Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
Collection: It Came From The Beach: Surf, Drag and Rockin' Instros From Downeydotdotdotdot
artworkThis is a very nice compilation, much like an extended version of the Surf Legends (and Rumors) releases, but with real liner notes, some of the tracks, and newly unearthed tracks as well. There's lots to learn in the pages of the booklet, and very clean mastering.
Picks: The Blazers - Bangalore, Beaver Patrol, Shore Break, The Chevells - Riptide, Let There Be Surf, The Hustlers - Kopout, Wailin' Out, Inertia, The Nevegans - One-Armed Bandit, Downey Surf, The Pastel Six - Wimo Stomp, Take It Off, The Ramblers - Hanging One, The Revels - Church Key, The Riviaires - Mocolotion, The Rumblers - Surf Rat, A Go Go, Destruction, Oblique, Sir Frog and the Toads - Mustang, The Surftones - Cecilia Ann

Track by Track Review

The Blazers - Bangalore dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a MONSTER track! The Blazers were one hell of a surf band. The guitar tones are piercingly powerful, and the rippin' double pickin' is a sound to behold. It is melodic, hot, infectious, and among the best twenty vintage surf instros. Why it wasn't a hit, I'll never know. Totally great!

The Blazers - Beaver Patrol dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Many of the Surf bands (maybe most) from Southern California were teen bands, some not old enough do drive yet. The Blazers were a Fullerton teen band that just ripped. The recordings this band made were among the hottest most energetic of any band of the era, including the New Dimensions and the Fender Four. "Beaver Patrol" was banned here and there due to it's obvious slang meaning. It's raucous and mean and high energy. It ranks right up there with their incredible "Bangalore" and their beautiful "Sound Of Mecca."

The Blazers - Shore Break dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Shore Break" is a previously unreleased track from The Blazers. It has their sound and some cool licks, but not as much fire as many of their tracks. great drum breaks a la "Wipe Out," and a jammy structure. Surely a lesser track, but still very cool to see come out of the vault.

The Chevells - Riptide dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Totally infectious rhythm track, nearly all chords, reverbed lightly, and tom tom driven. "Riptide" is in the same style as its flip side "Let There Be Surf." There's something engaging about the dry glissandos, especially because they seem stiff. Very infectious.

The Chevells - Let There Be Surf dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

The Chevells were around for a while, but recorded little. "Let There Be Surf" is infectious. It has a melody line and rhythm interplay that stick with you. And the title... brilliant! This is one of the great lost infectious surf tunes. Above average pace with a great rhythmic and driving feel to it.

The Hustlers - Kopout dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is another cool single from the Hustlers. It is quite close to a club track, rather than a surf track, but it has a cool hook to it. Not melodic, but low-down interesting.

The Hustlers - Wailin' Out dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Wailin' Out" is a vault purge gem from an inventive band. The song is based on a very simple riff that's catchy and fun. Squirting sax and distortion, along with reverb make this a cool obscuro.

The Hustlers - Inertia dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a cool track, both ominous and inviting. It has a unique rhythm, a simplicity that draws you in, and a magical sound. It has a delicacy about it, lurking under a quiet power. Like a swell, it rolls in poetically while hiding immense power just under the surface. The mid-fast tempo, and the tinkly piano break are too cool. Very nice.

The Nevegans - One-Armed Bandit dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

With R&B underpinnings, and a soft spoken kind of happy soul, "One-Armed Bandit" rolls a long with cool sax injections and a simple and pleasing guitar line. Nice track.

The Nevegans - Downey Surf dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a alternate to the Teen-Beats single version, renamed to differentiate it from their Las Vegas roots and original title. It has a totally infectious and happy melody, which is probably what drew Rick Escobar of the Woodies to cover it so well. Wonderful must-have tune. Previously unreleased.

The Pastel Six - Twitchin' dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Your basic progression, repeated repeatedly, creating a redundant redundancy. Fun frat dance thing with honky sax.

The Pastel Six - Wimo Stomp dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Wimo Stomp" is a trashy version of The Tokens' "The Lion Sleeps Tonight." It's all wailin' sax and an R&B rhythm, and still it's catchy. The bass lead and drums in the breaks is very cool!

