Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
The Surf Raiders - Surf Sounddotdotdot
artworkThis is a fairly comprehensive collection of tracks from across The Surf Raiders' career. They were one of the earliest of the surf revival bands, right in their with Jon and the Nightriders and The Halibuts at the rebirth of surf in Southern California. There are some mighty essential tracks here, both original and covers of obscure vintage songs.
Picks: Crash, Gum Dipped Slicks, Let There Be Surf, Point Conception, Rampage, Surf Raider, Swami's Reef, The Curl Rider, Tsunami, Unknown, Surf Bound, Totally Tubular, Egyptian Surf, Beyond, Hit The Surf, Wave Walk'n', The Ranch, Hott Foam Rider, Long Ride, K-39, El Surfboard, Suicide Point, Bangalore, Sunset At Makaha, Long Boards At San Onofre, Point Conception '63, High Wall, Steel Pier, Golash, Surfin' Elephant, Scratch

Track by Track Review


Crash dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Creations' "Crash" is covered here with great reverence. Pure trad surf stylings. "Crash" is a very infectious tune, and the band does well with it, fitting it nicely into their sound. Melodic, energetic, and well played.

Gum Dipped Slicks dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Original Surfaris cut this as a single back in '63 or so. Here, the feel is retained, while the drums are ambient and thin. The melody is so cool on this song. Nice performance.

Let There Be Surf dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a hot performance of the Chevells' great obscuro. It's very hot and fun, full of power. The energy is masked somewhat by the compression breathing and muddy sound.

Point Conception dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Point Conception" is an original. This is one of two versions the Surf Raiders recorded in the studio. This is more demo like, and not as interesting as "Point Conception '63." The compressor breathes mercilessly, detracting from the power. Otherwise, it might be as good as the other version.

Rampage dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Rick and the Ravens' obscuro is delivered with the innocence of the original, but with more reverb. It's a melodic and infectious tune... a good pick to cover. The thickness of the reverb is excellent, and the sax is cool too. The band even included the hand claps.

Squad Car dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Paul Johnson's tune made famous by Eddie & the Showmen is made more reverby by the Surf Raiders. Infectious sax reed sirens, and mucho pound. Horrid drums and muddy sound sap the life out of it.

Surf Raider dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This track is notable as much for the incorrectly set compressor breathing as the tune. The effect adds to the charm. The tune itself is infectious enough, and is among the better Surf Raiders tracks. It is melodic, very trad, and dynamic.

Swami's Reef dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Middle eastern flutes and sounds hinting of the pyramids, before the fine surf melody comes forth. The bass is overpowering in the mix.

The Curl Rider dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This classic revival track is a fine, melodic, rhythmic pure surf tune with plenty of power and oodles of surfisms. The excellent writing alone makes this a really important track to the reemergence of surf instros.

Tsunami dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Opening with a dragged out cry of "Tsunami," this is an exercise in excellent surfisms and bad production. Big whammy chords, excellent reverberation, and uneven sound.

Unknown dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The VyDells' "Unknown" is updated, a little less crunchy, and a little smoother. Solid cover, though the opening glissando is a little tentative, and the drums sound like cardboard.

Surf Bound dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Nevegans aka the Teen Beats originally cut this. It's a great rolling beat surf tune, melodic and infectious. The chants of "surf - bound" celebrate anticipation of the waves waiting just ahead. It's an excellent recording and performance.

Totally Tubular dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This retitling of the New Dimensions' "Failsafe" is excellent. It sports plenty of damped reverb guitar, but is marred by Linda Dalley's organ too hot in the mix in spots, and less edge than the original.

Egyptian Surf dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The most famous cartoon Arabic melody is turned into a blazing surf rage. It's tough and melodic, and very infectious.

Beyond dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a cover of the surfiest thing on the second Chantays album. It's quite well delivered, and sounds really surfy. The haunting melody is enhanced by the eerie organ that stays rightly in the background. Excellent track.

Hit The Surf dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Chunky and spunky, this is a Bob Dalley composition that is very derivative of Dick Dale's "Shake 'N' Stomp." It's well played, infectious and vibrant.

Raider Jam dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

In the spirit of the Beach Boys' "Surf Jam," this is a riff based jammin' tune. The playing is solid, but the lack of a real melody leaves me flat.

Wave Walk'n' dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Smooth trad surf, with organ added. This is a melodic and warm track, with the kind of draw that brings you back for more.

The Ranch dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

From the title, you might expect a variation of "El Rancho Grande," but it's not. Neal Kuzee arranged this. It's excellent, smooth, melodic, and reverent.

Hott Foam Rider dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Thick and rhythmic, "Hott Foam Rider" is a solid track with a very trad melody riff written by Bob Dalley. The structure is pure vintage surf.

Long Ride dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Johnny Barakat & the Vestells' "Long Ride" is delivered very true to the original, except for the sound quality. An excellent cover, well played and really surfy.

K-39 dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A competent cover of the Challengers' best tune, well paced and very fun. It is not as powerful, but retains the energy. The lead guitar is subdued in the mix.

El Surfboard dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Co-written by Bob Dalley and Johnny Barakat, this drips moody trad surf. It flows well, and is well played. The break is straight out of "Hernando's Hideaway."

Suicide Point dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Suicide Point" is a fairly early track, sullen and moody, but not among their best. Bob Dalley and Loyd Davis have always had a knack for writing trad surf melodies, and this serves them well. It's infectious and thumping good fun.

Bangalore dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Blazers' "Bangalore" is played well, but the recording hides the power and intensity required for this track to deliver all of it's punch. The cardboard drums are a big part of the problem, as well as the dull lead guitar tone. This is such a fine tune, it's too bad it's not better documented, given the obvious punch in the performance.

Sunset At Makaha dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Like you might guess from the title, this is a slow romantic piece, fluid and pretty, more atmospheric and sad than melodic, but quite pleasing. It's a Bob Dalley - Loyd Davis composition.

Long Boards At San Onofre dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

One of surfdom's most memorable quiet lagoon songs. I've played this a million times on Surf's Up! This original is precisely what the doctor ordered. Very cool.

Point Conception '63 dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is an exceptionally good track. Better than nearly all other Surf Raider songs (IMHO), this employs a moderate pace and great dribbling glissandos. It is melodic and very surfy. The enduring power of the track testifies to it's strength. I've been drawn to it since first hearing it in the early eighties.

High Wall dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Wailers' did this originally. It's a song about a prison break, not a wall of water. Some compressor breathing, but better than some other tracks here. This tune is really slow and evil, and the surf rendering retains this. The lead is way too low in the mix.

Steel Pier dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Impacts' "Steel Pier" is reverbed out, and played with fire and thunder. The drums are dull, but the tracks works ok.

Golash dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Intrepides' "Golash" is covered with power and flair, which are somewhat sapped by the breathing compressor, which is both interesting and detracting. Solid delivery, bass too loud at times, and the dynamics are totally smashed.

Surfin' Elephant dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Craig Cahill and the Offbeats was recorded live. It's quite a good performance of an excellent obscuro. The awful sound hides a fine band doing a fine song.

Scratch dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Another Eddie and the Showmen tune, this cover is spirited and fun pure trad. Crude boom box recording.

Goofy Foot dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Lively Ones' "Goofy Foot" aka "Surf Battle" is less powerful than the original, less precise and intense, but still worth a spin. The drums are totally weak sounding.