Phil Dirt - Reverb Central - PO Box 1609, Felton, CA 95018-1609 USA
|This is a 2-disc set including 17 instrumentals, most of which are excellent. All of this is available elsewhere.|
Picks: The Astronauts - Baja, The Bahareebas - Dunewalk, The Bomboras - Mystery Planet, The Chantays - Move It, Dick Dale and his Del-tones - Night Rider, King Of The Surf Guitar, Eddie and the Showmen - Toes On The Nose, Euro Boys - Monkeyface, Jon and the Nightriders - Moving Target, The Langhorns - Slipstream, Surf 99, Sandy Nelson - Drums A Go-Go, The Piltdown Men - Night Surfin', Slacktone - Tidal Wave, The Surfaris - Point Panic, Los Venturas - Aloha Summer, The Ventures - Hawaii Five-0
Track by Track Review
"Baja" displays power of their trademark three guitar line up, and shows what a few weeks at RCA Hollywood could do. Actually, having said that, I'd really like to remix this. The lead guitar is too loud in the mix. Anyway, if there's a list of the ten most significant surf singles, this must be on it. Hazelwood had a knack for melody, and the Astronauts had a knack for the sound, and together, look out!
The Bahareebas - Dunewalk
"Dunewalk" sports an infectious ska rhythm and very satisfying lead guitar. It's not complex, but it sure is cool! It romps, stomps, and flows. Every time I hear it, I like it more!
The Bomboras - Mystery Planet
Borrowing the feel of Henry Mancini's "A Shot In The Dark," this is a fairly infectious track, with solid surf rhythm guitar work, and solid drums too. The lead work could be a little more out front, but is OK. It chunks along, rhythmically grabbing you as you slide through the track.
The Chantays' "Move It" is a classic flip side... one of the best B-side melodies and concepts ever, but the rendition is hard to listen to. The version of this that truly rules is the live recording of the Spiedels. It's A-side is "Pipeline," the definitive surf instro. "Move It" is an infectious and playful ditty that emphasizes choked slides for a unique experience. The warbly almost tape-flutter mix is a difficult listen.
Dick Dale and his Del-tones - Night Rider
"Night Rider" was a single and album track from the days with Capitol. It's mostly power oriented, with minimal melody, and really foretells the style Dick Dale uses so efficiently today.
Dick Dale and his Del-tones - King Of The Surf Guitar
The King has the Blossoms sing about him while he plays gorgeous notes on his guitar. An ego feed and anthem, and a lot better than the 1975 GNP version, but still... sure do love that guitar!
Eddie and the Showmen - Toes On The Nose
One side of the first single, this is a really grand number, with unusual use of glissandos. It's choppy, powerful, and very infectious.
Spy Surf Exotica (Instrumental)
A familiar guitar riff opens, and a Ventures go-go style lead runs atop a party go-go backtrack. "Monkeyface" is fun and uplifting, and definitely an indoor track.
Jon and the Nightriders - Moving Target
Spunk personified! The title track is more than splendid, it rages and shimmers and infects. Too fun, too spiffy, and way too crunchy. Machine guns and short boards, trad with shredding chunk. Totally tubular (sorry John, I could resist the phrase here)!
The Langhorns - Slipstream
A great rhythm drags you into this fine surfable song right from the outset. "Slipstream" is just plain cool, with a great melody line, catchy rhythm, and magnetic personality. Excellent!
Spaghetti Surf (Instrumental)
This two-chord spaghetti western-ish number is infectious and fun, with horns blaring and a nifty riff ready for a galloping horse drawn stagecoach on a coastal highway scene... maybe faster than that, but it does invoke that sort of image.
Sandy Nelson - Drums A Go-Go
This is a close variation of the Hollywood Persuaders' hit, with excellent drum work and without the cheesy organ. Highly rhythmic and hypnotic, and all about the drums.
The Piltdown Men - Night Surfin'
This band has grown a lot. Their early few-and-far-between tracks were unmelodic and mere progressions, but this has a nice surf feel, a simple but effective melody, and twangy thin surf guitar sound. This is a moody track, a little brittle sounding, but entertaining and solid.
Can you spell M-O-N-S-T-E-R? Dave Wronski is a major guitar hero, and there is no better surf drummer than Dusty Watson. This track completely abuses you before it's through, like a 1 second drop down a fifty foot face only to be placed gently on the beach. You should hear 'em do this live!
The Surfaris - Point Panic
A-side of the follow up single to "Wipe Out." Great intro scream and tom toms. The fire in the bones of the band is clear here. High spirited, chunky, and rhythmic. Grand power glissandos, and those wonderful Ron Wilson drums. Jim Pash's sax is most appropriate. Not often covered, but a really good tune.
Los Venturas - Aloha Summer
A warm and sunny melody that's part country and part surf greets you right out of the box. Frothy uplifting instrumental sounds. The dry guitars tell of the shore from the beach side of the equation. "Aloha Summer" is a mighty cool track.
The Ventures - Hawaii Five-0
TV Surf (Instrumental)
Often covered TV theme song from the chameleons of instro rock from the 1968 TV series.