The Pastel Six - Take It Off dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Labeled a vocal, this track sports only the chanted chorus "take it off" between lines. Otherwise, it is an prancin' instro based on a basic riff, which breaks into a few slinky guitar lines which add extra grin power. Thoroughly enjoyable.

The Pastel Six - Rendezvous Rods dotdotdot
Club Surf (Instrumental)

Hinting of the Hollywood discos they would feature in with dance numbers and their lone hit Cinnamon Cider (also the name of the club they were a fixture at). Basic, OK, not great, and not at all surfy. The horns owed a lot to Chuck Rio's version of Mariachi. Introduced by Daws Butler, this is a sassy number employing short burst sax notes to create a quirky but fun tune. Again, the keyword is fun with the Pastel Six. In many ways, this is more like a Rumblers tune than the Pastel Six.

The Ramblers - Hanging One dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A "Moon Dawg" influenced track from a band whose name is just too close to that of the Rumblers. Where the lead guitar would carry the day in "Moon Dawg," the sax does the honors here. They aren't, of course, but the confusion is quite natural. High energy, raging fun. A mostly chord driven number. Previously unreleased.

The Ramblers - Mozart Stomp dotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Chords and monotone sax grind out a Mozart theme. Uninspired.

The Revels - Church Key dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This version of "Church Key" is the same take as the hit, but with a different vocal intro, and with Barbara Adkins giggle at the end. Hot track!

The Riviaires - Mocolotion dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is a jammy number with quite a bit of spunk. It's way more real and catchy than most numbers built around such a basic R&B riff. More than frat and less than surf, yet darn fun. Big surf reverb guitar, whistling organ, and pounding drums and pumping bass. "Mocolotion" was the b-side of "The Bug" in 1964.

The Rumblers - Surf Rat dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

One of the most surfy instros the Rumblers ever cut. It has a simple progression, a whining sax in the background, and a "Let's Go" drum cadence. "Surf Rat" is actually called "Pack Rat."

The Rumblers - A Go Go dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Great drums pound out a tribal beat as if it's the forties and a big band is stompin' at the Savoy. Some of the percussion emulates Sandy Nelson too. jammin' guitar and sax, and a cool bass line carry the forefront. "A Go Go" is totally cool.

The Rumblers - Destruction dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

Those "Boss" men deliver one of their more ominous tracks. Tribal toms and long slow sax lines. It is all too evil. Liquid reverbed guitar and dangerously moody bass. Previously unreleased.

The Rumblers - The Hustler dotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Using the Night Train riff, "The Hustler" doesn't really rise above it. A sax noodles overhead, but never lands. Just obscure.

The Rumblers - High Octane dotdotdot
R&B (Instrumental)

Energetic Jimmy Crack Corn progression and soulful horns. Just so-so.

The Rumblers - Oblique dotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

A very dark, tortured, and exotic introduction brings on a relentless horror in a back ally track that's totally original. Pure dangerous dungeonous dank squonking! The Rumblers must have been on something when this was cut. The sax is manic, and the rest of the band is simply demented! You have to hear this.

Sir Frog and the Toads - Mustang dotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

"Mustang" is not very melodic, or even tight, and it's fairly chaotic musically, not seeming to flow at all. Yet, it's frantic energy makes it pretty cool, and it's certainly rare. As the b-side of Downey 131, it surely didn't attract attention in September, 1965 when it was released. It's main feature is the amateur writing in contrast to the teenage abandon in the performance.

The Surftones - Cecilia Ann dotdotdotdotdot
Surf (Instrumental)

This is one beautiful slow surf instro, and the melody line is really well constructed. It is so powerful that it has been covered by The Pixies and made even grodier by Chachi, Boba Fett and the Wookiee. It flows, and it seeps into your soul. It has a really fine melody line and infectious rhythm.

There is significant controversy over the origin of the track. Surf Legends (and Rumors) compilation producer Steve Hoffman says he needed a track to open the comp, and so he wrote and recorded "Cecilia Ann" with Charles 'Frosty' Horton, mimicking the sound of The Hustlers as closely as he could. Brian Nevill, who put together the It Came From The Beach: Surf, Drag & Rockin' Instros From Downey comp for Ace says that Ace got the track from an analog two track reel with the Downey masters they bought the rights to. So, is it from 1964 or 1989?