lee Hazelwood's best know surf instro. Way cool!

Six Pack dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Sandals' rhythmic "Six Pack" (from Endless Summer) is reverently done, with more reverb and great drums. A very solid performance.

Pipeline dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Surfonics played "Pipeline" very much as the Reverbs did, with both guts and a sense of lightness. It's a little like a mix of the Ventures and the real thing. Great drums and a rhythmic attractiveness.

Rebel Rouser dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Duane Eddy's "Rebel Rouser" gets a straight ahead treatment, as if they surfed in those sleepy rebel towns. Quite nice.

K-39 dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Doug Barisone does a very credible job with Hal Blaine's drum pattern, and the rest of the band don't slouch. Like a rockin' take on the Challengers, the Surfonics rip through "K-39" with real reverence.

Shake-N-Stomp dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Shake-N-Stomp" was one of Dick Dale's early instro singles on his father's Deltone label. The gut-level grit of the original is supplanted by a primitive and honest garage approach. Tuff energy and a clear sense of the spirit of '61.

TR-6 dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

One of the few raucous Sandals' tunes, "TR-6" is driven at full throttle, yet doesn't break the speed limit. Damped reverb and surf crunch, just like the real thing! The drums are a bit low in the mix, but the rockin' spirit comes through.

Diamond Head dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a fine performance of the Ventures' most difficult song to play. Danny Hamilton created an odd guitar vs. beat song that's very attractive. The Surfonics do a straight version laden with twang.

Stoked dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

One of a very small number of Beach Boys instros, and even rarer as an original, "Stoked" has been seldom covered (Smithereens, Dead Men Don't Surf, Lively Ones, Reverbs), and I'm not quite sure why. It's more about rhythm and funk, but it does remain a vital bit of history. The Surfonics do it quite traditionally.

A Shot In The Dark dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Henry Mancini's "A Shot In The Dark" seems to get a lot of attention from modern surfbands. The Surfonics are likely the first to pick it up (1988). Shimmering with vibrato and surf-chop rhythm. Quite cool!

Cry For A Shadow dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Surfonics play this George Harrison / John Lennon song much the way it was cut back in '61. Truly a rehearsal sound-wise, yet very well done. Back when Tony Sheridan was the drummer for the Beatles, they cut their only instro, dedicated to and in the mold of Hank Marvin's Shadows. Largely ignored until Los Straitjackets picked it up, it's been done since by the Ventures, Susan and the SurfTones, and the Diamondheads.

Mr. Moto dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a solid trad surf version of Paul Johnson's "Mr. Moto," with reverb and bass added. Quite satisfying.

Decoy dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Sandals' bouncy "Decoy" is sped up just a tad, and all reverbed out. It's tasteful and basic, and naturally infectious.

Penetration dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a straightforward treatment of the Pyramids' "Penetration." It's twanged and reverbed just right, with a great jammin' midsection that's quite infectious. It's really quite a tribute to the original that this song holds up so well over 4 decades.

La Playa dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"La Playa" is a silken surf instro with a warm and wet sound that haunts a cove. Written really well, and very pleasing, it's just a fine surf instro. Perhaps the high point of the set, with an inviting rhythm and basic sound that gets right to the heart of the matter. This is a demo with Doug Barisone on all instruments cut to 4-track in 1990.

Devil's Slide dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Also a 1990 4-track demo from Doug Barisone, "Devil's Slide" is a more energetic song with an open road feel and a sense of cliffs overlooking massive curl - kinda like the its namesake section of highway 1.

Coyote Point dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This live sound board take of "Coyote Point," which was issued from a live set by the Reverbs (the band the they became). While the sound is more ambient, this cut surely shows the power and magic of the writing. Very nice!