Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Surf Piranhas - Live at the Rainbow, Brussels 3.26.83dotdotdotdot
artworkThe Surf Piranhas have long been a fave of mine, so when Drew Weaver sent me this cassette of a live show in Brussels back in '83, I was elated. It may be an ambient recording, but it sure does show off what a great band they were. 11 great surf instros full of fire and aggression.

In addition to all the fine instros here, the Surf Piranhas also sang some great roots-rock-rockabilly-surfabilly-etc. on songs from their murky past as the El Caminos and/or the Vibrabeams, including "Bunkhouse Rumble," "Right Here At Home," "Good Rockin' Tonight," "Divers Cove," Conway Twitty's "Lonely Blue Boy," "Basement Bop" "Skin Diver" "Baja Beat," "Framed" "Brand New Cadillac," "Lonely Fisherman," a sultry humor laden version of "St. James Infirmary," Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues," their spiffy dance romp "The Boss Piranha" as well as "Do The El Camino" brought forward from the El Caminos, "Rock House," a fine vocal rendition of Stan Jones splendid "(Ghost) Riders In The Sky," "20 Flight Rock," Ben E. King sultry "Stand By Me," "Undertow," the very funny rompin' "Rockin' Dive Party," "Destroy All Rancheros," a complete revamping of "Mystery Train," the silly song about the low brow happenings in "Rancho Verde," "Isla Del Diablo," "Someday Soon," "I'm Goin' Home," and "Me And My Uncle."
Picks: Mr. Moto, Miserlou, El Camino Del Mar, Apache, Hawaii Five-0, Daytona Montarbo, Wipe Out, Baja, Sunset Beach, Attleboro Surf, Sidewalk Surfing

Track by Track Review


Mr. Moto dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Lots of twang and spirit flow through Paul Johnson's classic "Mr. Moto." The Surf Piranhas romp and stomp on this fine rockin' cover. Heavy duty thunder and lightning.

Miserlou dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With striking rhythm and glissandoes, and a sound like a harder version of the backtrack that Drew Weaver employed on the Alvarados vocal of this song, "Miserlou" rocks with a writhing rhythmic power. Not firebrand like Dick Dale, but no less powerful in its own way. Great performance!

El Camino Del Mar dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Highly rhythmic and powerful, with a fine melody line and captivating rhythm. "El Camino Del Mar" is a song that Drew Weaver brought forward from Juanito and the Vibrabeams (Drew Weaver and the Vibrabeams), but that they did not record, or at least did not release. Too bad, because this is a splendid surf instro.

Apache dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Surf Piranhas do something quite original with apache here. The rhythm guitar plays a chop chord pattern that has the kind of affect that a ska rhythm might. It adds immensely to Jerry Lordan's classic instro. Very cool!

Hawaii Five-0 dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a mighty short version of Mort Shuman's TV theme. Distortion guitar and pumping drums and bass. Hot and aggressive, yet paced as it should be.

Daytona Montarbo dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Daytona Montarbo" is one rompin' instrumental. The album version is very VERY cool, and live, it rocks with ample spirit. The rockabilly beat and fast pace, along with the splashy melody line are entirely cool!

Wipe Out dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a loud and raucous version of the Surfaris' "Wipe Out" by demand from the audience. Rock and roll loud and the drums do really well with it, unlike most covers. It may be a little sloppy, but it really rocks!

Baja dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With a very big heavy chord intro, the Surf Piranhas turn Lee Hazelwood's rhythmic surf classic into a hard rockin' ripper. This is entirely hot!

Sunset Beach dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Sentinals' infectious "Sunset Beach" is all amped up in this faster arrangement with the great ska rhythm guitar and intensely loud lead. Pure rock 'n' roll with an infectious melody line. Totally great!

Attleboro Surf dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is another instro from the Surf Piranhas' only LP. Hard flashing glissandos up and down the neck, with a fluid melody line and pulsing rhythm. The guitar goes way out of tune, but there's so much energy, it seems to survive anyway. Yikes.

Sidewalk Surfing dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Challengers' infectious "Sidewalk Surfing" under the name that appeared on some reissues (probably because the box was marked R.J. Mike for the writers and/or players on the session), it is a splendid song with lots of energy and charm, especially via the rhythm guitar's semi-ska chop chords. Very cool